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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Yucca Moth: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Some engaging yucca moth facts to catch your interest.

Do moths and their life cycle attract you? Do the pupa, larva, cocoon, adult moth, and similar insects make you curious to read more about them? A yucca species of moth is one such species. It belongs to the order of Lepidoptera. It is from the family of the Prodoxidae of moths. With dwarf forewings and long hindwings, both white and brown shades, the moth is one of the cute species.

The key component of its habitat is the yucca plant that is found in the arid deserts with the Joshua tree. The Joshua tree is said to be a significant partner to the yucca plant.

A yucca is reported to have a very short life span and is recorded to hardly feed or prey on something. A yucca larva is whereas said to feed on the seeds of the yucca plant found nearby the Joshua tree.

A yucca acts as a pollinator for the yucca plant as the female carries pollen from the ovary of the plant from one species to another, sharing a symbiotic relationship. A yucca moth is said to emerge from its cocoon and is reported to be lured by the blooms of the nearby yucca plant.

If the uniqueness of the yucca moth makes you interested to read more about similar species, you can read about these American dagger moth and promethea moth, too.

Yucca Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a yucca moth?

The yucca moth or Tegeticula yuccasella is a type of insect belonging to the genus Tegeticula.

What class of animal does a yucca moth belong to?

The yucca moth belongs to the Prodoxidae family of moths.

How many yucca moths are there in the world?

As of now, there is no specific record stating the number of Tegeticula yuccasella around the world. Considering the total number of moths present around the globe, 160000, it is speculated that there must be a handsome number of yucca moths. But the same is contradicted by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as there is no category assigned to yucca moths under the same. Due to the decreasing range of yucca flowering plants, the species of yucca are at risk of being Extinct but are not Extinct yet.

Where does a yucca moth live?

Yucca moths are natively recorded and reported in the Southwest of America with plantations of yucca. With the expanding range of yucca plants over the country to north and east, yucca moths are recorded at various places. They are also reported in the country of New York. Joshua trees are one of the key components of the location where they are found.

What is a yucca moth's habitat?

A yucca moth's habitat revolves around the range of Yucca plants. There are various yucca species, such as yucca elata found in varying locations, Mojave Desert and the Sonoran Desert for instance. The iconic partner of the yucca plant is the Joshua trees. Precisely, it is found in arid regions of deserts.

Who does yucca moth live with?

Yucca moth is found to live with yucca plants due to the yucca plant and yucca moth symbiotic relationship shared with each other. It is from the Tegeticula family is mostly found near the yucca flower species near the Joshua tree in arid places like the Mojave Desert. Birds and bats are their common predators, hence, the moths stay at a distance from them. The color of the plant and moth help the species to blend and hide from its predators.

How long does a yucca moth live?

The overall life span of the yucca moth is recorded to be one year, but most of the life is spent under the pupal stage as it is said to live for a very short period of time. It cannot live without the presence of its host plant (yucca flower). A male lives until it mates and a female lives until it lays eggs.

How do they reproduce?

Female yucca and male yucca mate in the season of spring on a flower. The mating takes place in the evening mostly. The most common site is near the Joshua tree in the arid deserts. The male life cycle ends whereafter the female is yet to lay eggs. A female is reported to lay four to five eggs at once during its whole lifespan.  Before laying the eggs on flowers, the female pollinates the pollens in the ovary of the flower stalks. The eggs hatch on the flowers and further grow into larvae which feed on the seeds of the flowers. The larvae further grow into caterpillars, then cocoons, and finally adults. The life span of adults is too short that can be considered negligible. It is one of the insects with the shortest life span, if compared with other moths.

What is their conservation status?

There is no conservation status assigned to yucca moths under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to speculations, yucca moths are Endangered due to habitat loss and the limited number of yucca plants. Studying the fossil record there were initially more than 100 million of the yucca plant species which have been reducing.

Yucca Moth Fun Facts

What do yucca moths look like?

