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Species of moth that hasn't been seen since 1912 found at Detroit Metro

Detroit Free Press logo Detroit Free Press 5/19/2022 Emma Stein, Detroit Free Press
Moths found at DTW have not been seen in the U.S. since 1912. © Provided by the U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection Moths found at DTW have not been seen in the U.S. since 1912.

Customs and Border Protection agents found a species of moth that hasn't been seen in the U.S. since 1912 at Detroit Metro Airport. 

In September 2021, CBP agriculture specialists inspected an arriving passenger on a flight from the Philippines, according to a news release. The passenger brought seeds for medicinal tea in their personal baggage, and the specialists found insect exit holes in the seed pods. 

After further analysis, the agency found moth larvae and pupae that eventually hatched into “very flashy” moths with raised patches of black bristles, the release said. Experts said this indicates the moths are members of the Pyralidae family.

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Specialists were not able to discern more specifics about the type of moth, so they sent it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 


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The USDA was able to confirm this was the first encounter of this species of moth since it was first described in 1912. This was also the first time that a larvae or pupae associated with this species has been collected, CBP said.

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“This discovery is a testament to their important mission of identifying foreign pests and protecting America’s natural resources," said Port Director Robert Larkin. 

Contact Emma Stein: estein@freepress.com and follow her on Twitter @_emmastein.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Species of moth that hasn't been seen since 1912 found at Detroit Metro

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