including P. pulverulentus RileyOlle Pellmyr
Wing expanse 8-12 mm. The smallest of all Prodoxus species. Forewing in northern populations white with a dark patch near the outer edge in the female, diffuse to absent in male; in southern populations, males generally have a gray streak parallel with the outer edge, whereas females have extensive dark scaling over the forewing, creating a gray shade over the wing. Hindwings uniformly light to medium gray.
Comparison with Similar Species
Mesepiola specca is similar in size, but differs in having interspersed rusty scales in both sexes, and in the female having the prominent abdominal hook.
Host, Oviposition, and Larval Feeding Habits
The species occurs throughout the range of its exclusive host, Yucca whipplei (Agavaceae). Larvae feed inside the basal vegetative portion of the host fruit and occasionally also into the adjacent pedicel portion. Pupation takes place inside the gallery.
The host occurs in central-southern cismontane California, in Sierra Nevada north to Fresno Co, in northwestern Arizona (USA), and in Baja California Norte (Mexico) to the Vizcaino region (Powell and Mackie 1966). The moth is known throughout the U.S. portion of this range, except in Arizona. The transition between the light and dark forms coincides in the transverse ranges with the northern range edge of P. cinereus.
In coastal chaparral and montane dry shrubby grassland with Yucca whipplei (Agavaceae).
The light and dark forms were originally described as Prodoxus marginatus and P. pulverulentus, respectively. Davis (1967) retained this status with reservation. Powell and Mackie (1966) suggested that it represented geographically structured intraspecific variation. They proposed subspecies rank but did not formally describe them as such. Frack (1982) agreed with the judgment that the two taxa shouldbe considered one species.
Davis, D.R. 1967. A revision of the moths of the subfamily Prodoxinae (Lepidoptera: Incurvariidae). U.S. Nat. Hist. Mus., Bull. 255:1-170. Smiths. Contrib. Zool. 524:1-88.
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.
Powell, J.A. and R.A. Mackie. 1966. Biological interrelationships of moths and Yucca whipplei. Univ. Calif. Publ. Entomol. 42:1-59.
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Pellmyr, Olle. 1996. Prodoxus marginatus http://tolweb.org/Prodoxus_marginatus/12434/1996.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. including P. pulverulentus Riley. Version 01 January 1996 (under construction).