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Unknown organism on top of a leaf of an elephant-ear plant - Bucculatrix

Unknown organism on top of a leaf of an elephant-ear plant - Bucculatrix
Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina, USA
August 4, 2008
Specimen is approximately 2 x 4 mm. Any help where to start the identification process would be appreciated.

Welcome to Bugguide. You sure know how to make a splash. LOL! Seriously, what a magnificent image. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Thanks for the comments. I h
Thanks for the comments. I have some other images at

Nice shot! Ribbed cocoon mak
Nice shot!
Ribbed cocoon maker moth...

Thanks for your reply.
Thanks for your reply.

Beautiful shot of the cocoon of a Bucculatrix ("ribbed cocoon-maker moth") and the "fence" the caterpillar constructs before spinning its cocoon. They are leaf-miners, but they tend to drop down to other plants before pupating, so the species can't necessarily be inferred from the host plant.

Thanks for the comments. The
Thanks for the comments. The "fence" seems rather porous for any defensive function. Are you aware of some other function?

is the only function I've heard ascribed to it--supposedly it protects the caterpillar while it is building the cocoon, which takes quite a while. I agree it's hard to believe that it keeps anything out. Maybe it would become clear if we were able to see it in action.

fence function
It seems to me the fence rather serves some constructional function in making the cocoon.

Not likely
The fence doesn't touch any part of the cocoon.

One of the reasons for this intricate cocoon may be to prevent ants? As soon as I know how I will post a picture of these guys that puzzled many entomologists in South Africa

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