Thyrocopa sapindiella Swezey

Aulu Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa sapindiella)

This species was described in 1913; it is known exclusively from specimens that were found in the Niu Valley near the southeastern coast of O’ahu, Hawaiian Islands.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 1.8 cm; the head is whitish brown; the thorax and the abdomen are very light whitish brown; the forewings are mainly very light whitish brown with a few brown scales scattered throughout and a very small, faint brownish spot in the cell; the hindwings are very light whitish brown.

The caterpillars are thought to feed on the leaves of the Hawaiian endemic ko’oloa (Abutilon spp.) and āulu (Sapindus spp.).:

The caterpillars were quite numerous on some trees. The small ones feed on the under surface of the leavs [sic], each producing a web covered with frass under which it feeds, eating off the surface of the leaf. The larger ones hide in rolled-together leaves, often several leaves in a bunch fastened together and there may be two or more caterpillars, each in a silken tunnel.

Pupa 9 mm. … The pupa is formed within the spun-together leaves where the caterpillar fed.
” [1]


This species is now possibly extinct.



[1] O. H. Swezey: One new genus and eighteen new species of Hawaiian moths. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 2: 269-280. 1908-1913
[2] Matthew J. Medeiros: A revision of the endemic Hawaiian genus Thyrocopa (Lepidoptera: Xyloryctidae: Xyloryctinae). Zootaxa 2202: 1-47. 2009 


edited: 18.02.2024