Thursday, December 22, 2011

Little known moth pollinators: seed casebearers and flower moths

Seed case bearer moth Coleophora trifolii
It continues to amaze me how little we know about pollinator moths, aside from a handful of the more familiar ones. I will be covering a couple of families, somewhat related (they are members of the superfamily Gelechioidea) which is part of a larger and loosely defined group called microlepidoptera. The main thing microlepidoptera have in common is their small size, but many may not be related.

The two families I mention here may or may not be pollinators; all we can say for certain is that they visit flowers. It would be nice to know more.

Among the casebearer moths there is a handful of species known as seed casebearers. As the name suggests, the caterpillars carry a case which serves as refuge. The seed casebearers feed on seeds, rather than other parts of the plants. The adults are silvery, with long antennae. When the wings are folded they are long and narrow, like little cigars. They can be seen at flowers of the daisy family. Not much else is known about their activities.

© 2005 Lynette Schimming. Flower moth
The other flower visitors in this group of moths belong to a family with a difficult scientific name, Xyloryctidae. Fortunately the common name is nicer and self explanatory: flower moths. They look very similar to the members of the previous group. They are small and hold their wings in a similar position. These moths fly during the day and are often seen nectaring at flowers. In this case, we can be a little more certain of their function as pollinators.

Moths as Pollinators
List of articles
Beginners Guide to Pollinators and Other Flower Visitors

© Beatriz Moisset. 2012

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