Species of moth not seen since 1912 found in Detroit

DETROIT — Customs and Border Protection agents found a species of moth not seen in the U.S. since 1912 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

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

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

The moths found in DTW have not been seen in the US since 1912.

Specialists were unable to discern any further details about the type of moth, so they sent it to the US Department of Agriculture.

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

“This discovery is a testament to its important mission to identify foreign pests and protect America’s natural resources,” said Port Director Robert Larkin.

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