‘Very conspicuous’ moth, not seen since 1912, found in Detroit passenger’s luggage


A rare moth, not seen since 1912, has been discovered in a passenger’s luggage at Detroit Airport, according to US Customer and Border Protection.

In September 2021, agricultural inspectors noticed intriguing holes in seed pods that a passenger had brought to the US from the Philippines for use as medicinal tea.

Upon closer inspection, they were “obvious insect exit holes,” the agency said in a statement.

Officials found moths in the early larval and pupal stages of physical development and collected them for analysis.

Eventually, the hatchlings grew into “very showy” moths with raised black bristles and amber stripes on dark wings, but officials still couldn’t identify them, so they were sent to the US Department of Agriculture.

There, the beetles were identified along with an insect expert from the Smithsonian Institution Salma Brachyscopalis Hampson Months not seen in over a century.

The trapping is the first time that the larvae and pupae of the hampson Moths have been observed.

“Agriculture specialists play a critical role at our nation’s ports of entry by preventing the introduction of harmful exotic crop pests and foreign animal diseases into the United States,” Ports Director Robert Larkin said in the statement. “This discovery is testament to their important mission to identify alien pests and protect America’s natural resources.”

The insects were later killed by steam sterilization, NBC reports. ‘Very conspicuous’ moth, not seen since 1912, found in Detroit passenger’s luggage

Bobby Allyn

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