Lovely leaf roller

Along the hammock trail at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, the handiwork of crafty moth larvae is evident upon the leaves of shiny-leaved wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa). Unroll the leaf, and you are most likely to find only frass (insect poop). You can see a picture of the moth larvae on BugGuide and, if you wish, enjoy the taxonomic discussion of this moth that likely is very specific to the genus, Psychotria, in its dining preferences.

Plant – insect interrelationships are complex and multi-faceted. Bees, butterflies & other pollinators ‘flock’ to the nectar of its snowy white flowers of wild coffee.


Domatia — special ‘houses’ for insects ‘grown’ by the plant — are found on the underside of the deeply-veined leaves (on the vein axils), and extrafloral nectaries — non-floral reservoirs of nectar — attract ants and other insects, perhaps to eat moth eggs …


Deep dark red fruits now adorn wild coffee, as well, soon to be feasted upon by birds and other wildlife.


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