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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Cole, William [1], James, Alex [1], Smith, Christopher [2].

First recorded observations of pollination and oviposition behaviors in Tegeticula antithetica, a yucca moth associated with Joshua tree (Yucca, spp).

Tegeticula antithetica is the sole pollinator of Yucca jaegeriana, and was described as a separate species from Tegeticula synthetica in a 2003 study conducted by Pellmyr and Segraves.  While many studies since then have included T. antithetica, none have directly studied nor recorded oviposition and pollination behaviors in these moths, instead relying on an 1893 paper by Trelease describing T. synthetica behavior on Yucca brevifolia. We documented T. antithetica’s behavior in Tikaboo Valley, Nevada, taking photo and video evidence, as well as noting what we could see with the naked eye in the field.  We familiarized ourselves with the moths’ general behaviors, and then selected some engaging in the act of ovipositing for closer observation.  Moths were observed to enter young flowers by backing into the small opening left by the tightly sealed tepals at their terminus, use the inner tepals to brace themselves rather than standing on the style, and use a combination of tentacles and forelegs to pollinate.  These findings establish the behavior of T. antithetica as distinct from Trelease’s description of T. synthetica, and suggest an important role for style length and moth size in oviposition success rates.

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1 - Willamette University, Biology, 900 State Street, Salem, OR, 97301, USA
2 - Willamette University, Biology, 900 State Street, Department of Biology, Salem, OREGON, 97301, United States

yucca moth

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT019
Abstract ID:1803
Candidate for Awards:None

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