Hyposmocoma swezeyi   (Busck)

Swezey's Cosmet Moth
(Hyposmocoma swezeyi)

syn. Petrochroa swezeyi (Busck)


Hawai'i Islands: O'ahu

local name: -

size: ca. 0,8 cm (wingspan)

extinction date: (?)

The genus Hyposmocoma occurs exclusively on the islands of the Hawaiian archipelago, the genus is assumed to contain more than 400 species.

The vast majority of these species has adapted in an extreme way to an often very small ecological niche, their ranges are often only very localized. It is absolutely certain, that during the colonisation of the islands both by the Polynesians as well as later by the Europeans, many of the species, particularly on the coast and lowland areas, have been completely extirpated.

Swezey's Cosmet Moth is one of the few of these lowland species, that were at least described.

The species occurred in a small area, which is now an heavily urbanized district of Honolulu, Hawai'i's capital city.

The caterpillars of all Hyposmocoma species build a small larval case, in which they hide their body. This case is made of silk, and it is almost always covered with various material, collected by the caterpillars in their environment - in the case of this species this were smallest particles of rock and sand.

Because there are no modern sightings of this species, it most probably must now be considered extinct.


- Patrick Schmitz; Daniel Rubinoff: Ecologically and Morphologically Remarkable New Cosmet Moth Species of the Genus Hyposmocoma (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, with Reference to the Spectacular Diversity of Larval Cases. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 104(1): 1-15. 2011