Project Noah Fun Fact: the Yucca moth

For every day of National Moth Week, our partner, citizen science website Project Noah will be featuring a fun fact about moths.

From Project Noah:

Yucca moths (Tegitcula sp.) spotted in USA by PN user BugEric.

Yucca moths in the genera Tegitcula and Parategicula are named for the amazing symbiotic relationship they have with their hostplant, the Yucca plant. As caterpillars, the yucca moth must feed on the Yucca plant. The adult moths have no mouthparts and as a result do not live long. However, in place of mouthparts, the yucca moth has structures that resemble tentacles. The time of eclosure (eclosion is when a butterfly or moth exits its pupa) is timed with the emergence of the Yucca plant.  After mating with the male on the flowers, the female yucca moth flies to another Yucca plant without yucca moth eggs (meaning the flower is unfertilized), and lays her eggs in the ovary of the plant, thereby pollinating the Yucca plant. (Moisset, “Yucca moths Tegitcula sp.”)

You can participate in the global citizen science project National Moth Week! National Moth Week 2015 is July 18-26. Visit the website for more information and be sure to register a public or private event! An event can be as simple as observing the moths that come to a porch. During NMW, be sure to post your photos to our website and add them to the National Moth Week mission, Moths of the World!

 

References: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/pollinator-of-the-month/yucca_moths.shtml

 

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