Moths With Mandibles

Heterobathmia pseuderiocrania

Heterobathmia pseuderiocrania
Photo: Paul Jenkins

My previous post discussed the Micropterygidae, one of three families of Lepidoptera that have adults with mandibles instead of a proboscis. Another family with adult mandibles is the Heterobathmiidae, a South American family of Lepidoptera consisting of a single genus with 3 described species. The caterpillars of these moths are leaf miners, feeding in the moist environment between the upper and lower surface of leaves. The adults are adapted for feeding on pollen of Southern Beech (Nothofagus). The maxillary palps have specialized structures for collecting pollen. The mandibles contain a toothed surface that in conjunction with other mouthparts can grind pollen to a powder. Most species that followed this evolutionary path have gone extinct while their more successful Lepidopteran relatives developed a long proboscis for feeding on nectar rewards that plants offer to pollinators.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Moths With Mandibles

  1. Pingback: Moths With Mandibles | Entomo Planet

  2. Pingback: Moths With Mandibles | Entomo Planet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s