Symbiosis of Yucca Moths & Yucca Plant Trees | Home Guides | SF Gate
The mutualism between two genera of yucca moths and Yucca shrubs is species or groups of species that can be considered a mutualism: a relationship where both members benefit. Not only does this reduce the cost to the plant that would have ensued . symbiosis, moths, Yucca, Christopher Wells. In fact, the yucca and yucca moth share a symbiotic relationship that is so do not need to eat; therefore, unlike other moths, they do not have long tongues for. The moth's larvae depend on the seeds of the yucca plant for food, and the yucca plant can only be pollinated by the yucca moth. Unlike most moth species, yucca moths have two short tentacles near their So each species depends upon each other for survival, and both benefit from the relationship.
Yuccas are characterized by their tough, sword-like leaves and large clusters of fragrant, white flowers. These plants generally grow in U.
Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, although hardiness varies by species. Yucca Moth Description Yucca moths are typically silvery-white and small — usually less than an inch long.
Mutualism of the Month: Yucca and their moths — Feed the data monster
Some have dark markings and hair-like fringes on their wings. Their lifespan is about a year, but most of it is spent in the pupal stage. Because the adult stage is very brief, yucca moths do not need to eat; therefore, unlike other moths, they do not have long tongues for sipping nectar.
The mouth of the female moth is equipped with special tentacle-like organs, designed for gathering and carrying pollen. Each yucca moth species is highly specialized to pollinate a particular type of yucca.
For example, Tegeticula synthetica is the sole pollinator of the Joshua tree Yucca brevifoliawhich grows in USDA zones 8 through Pollination The yucca plant cannot pollinate itself — it relies on the yucca moth for cross-pollination. Unlike most moth species, yucca moths have two short tentacles near their mouth that they use to scrape pollen from the anthers of the flower.
The Yucca and its Moth
As she collects the sticky pollen, the yucca moth packs it into a ball and sticks it under her head. She then flies off to another yucca flower. When she arrives at the second yucca flower, usually one that has very recently opened, she goes straight to the bottom to find the ovary.
She opens a small hole in the ovary and lays her eggs inside. Once the eggs are laid, she scrapes a small amount of pollen from her sticky ball with her tentacles, walks to the stigma of the flower, and packs the pollen into tiny depressions within the style.
She may then return to the ovary of the same flower to lay more eggs or fly to another flower.
What is the deal with Joshua trees and yucca moths?
Either way, before she leaves the flower, she marks it with a pheromone a chemical other moths can sense. This helps moderate the number of larva that hatch within each flower, and prevents the plant from aborting the flower altogether, which it will do if too many eggs are laid.
Flowers of soapweed yucca.