- San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
FAMILY: AGAVACEAE (Agave Family)
The relationship between yuccas and moths of the Tegeticula genus is a clever and mutually beneficial one, since the moths get a safe place to lay their eggs and feed their larvae, while the plants get pollinated to produce another generation. The female moth lays a single egg inside a chamber in the yucca's ovary, and on her way out she methodically rubs the plant's stigma with pollen she gathered from another yucca. As the seeds develop, the larva feeds on the ones near it. But it doesn't eat them all, and when the seed pod bursts open to release the many that still remain, the larvae hops out and buries itself in the sand to make a cocoon and become a moth.