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Hyposmocoma inversella.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Cosmopterigidae
Genus: Hyposmocoma
Butler, 1881
  • Bubaloceras Walsingham, 1907
  • Euperissus Butler, 1881
  • Neelysia Walsingham, 1907
  • Hyposmochoma
  • Agonismus Walsingham, 1907
  • Aphthonetus Walsingham, 1907
  • Rhinomactrum Walsingham, 1907
  • Dysphoria Walsingham, 1907
  • Euhyposmocoma Swezey, 1913
  • Hyperdasysella Fletcher, 1940
  • Hyperdasys Walsingham, 1907
  • Phthoraula Meyrick, 1935
  • Euperissus Butler, 1881
  • Semnoprepia Walsingham, 1907
  • Petrochroa Busck, 1914[1]
  • Diplosara Meyrick, 1883

Hyposmocoma is a large and diverse genus of moths with 320-350 known species that have adapted to nearly every ecological niche on the Hawaiian Islands. Most species have plant-based diets. In four species of Hyposmocoma (one is Hyposmocoma molluscivora) caterpillars spin silk that they use to capture snails, on which they prey. These are the first caterpillars known to eat snails (or mollusks of any kind).[2] Some species are amphibious. This trait has evolved at least 3 times within this genus.

"It's really remarkable—even within a diverse genus it's remarkable," said Daniel Rubinoff, an entomologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who led the team that discovered the caterpillar's dietary habits.[3]


There are a number of undescribed species.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Busck, August (1914). "New Microlepidoptera from Hawaii". Insecutor Inscitiae Menstruus. 2 (7): 104–105. 
  2. ^ Rubinoff D, Haines WP (July 2005). "Web-spinning caterpillar stalks snails". Science. 309 (5734): 575. doi:10.1126/science.1110397. PMID 16040699. 
  3. ^ Roach, John (July 21, 2005). "Flesh-Eating Caterpillars Discovered in Hawaii". National Geographic News. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. 

External links[edit]