Hypopta agavis, whose larvae are known in Spanish as chilocuil, chinicuil, or tecol, is a moth native to North America. Its larvae feed on the succulent leaves of the maguey, although they are not considered a plague, as they have been traditionally used as food in Mexican cuisine. The red-colored caterpillars are also known as gusanos rojos, giving its name to a popular brand of mezcal; they are one of the two kinds of "worms" placed in bottles of mezcal, giving a unique color and flavor to the drink. The other, less appreciated ones, are the larvae of the agave snout weevil, Scyphophorus acupunctatus.
Dish of chinicuiles
(roasted larvae of Hypopta agavis
) in a market in Tula