The yucca moth from the genus Tegeticula is a small-sized moth with creamy white and silvery color body. It is said to blend with the color of the hostplant. The female yucca moth species has maxillary tentacles to carry pollen mass from the ovary of the flower stalks. This helps females to carry the process of pollination, while males have rudimentary tentacles. The forewings are mostly white and slender, while the hindwings are brownish-gray.

As caterpillars, they are reddish-pink in color and grow on the flower of the yucca plant.  

Tiny creature of moths with white wings.

How cute are they?

Tiny creatures are symbolic of utter cuteness. These moths from the genus Tegeticula, with a white-colored body, and small size, are sure to win your heart with their cuteness. You may not find them attractive, but they are one of the cutest moths like the rosy maple moths.

How do they communicate?

There is no appropriate information regarding the communication methods used by this species of moth. While some moths have ears like a poodle moth and some have the ability to make sounds like a puss moth, yuccas, being a pollinator, are speculated to communicate via the process of pollination.

How big is a yucca moth?

The moth is not really of considerable size. The T. yuccasella is known to be one of the tiniest moth species. With the size of approximately 0.7-1 in (1.8-2.7 cm) and with a negligible weight, it is four times shorter than a black witch moth.

How fast can a yucca moth fly?

The well-known researcher and publisher Olle Pellmyr studied and published information regarding yuccas and their mutualism with the yucca plants, as well as, the pollination mutualism between fig and fig wasps. Still, there is no information regarding how fast a yucca flies. It is predicted that it must have a considerable flying speed as it is a pollinator but can't fly as fast as a five-spotted hawk moth.

How much does a yucca moth weigh?

There is limited research done on the species of the yucca moths. There are no records highlighting the weight of the yuccas. Considering the weight of the heaviest, the giant moth, which is up to 1.05 oz (30 g), it is speculated that the yuccas must be having a weight that is negligible. Also, as a flower can bear the weight of this insect, it is speculated to be light weighted.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males and the females of the yucca moth family are not assigned different names on the basis of their sex. They can be called as a female yucca moth or a male yucca moth.

What would you call a baby yucca moth?

A baby of this moth is a larva or a caterpillar until it grows as an adult. There is no specific name given to a baby yucca moth but can be called a yucca moth larvae or yucca moth caterpillar.

What do they eat?

Since a Tegeticula yuccasella is said to have a short life span, it hardly feeds on anything. The survival rate of the species is also recorded to be quite low. The yucca moth larvae feed on the seeds of the yucca plant species and also grows in the fruit of the yucca plant.

Are they poisonous?

No, a yucca moth is not at all poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

A yucca moth is not an ideal species to pet. It can be petted as it is not dangerous. The Yucca plant and the yucca moths' relationship is based on mutualism. A yucca moth cannot live without the yucca plant. To pet a yucca moth, it is required to plant a yucca plant, but yucca moths are said to have a short life span.

Did you know...

Yuccas spend most of their time perching on yucca flowers.

A female yucca never lays eggs on a flower already used by other yuccas, and if it does, too many caterpillars grow together that one yucca plant will be insufficient to feed them all.

It is one of the oldest moth species of insect.

The yucca species flower blossoms only because of the existence of the moth. None can exist without the other.

Yucca is also known as the pronuba moth. It has a small spine and still rolls into a ball while flying from one flower to another. A female lays up to four to five eggs.. The larvae are recorded to eat 200 seeds of their hostplant.

What relationship do a yucca moth and yucca plant have?

Yucca moth mutualism with yucca plants, like yucca elata, is based on pollination. A female yucca lays eggs underneath the yucca flowers. The yucca moth's role is to carry pollen mass from one flower to another flower using tentacles. While the yucca moth carries pollen from the flower ovary in the flower stalk, yucca larvae feed on the seeds of yucca flowers. The females show behavioral and morphological adaptations in order to pollinate. The yucca has a creamy color to blend with the yucca plant, which is of the same color. They tend to pollinate and lay eggs during the night.

Is a yucca moth a herbivore?

Yucca moths are herbivores as they feed on yucca seeds as larvae and caterpillars. The main food source of yucca moth species is the yucca plant.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these marbled orb weaver facts and striped bark scorpion facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring one of our free printable Yucca moth coloring pages.

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