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Leaf Mining Moth

Caloptilia sp.


A baby bird? From the front, you would be hard pressed to guess what this is! A very small (4mm), skinny, hairy-legged moth. The palpi are white like the face and are pointed upwards like little horns. The antennae are as long as the body and run down the back of the wings (last picture). It stands almost vertically off the surface on the tail of the wings and the two back pairs of legs held together like a single pair. The first pair of legs are reduced to tiny stubs held against the chest below the head. From the side or the back, it still doesn't look like a moth. From the back, you can see its tiny "horns" and a crown of iridescent scales. Family Gracillariidae. According to kenlebo of iNaturalist, this is possibly Caloptilia rhoifoliella (http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.ed... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caloptilia...). Thank you Ken.


Garden lights, semi-rural residential area, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, 2,200 meters.


Larvae of Caloptilia are leaf miners, starting out in bands and ending in a loose leaf roll. There are dozens of species! See: http://www.microleps.org/Guide/Gracillar... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caloptilia... https://bugguide.net/node/view/51271

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Spotted by

Chiapas, Mexico

Lat: 16.71, Long: -92.61

Spotted on Nov 19, 2018
Submitted on Nov 20, 2018

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