Parategeticula polleniferaOlle Pellmyr
Wing expanse 24-31 mm. The bulkiest of all prodoxid moths. Sexes similar, with relatively broad forewings with off-white and occasional dark scales; scales rub off very easily, even upon emergence from the pupa, and most observed adults have almost transparent wings. Wing-locking mechanisms and fore-tibial epiphysis have been lost in both sexes. Females possess similar maxillary tentacles as Tegeticula, used for pollen pickup and active pollination of host flowers. The female also has a blunt ovipositor, in contrast to the knifelike cutting type of all other prodoxids.
Comparison with Similar Species
Parategeticula pollenifera coexists with a member of the Tegeticula yuccasella complex. It is larger and bulkier, and usually appears more yellowish in coloration. The modified ovipositor is an easily diagnosed trait in the female of the species.
Host, Oviposition, and Larval Feeding Habits
The only reported hosts are Yucca schottii and Y. elephantipes (Agavaceae). Adults become active well after dark. In contrast to Tegeticula, P. pollenifera does not oviposit into the yucca ovary. Instead, the female uses the blunt ovipositor to prepare a groove, usually in a pedicel but occasionally in a petal, and a row of eggs are laid in this groove. The emerging larva bores into the young fruit, and creates a gall that replaces several seeds. The undifferentiated tissue inside this gall serves as the primary food during larval development, although adjacent seeds can be attacked at the end of larval feeding. The fully grown larva burrows into the soil, where it prepares a cocoon and diapauses until pupation shortly before adult emergence. Larval diapause can last for at least two years.
Parategeticula pollenifera is reported from southwestern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico (USA), and Veracruz, Mexico.
Davis, D.R. 1967. A revision of the moths of the subfamily Prodoxinae (Lepidoptera: Incurvariidae). U.S. Nat. Hist. Mus., Bull. 255:1-170.
Powell, J.A. 1984. Biological interrelationships of moths and Yucca schottii. Univ. Calif. Publ. Entomol. 100:1-93.
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University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA
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Pellmyr, Olle. 1996. Parategeticula pollenifera http://tolweb.org/Parategeticula_pollenifera/12420/1996.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 01 January 1996 (under construction).