Temporal range: Late Eocene
Tortrix? destructus is an extinct species of moth in the family Tortricidae, and possibly in the modern genus Tortrix. The species is known from late Eocene, Priabonian stage, lake deposits near the small community of Florissant in Teller County, Colorado, United States.
History and classification
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. 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. 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. Further refinement of the formation's age using radiometric dating of sanidine crystals has resulted in an age of 34 million years old. This places the formation in the Eocene Priabonian stage.
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.
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.
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