Mesepiola speccaOlle Pellmyr
Wing expanse 8-12 mm. Sexes similar, with relatively narrow forewings with a mosaic of white, fuscous and rusty scales; hindwings a uniform brown. Abdominal underside nearly white. Females have a unique hooked appendage on the seventh tergite, used to anchor the abdomen against a floral calyx when cutting into the ovary.
Comparison with Similar Species
This small species is the only known prodoxid found on members of the Nolinaceae. It can superficially resemble darker individuals of Prodoxus marginatus, but the latter never has any rusty scales. Females cannot be mistaken, given the unique uncinate appendage.
Host, Oviposition, and Larval Feeding Habits
Hosts include several species of Nolina and Dasylirion (Nolinaceae). Adults are primarily crepuscular, and can be found swarming around host inflorescences where they drink nectar, mate, and oviposit. The female oviposits into floral ovaries, and the larva completes development inside one or more seeds. The fully grown larvae burrow into the soil, where they pupate.
Mesepiola specca is so far reported from the southern portions of California, Arizona and New Mexico.
In desert and chaparral habitats with Nolina or Dasylirion.
Davis, D.R. 1967. A revision of the moths of the subfamily Prodoxinae (Lepidoptera: Incurvariidae). U.S. Nat. Hist. Mus., Bull. 255:1-170.
Nielsen, E.S. & D.R. Davis. 1985. The first southern hemisphere prodoxid and the phylogeny of the Incurvarioidea (Lepidoptera). Syst. Entom. 10:307-322.
Frack, D.C. 1982. A systematic study of prodoxine moths (Adelidae: Prodoxinae) and their hosts (Agavaceae), with descriptions of the subfamilies of Adelidae (s. lat.). M.S. thesis, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA.
About This Page
University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA
Page copyright © 1996
Page: Tree of Life Mesepiola specca Authored by . Olle Pellmyr. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.
Citing this page:
Pellmyr, Olle. 1996. Mesepiola specca http://tolweb.org/Mesepiola_specca/12416/1996.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 01 January 1996 (under construction).