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Philadelphia CBP Intercepts Nation's First Slug Moth

Release Date: 
April 23, 2013

PHILADEPHIA—A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed Friday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists recorded the nation's first discovery of a Semyra finita (Limacodidae) on shipment of Costa Rican pineapples in Philadelphia in February.

Limacodidae is a family of moths, often called slug moths or cup moths, which are known to occur in Central America. Some larvae of this family have stinging hairs and many species feed on several different species of plants.

According to the Pests of Crops in Warmer Climates and Their Control (Dennis S. Hill), family Limacodidae are known pests of coffee, various Rubiaceae, cocoa, ground-nut, sweet potato, castor, tea, and cotton. Woody hosts include oaks, maples, elms, beeches, and hickory trees. Limacodidae larvae are known to cause damage by feeding on the leaves of infested hosts.

"CBP agriculture specialists take their job of detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests very seriously," said Allan Martocci, CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. "This is another example of our agriculture specialists performing a thorough inspection and intercepting a new potential threat to the U.S. agriculture industry."

CBP agriculture specialists intercepted a live, adult Semyra finita (Limacodidae) February 8 and submitted the specimen to a local USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist for identification. That entomologist further submitted it a national specialist.

CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer. The entire shipment of 1,400 cases of pineapples was fumigated and released.

CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA's, APHIS, PPQ to protect our nation's agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.

For more on the USDA, APHIS, PPQ program, please visit their website.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States, and seize 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.

To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the website.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017