IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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Introduction

Prodoxus - the "bogus yucca moths" of Riley - are small to medium-sized moths that coexist on yuccas with the pollinating yucca moths, Tegeticula and Parategeticula, but have received far less attention. The most obvious difference from the pollinators is the complete lack of tentacular appendages on the maxillary palps. There are currently 10 described species, but many more are in the process of description.

The larvae of Prodoxus feed on vegetative parts of their hosts, and they are highly specific in what tissues are utilized. Different species specialize on the inflorescence stalk, non-seed parts of fruits, or leaf tissue (Davis 1967, Wagner & Powell 1988). There is evidence of resource partitioning among the different species (Powell & Mackie 1966, Powell 1992), and some yucca species can have up to three Prodoxus simultaneously utilizing different parts. All species complete their entire development inside the host tissue, and only emerge as adults.

This genus contains species that often display prolonged diapause (Riley 1894, Powell 1986). In fact, the most extended reported diapause of any insect is that of Prodoxus y-inversus; moths were still emerging in 1988 after 19 years of larval diapause (Powell 1989), and more larvae remain in diapause in Jerry Powell's lab.

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