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Crops > Trees, palms & pandanus > Trees > Terminalia > Gracillariid moth, Palmyra Atoll, Northern Line Is
January 2006. The identity of a moth from Palmyra atoll (Northern Line Islands) was requested. It has apparently been experiencing a population explosion, and is previously unrecorded from the atoll. It is thought to be feeding on Terminalia (false kamani), but this is not certain. Caterpillars were observed hanging from silk lines, and the manager of the island collected specimens, reared adults, and sent moths in ethanol (hence their condition).
It was thought to be in the family Gracillariidae, but have been unable to match it to any species in the Bishop Museum or the University of Hawaii collection, or to photos on the Internet. The moths are very small (4-5 mm), and have very long antennae, which exceed the length of the body. In the larvae (not pictured), prolegs are absent from the 6th abdominal segment, which apparently is characteristic of this family.