Tegeticula altiplanellaOlle Pellmyr
Wing expanse 18-27.5 mm. Forewing white, and hindwing dark brownish grey, darkest by fore edge and apex, gradually lighter toward back corner; generally lighter in southernmost populations. Some indidivuals with tan forewing coloration, primarily at higher elevation and in northern part of species range. Male genitalia with aedeagus 1.70-1.85 mm long, 0.03-0.04 mm in cross section; female genitalia with posterior apophyses 6.3-6.5 mm long, corpus bursae with signa 0.60-0.80 mm in diameter.
Similar to many species in the yuccasella complex, but readily distinguished from other members of the complex based on genitalic characters. A diagnostic key is provided. Tan forewing coloration is some specimens is shared with the partly sympatric baccatella and with yuccasella.
The species is known from the capsular-fruited yuccas Yucca baileyi (Y. intermedia, Y. navajoa, Y. standleyi), Y. harrimaniae (Y. gilbertiana, Y. neomexicana) and Y. angustissima (Y. kanabensis). Females oviposit into flowers (Pellmyr 1999). Eggs are laid inside the ovary, between the wall and the ovules. The larva feeds on developing seeds. Pupation occurs in a cocoon in the soil.
Mountains and high plains of Colorado, southern Utah, and northern Arizona and New Mexico.
Major habitat types include high brush desert, rock outcrops and volcanic tuff soils in open forest, and high grassland. Altitudinal range 1350-2500 m.
Pellmyr, O. 1999. Systematic revision of the Tegeticula yuccasella complex (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae) north of Mexico. Systematic Entomology 24:243-271.
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Pellmyr, Olle. 1996. Tegeticula altiplanella http://tolweb.org/Tegeticula_altiplanella/12464/1996.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 01 January 1996 (under construction).