Tortrix? destructus

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Tortrix? destructus
Temporal range: Late Eocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tortricidae
Genus: Tortrix (?)
Species: T.? destructus
Binomial name
Tortrix? destructus
Cockerell, 1917

Tortrix? destructus is an extinct species of moth in the family Tortricidae, and possibly in the modern genus Tortrix.[1] The species is known from late Eocene,[2] Priabonian stage,[3][4][5] lake deposits near the small community of Florissant in Teller County, Colorado, United States.[1]

History and classification[edit]

Tortrix? destructus is known only from one fossil, the holotype, specimen "USNM 61998". It is a single, mostly complete adult of undetermined sex, preserved as a compression fossil in fine grained shale.[1] The shale specimen was obtained from the fossiliferous outcrops on the ranch of George W. Wilson, part of the Florissant Formation which outcrops around Florissant. The type specimen is currently preserved in the paleoentomological collections housed in the National Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, located in Washington, D.C., United States. T.? destructus was first studied by Dr Theodore D. A. Cockerell of the University of Colorado, with his 1917 type description being published in the Proceedings of the United States National Museum.[1] Cockerell did not provide an explanation for the specific epithet destructus.

At the time of description, the Florissant formation was considered to be Miocene in age.[1] Further refinement of the formation's age using radiometric dating of sanidine crystals has resulted in an age of 34 million years old.[3][4][5] This places the formation in the Eocene Priabonian stage.[3][4][5]


Tortrix? destructus is about 8.3 millimetres (0.33 in) long with a robust thorax and an abdomen which tapers towards the tip. The slender antenna are 4.5 millimetres (0.18 in) long, with tips that curl to form almost a circle, and are reddish in coloration. Where visible the legs are either hairy or scaly. The forewings are 8.3 millimetres (0.33 in) in length with a 3.5 millimetres (0.14 in) outer margin and a 7.3 millimetres (0.29 in) lower margin. The hindwing length is not specified, the color patterning is described, with the hindwings longitudinally striped and a broad but diffuse submarginal band.[1]

T.? destructus is noted to be much smaller than the other possible Tortrix species form Florissant, Tortrix? florissantana, described by Cockerell in 1907. The placement of both species is noted by Cockerell to be uncertain.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Cockerell, T. D. A. (1917). "Some American fossil insects". Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 51 (2146): 89–106. doi:10.5479/si.00963801.51-2146.89. 
  2. ^ Archibald, S.B.; Rasnitsyn, A.P.; Akhmetiev, M.A. (2005). "Ecology and Distribution of Cenozoic Eomeropidae (Mecoptera), and a New Species of Eomerope Cockerell from the Early Eocene McAbee Locality, British Columbia, Canada". Annals of the Entomological Society of America. Entomological Society of America. 98 (4): 503–514. doi:10.1603/0013-8746(2005)098[0503:EADOCE]2.0.CO;2. 
  3. ^ a b c Ksepka, D.T.; Clarke, J.A. (2009). "Affinities of Palaeospiza bella and the Phylogeny and Biogeography of Mousebirds (Coliiformes)". The Auk. The American Ornithologists' Union. 126 (2): 245–259. doi:10.1525/auk.2009.07178. 
  4. ^ a b c Lloyd, K.J.; Eberle, J.J. (2008). "A New Talpid from the Late Eocene of North America". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences. 53 (3): 539–543. doi:10.4202/app.2008.0311. 
  5. ^ a b c Worley-Georg, M.P.; Eberle, J.J. (2006). "Additions to the Chadronian mammalian fauna, Florissant Formation, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. 26 (3): 685–696. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2006)26[685:ATTCMF]2.0.CO;2.