Miami – Authorities seized at the Miami airport a package mailed containing 11 “live” caterpillars of an Asian moth that devour the foliage of citrus fruit trees and also of guava, reported Monday the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP, for its acronym in English).
He specified that the shipment, originating from the United Kingdom, had caterpillars of the Atlas moth (Attacus atlas), one of the largest insects, up to 27 centimeters (11 inches) wide with wings outstretched.
It is a “A serious agricultural pest that feeds voraciously on the foliage of fruit plants such as citrus and guava”, he detailed.
“Introducing these caterpillars into our agricultural system could cause immeasurable damage,” said Christopher Maston, director of the CBP port of entry at Miami International Airport.
CBP detailed that the mail was intercepted on April 28 in Miami on the way to its final destination in California.
As a caterpillar, this endemic Asian moth measures up to 12 centimeters (5 inches) and does not stop eating, making it a pest of fruit trees.
The 11 caterpillars were sent to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Miami Plant Inspection Station for identification.
These days, researchers and authorities in the state of Washington have been concerned about the arrival of another plague, known as “Killing wasp”, for the first time in the country, which generates concern for its danger and impact on local fauna.
The giant Asian hornet is considered an invasive species for its colonizing potential and for posing a serious threat to the native species, especially honey bees, which it fatally attacks in the case of adults and devours larvae and young specimens.
Maston said the seizure of the caterpillars in Miami is part of a “critical” job to protect the national agricultural industry by preventing the introduction of harmful pests into the country.
CBP noted that during fiscal year 2019, which ended last September, they confiscated at U.S. ports of entry almost 118,000 potentially dangerous pests.