In recent years, a small insect was discovered predating seeds of Crocanthemum canadense (Canada Frostweed or Rockrose), which is an endangered plant with small, localized populations in Nova Scotia. This insect targets primarily chasmogamous flowers (insect-pollinated, open flowers) but not cleistogamous flowers (self-pollinated, closed) of Canada Frostweed. This behavior is of concern because a decrease in the number of seeds produced by outcrossing could cause a decrease in genetic variance within populations at affected sites (e.g., Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, NS). We extracted DNA from larvae collected from chasmogamous flowers and used the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene to barcode the DNA. Results from queries showed a 91% match to Mompha (Lepidoptera: Momphidae) species on GenBank, indicating that this insect was a member of the genus Mompha, but that this particular species was not in the database. To further characterize this lepidopteran, we collected and incubated chasmogamous flowers to rear the larvae to adulthood. We identified the reared adults as Mompha capella, a species of Momphidae not previously documented in the Maritime provinces, Canada.
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Vol. 23 • No. 2