Ecology of the coprophagous moth Trisyntopa neossophila Edwards (Lepidoptera: Oecophoridae)

S COONEY, P OLSEN, Stephen Garnett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Trisyntopa neossophila Edwards (Lepidoptera: Oecophoridae) is an unusual moth whose breeding cycle is closely synchronised with a termite mound nesting parrot of northern Australia; the hooded parrot (Psephotus dissimilis Collet). T. neossophila is one of three coprophagous, nest dwelling moths in the genus Trisyntopa Lower 1918. True coprophagy is rare in the Lepidoptera, although some species occasionally consume faeces to gain rare nutrients. We present observations of the life cycle of T. neossophila, a moth that lays its eggs in the nest of a hooded parrot, so that larvae hatch in synchrony with the hatching of the parrot's eggs. The larvae spend their larval period in the nest and exclusively consume the excrement of the nestling parrots. When the parrot chicks fledge, the larvae move to the walls of the nest cavity to pupate, emerging the following wet season to repeat the process during the next parrot breeding season. � 2009 Australian Entomological Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-101
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustral Entomology
    Volume48
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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