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Modified 13-May-12
Created 22-May-11
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Yucca moth, Tegeticula yuccasella, inside the flower of a Twist-leaf yucca, (Yucca rupicola (lives in rock)), at West Fort Hood, Texas

Yuccas have a very specialized, mutualistic pollination system, being pollinated by yucca moths; the insect purposefully transfers the pollen from the stamens of one plant to the stigma of another, and at the same time lays an egg in the flower; the moth larva then feeds on some of the developing seeds, always leaving enough seed to perpetuate the species. Yucca species are the host plants for the caterpillars of the Yucca Giant-Skipper (Megathymus yuccae),
Ursine Giant-Skipper (Megathymus ursus), and Strecker's Giant-Skipper (Megathymus streckeri).
Tegeticula yuccasellaPerfect CamouflageOvipositor penetration?Maxillary TentaclesOvipositorDeceased - 25 May 2011Fruits of her laborHow many larvae?Carpels (exterior)Carpels (interior)Cross-section of the 3 carpels (6 locules)A single locule with seeds

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