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Haleakala flightless moth

Thyrocopa apatela


This moth is very special, because it can't fly, and only lives in the summit of Haleakala national park. This moth crawled on a window, and I got some pics of this fascinating moth. This species appears to be undergoing severe range reduction. Although it was found as low as 1,524 meters in the 1970s, recent collecting indicates it is now restricted to areas above 2,900 meters. This may be the result of the range expansion of introduced ants on Haleakalā. This moth hides in holes of volcanic rock during the day, and in the night, they crawl out. Nobody is confident, on what they feed on, but the larva is likely a generalist, feeding on Dubautia and other plant species found in the alpine scrub of Haleakalā's high-elevation areas. Larvae have also been found feeding on wind-blown debris under small rocks.


Red hill, Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. Seen at summit building (elevation 10,023 feet)

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Spotted on Jul 20, 2019
Submitted on May 16, 2020

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