The life history and pollination biology of Tegeticula maculata (Riley), the sole pollinator of Hesperoyucca whipplei (Agavaceae), have been studied extensively, but individual moth longevity and plant-to-plant movements have remained poorly known. I recorded activity by capture, mark-release, and recapture of adult moths over a 12-day period at two sites near San Diego, California. Moths lived 2–10 days at room temperatures, and, in the field, marked Tegeticula lived 2–9 days between captures. In total, 51 of 145 (35%) marked and released moths were sighted on one or more subsequent days (33% of males, 37% of females). Males tended to stay in one or two adjacent inflorescences: 18 of 29 (62%) recaptures were recorded at the same plant as previous release, whereas females usually relocated to another plant on a following day: 24 of 29 (83%) were found on plants distant (> 2m, avg. 53 m) from the preceding capture. The results help confirm long-held assumptions that cross pollination of yuccas is provided through purposeful behavior by yucca moths moving from plant to plant.
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