U.S. Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialists at the Rio Grand City Port of Entry in Texas intercepted a significant, rare pest — a first in the port from this pest on a coconut shipment.
On Sept. 17, 2023, agriculture specialists at the Rio Grande City International Bridge inspected a tractor-trailer hauling coconuts. During an examination of the trailer floor, agriculture specialists intercepted a pest later identified as Hapigia sp. (Notodontidae) — a type of moth — by U.S. Department of Agricultural entemologists in Los Indios, Texas.
According to the USDA’s Pest ID Database, this was the first time this species of Notodontidae has been encountered at this specific port of entry (also known as a “first port interception”). The trailer hauling coconut’s entry was canceled, and the shipment was re-exported to Mexico.
“Our frontline agriculture specialists continue to show their dedication to the CBP mission, and that tenacity and drive resulted in the interception of a first in the port pest,” said Port Director Rogelio Olivares, Rio Grande City Port of Entry. “Significant pest interceptions like these help to protect American agriculture from serious economic harm that can be inflicted by infiltration of pest species not known to exist in the U.S.”
The genus Hapigia falls under Notodontidae, a family of moths with 3,800 known species. Notodontidae typically feed on trees or shrubs. Some notodontids cause noticeable defoliation of their hosts.
Pest interceptions are part of CPB agricultural specialists’ daily work, keeping foreign pests from becoming established in the U.S.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic