Unique structures often accompany unusual feeding behaviors in erebid moths. We test whether self-medicating (e.g., pharmacophagous) adult tiger moths have specialized structures on their mouthparts. We examined mouthparts of pharmacophagous and non-pharmacophagous adults using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Self-medicating adults had significantly higher numbers of chemosensory structures when compared with non-self-medicating adults. Putative olfactory sensilla are reported on the proboscis of Nyctemera coleta and pollen grains were found adhered to the proboscis of Nyctemera secundiana. Sensilla on the observed tiger moth proboscides may play a role in the recognition of pyrrolizidine alkaloid plants by pharmacophagous adults.
- Tiger moth