On Oct 2, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:
The Scyrotis athleta .. is also known as one of the 'jumping bean moths' of South Africa.
In the sand and leaf-litter beneath Rhus lucida, one can sometimes see small (about 6 mm) oval 'beans' that jump. In the 'bean' is the larva of a moth; Scyrotis athleta.
The movement and jumping is a response to heat and facilitates repositioning of the 'bean' into ideal pupating conditions in the soil and leaf-litter. It is quite a mystery how such a small larva in such a confined space is able to exert the force required to jump (up to 10 cm). Janse (1920) concluded that it is done by careful positioning inside the 'bean' and rapid contracting and relaxing of muscles.
The 'beans' start off as bumps (galls) that form on the leaves of Rhus lucida. A female... read more