Insect Identification logo
Icon of a spider
Icon of a beetle insect
Icon of a butterfly
Icon of a bee
Icon of the Bugfinder utility

Yucca Moth (Tegeticula, Greya, and Prodoxus spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Yucca Moth.

 Updated: 6/2/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Stretching beyond the Southwest and Mexico, Yucca Moths are little angels to the plants they happen to feed on.



Though yucca and agave plants are native to the arid and semi-arid regions of the continent, they have become popular as ornamental plants in areas they do not normally grow. Yucca Moths, like most living creatures, travel with their food, so the range of this moth covers a large part of the continent and they can be found wherever yucca and agave are growing.

Yucca Moths are dependent on yucca plants for larval food. Yucca plants are dependent on Yucca Moths for pollination. The symbiotic relationship between the insect and the plant is remarkable because the moth does not take advantage of the plant in ways other insects might. Male and female adults emerge when the yucca plant begins to bloom. They spend their time and energy in reproducing, not eating. A female collects pollen from one flower and lay a few eggs in the ovary of one yucca plant if no other female has done so before her. She then leaves the plant and finds another yucca to lay more eggs in. After doing that, she delivers some pollen to the stigma in a flower to ensure seeds will develop for her offspring after they hatch. She is conservative in how many eggs she lays, which allows the yucca to have seeds leftover for its own reproduction once the larval moths are done feeding. This practice makes it possible for both species to have offspring the next year.

Yucca Moths are generally white, though some have black speckles on them, or are completely grayish black. They congregate inside the flowers of the plant and are quick about their work. Some species have 'tentacles' instead of the thin tongue usually attributed to moths. Caterpillars are fleshy and plump with a rosy-orange color. When they are ready to pupate, they go underground for a year or two. Look for Yucca Moths inside their host plants when they are blooming.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Prodoxidae
          Genus: Tegeticula, Greya, and Prodoxus
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Tegeticula, Greya, and Prodoxus spp.
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 13mm (0.47in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, black, gray
Descriptors: white, speckled, spotted, dots, flying
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.