Turpentine Bush Bud Worm

Gnorimoschema ?

enlarged bud of Ericameria laricifolia with moth larva inside in Sonoran Desert photo © by Mike Plagens moth larva from inside a bud of Ericameria laricifolia in Sonoran Desert photo © by Mike Plagens

Within new spring growth apical buds of Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia) along Camp Creek wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. 7 March 2015.

Gelechiidae -- One of the Microlepidoptera Families

Turpentine bush very much resembles some sort of conifer and adding to the resemblance is the piney odor of the foliage resin glands. It is actually a composite and gets yellow daisy-flowers in the fall. The new spring buds are often found enlarged and hollowed out by the larva (caterpillar) of a small moth. The moth is even related to similar species that hollow the inside of true conifer buds. I have not yet succeeded in rearing the adult moth — they might have a long estivation (hibernation) through the hot summer.

Turpentine Bush

Turpentine Bush

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 15 June 2015