Cydia saltitans

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Cydia saltitans
adult C. saltitans
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tortricidae
Genus: Cydia
C. saltitans
Binomial name
Cydia saltitans
(Westwood, 1858)
  • Carpocapsa saltitans Westwood, 1858
  • Carpocapsa deshaisiana Lucas, 1858 (Unav.)
  • Laspeyresia saltitans (Westwood, 1858)
  • Laspeyresia deshaisiana (Lucas, 1858) (Unav.)
  • Cydia deshaisiana (Lucas, 1858) (Unav.)
Bean showing "trap door", Pupal casing.
The bean and its moth.

Cydia saltitans or jumping bean moth is a moth from Mexico that is most widely known as its larva, where it inhabits the carpels of seeds from several related shrubby trees, mainly Sebastiania pavoniana or Sapium biloculare (syn. Pleradenophora bilocularis).[1] These seeds are commonly known as Mexican jumping beans.

The moth lays the egg on the young capsule. The hatched larva gnaws into the fruit, which closes the minute hole during its growth. The larva attaches itself to the capsule with many silken threads by hooks on its anal and four hind abdominal prolegs. When the fruit is warmed, for instance by being held in the palm of the hand, the larva twitches, pulling on the threads and causing the characteristic hop. "Jump" is often an exaggeration, but the beans nonetheless do move around quite a bit.

The larva may live for months inside the fruit with periods of inactivity. It eats away the seed inside the capsule, making a hollow for itself. If the fruit is cut, the larva will repair the hole with silk.

If the larva has suitable conditions such as moisture, it will live long enough to go into a pupal stage. In preparation for this, it eats a circular hole through the shell and closes it again with a silken plug. This is to enable the jawless adult moth to escape from the fruit. After completion of the exit hole it spins a cocoon within the fruit, with a passageway leading to the opening. During the following pupal stage the larva will not move any more. Normally in the spring, the moth will force its way out of what remains of the fruit, through the round "trapdoor", leaving behind the pupal casing.

The small, jawless silver and gray-colored moth will live for only a few days.


In most of the historical literature prior to 2020, the name of this species is given as deshaisiana and attributed to Lucas, 1858. However, careful examination of the source literature revealed that Lucas' name has never been available (a nomen nudum under the ICZN rules), and also that Westwood's original name, Carpocapsa saltitans, had evidently been introduced earlier in that same year (Westwood's first appeared in July 1858 and Lucas' in November).[2] Westwood coined the name using elements referring to the behavior; carpo and capsa indicating that it lives within a seed (see podocarp), and saltitans referring to its jumping behavior.

See also[edit]


  • (1876). Jumping Seeds and Galls. American Naturalist, Vol. 10(4): 216–218.
  1. ^ a b c d Webster, Grady L. (October 1967). "The Genera of Euphorbiaceae in the Southeastern United States". Journal of the Arnold Arboretum (GIF). 48 (4): 386–387. JSTOR 43782494. OCLC 3178505.
  2. ^ Todd M. Gilligan, John W. Brown, Joaquín Baixeras (2020) Immigrant Tortricidae: Holarctic versus introduced species in North America. Insects 11, 594 (59 pp.) doi:10.3390/insects11090594
  3. ^ Humphreys, Kim; Darling, D. Christopher (21 August 2013). "Not looking where you are leaping: a novel method of oriented travel in the caterpillar Calindoea trifascialis (Moore) (Lepidoptera: Thyrididae)". Biology Letters. 9 (5): 20130397. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0397. ISSN 1744-957X. OCLC 5145587411. PMC 3971676. PMID 23966594.
  4. ^ "Jumping Galls". Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  5. ^ Marshall, Michael (18 August 2014). "Zoologger: The secret hop of the Californian flea seed". NewScientist. Retrieved 27 July 2018.

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