Species Profile

Non-pollinating Yucca Moth

Scientific Name: Tegeticula corruptrix
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
Range: Alberta
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2013
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Non-pollinating Yucca Moth


Non-pollinating Yucca Moths are small white moths of the family Prodoxidae. They have a wingspan of 22.5-35.0 mm, and are mostly easily identified by their large size relative to other yucca moths. Non-pollinating Yucca Moths have a maxillary palp without a maxillary tentacle. (Updated 2017/05/24)


Distribution and Population

Yucca moths are found within Soapweed stands throughout the Great Plains from Texas north to Alberta and from the Rocky Mountains east to the Mississippi River. In Canada, Soapweed occurs at three locations: along the Milk River (Pinhorn, AB), its tributary, the Lost River (Onefour, AB) and Rockglen, SK. There are several single plants or small patches of Soapweed reported in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan; however, most of these plants were transplanted from native populations in Alberta or the United States. (Updated 2017/05/24)



Soapweed occupies well-drained, sparsely vegetated, south-facing coulee slopes along the Milk River drainage in southeastern Alberta and in Rockglen, SK. The area has hot, dry summers and low precipitation with large daily temperature variation and weather extremes like high winds or heavy rain. Coulee habitat of this nature is rare and naturally limiting to the Soapweed. Intervening prairie, which is needed for range expansion, may have declined in quality for Soapweed because of fire suppression and lack of disturbance. (Updated 2017/05/24)



Non-pollinating Yucca Moths are obligate seed predators of Soapweed in Canada. They do not pollinate and lay eggs in early stage Soapweed fruit. After hatching, larvae feed on Soapweed seeds. In late summer, larvae emerge from the fruit, burrow into the soil, and enter prepupal diapause. They remain in this state for up to several years, before emerging from the soil as adults. Non-pollinating Yucca Moths rely on the mutualism between Yucca Moths and Soapweed for survival as fruit production is required for reproduction by the Non-pollinating Yucca Moth. (Updated 2017/05/24)



Soapweed is naturally limited in Canada by its obligate relationship with the Yucca Moth, its habitat type, and its peripheral distribution and isolation from other populations in its range. Other non-anthropogenic threats include herbivory by wild ungulates and insects and extreme weather events like high winds or heavy rains. The primary sources of anthropogenic threats to the expansion of Soapweed into adjacent habitats include habitat alteration and degradation through agriculture, oil and gas development and off-road vehicle use. Soapweed is collected for the horticultural trade and for medicinal use (threat currently negligible). (Updated 2017/05/24)



Federal Protection

The Non-pollinating Yucca Moth is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Amended Recovery Strategy for the Soapweed (Yucca glauca) and Yucca Moth (Tegeticula yuccasella) and Recovery Strategy for the Non-pollinating Yucca Moth (Tegeticula corruptrix) and the Five-spotted Bogus Yucca Moth (Prodoxus quinquepunctellus) in Ca
Status First posting on SAR registry



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

12 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

COSEWIC Assessments

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Non-pollinating Yucca Moth (2013)

    Only two populations of the Non-pollinating Yucca Moth are known from an extremely small and restricted area. One site has a small and fluctuating moth population, while only a single adult was observed from 1998-2011 at the other site. This moth species is an obligate seed parasite, the larvae feeding on Soapweed seeds. It relies on the mutualistic relationship between the Soapweed and its pollinator Yucca Moth, as fruit production is needed by larvae of the Non-pollinating Yucca Moth. The loss of flowers or seeds as a result of ungulate herbivory is an ongoing threat, while in the long term Soapweed populations may be limited by the lack of fire and other disturbances that provide sites for the establishment of seedlings.
  • Response Statements - Non-pollinating Yucca Moth (2006)

    This highly specialized moth exists in Canada as a single viable population that occurs in a very small, restricted area, isolated from the main range of the species in the United States. A second isolated population is on the verge of disappearing or has already been lost. The moth is entirely dependent on the obligate mutualistic relationship between its host plant (Soapweed), which is Threatened, and the plant’s pollinator (Yucca Moth), which is Endangered. It is threatened by the high level of wild ungulate herbivory, which in some years greatly reduces recruitment of the moth, its host plant and the host plant pollinator, and by off-road vehicles that destroy the host plant.

Recovery Strategies


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2007) (2007)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of 40 species done pursuant to paragraph 15(1)(a) and in accordance with subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2007)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act, hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006)

    2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act Terrestrial Species: December 2006 (2006)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list. Please submit your comments by March 16, 2007 for species undergoing normal consultations and by March 14, 2008 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update March 31, 2017