I am studying the diversification of a group of tiny moths called Mompha,  a genus within the family Momphidae. Mompha are moths with a ~2.5 to 8 mm forewing length, narrow-tufted forewings, and cryptic coloration. The only way to accurately  identify these moths to species are intensive genitalia dissections. There are roughly 40 described species of Mompha found in the United States with many species still unsubscribed because of the difficulty in their identification. Using molecular barcoding I can avoid complex genitalia dissections.  I hope to survey the diversity of Mompha associated with Oenothera, identify new putative species, and patterns of host plant mediated evolution.

mompha larvae

A picture of a Mompha larvae found in the fruit of an evening primrose

Photo Credit: Rick Overson landscapes of linalool flickr


An example of an adult Mompha 

Photo Credit: Ken Childs from the Momphidae section at Butterflies and Moths of North America

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