Customs and Border Protection
A moth from the family Pyralidae was found in a passenger's bag at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
A moth not seen since 1912 was discovered in a passenger's bag at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists discovered seeds during an inspection of an arriving passenger from the Philippines in September 2021. The passenger claimed the pods were for medicinal tea.
But CBP specialists spotted what appeared to be insect exit holes in the seed pods and placed them in quarantine while analyzing the moth larvae and pupae. While in quarantine, “very flashy” moths hatched.
Based on the physical characteristics, inspectors concluded the moths were members of the family Pyralidae but could not determine the genus or species, so the specimens were sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for further review.
A USDA Smithsonian Institution entomologist confirmed the specimen was a moth that hasn’t been seen since it was described in 1912, CBP said
It also marks the first time the larvae or pupae has been collected.
“This discovery is a testament to their important mission of identifying foreign pests and protecting America’s natural resources,” Port Director Robert Larkin said.
Each year, CBP agriculture specialists intercept tens of thousands of so-called “actionable pests,” which are considered "dangerous to the health and safety of U.S. agricultural resources."
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