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.
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.
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.
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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).