Zodia scintillana is a small diurnal moth. It has dark wings with specks of iridescent scales and black-and-white antennae. It is found in Central and South America. In Costa Rica, its caterpillars feed on leaves of the Panama rubber tree (Castilla elastica, family Moraceae).
Although the adults of this species are not frequently encountered, its larvae can be found on almost every Castilla elastica plant at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. They prefer to feed on the underside of younger leaves, but never on the youngest ones. Usually there is more than one larva per leaf, and up to five or six, representing various instars, have been recorded. Like other choreutids, they skeletonize leaves. Their feeding damage is obvious even from a distance of a few meters (see image). They create a thin web beneath which they feed. Often their black frass pellets become incorporated into this web, leaving the leaf with a characteristic choreutid trace. The cocoon (see image) is usually spun on the underside of leaves, away from the feeding damage. It is made of thin spindle-shaped webbing and it includes some of the sharp hairs from the host plant leaf underside. The pupal period is usually completed within 10 days.
Z. scintillana is a small, dark-colored moth, with forewing length of about 4.5 mm, with specks of iridescent scales on the forewing and golden-green coloration on the thorax. The proboscis has scales on its base, antennae have black and white alternating annulations, as well as tarsi. It cannot be easily separated from other members of the genus without genitalic dissections.
Head – vertex dark fuscous with iridescent golden-green sheen or blue (depending on the angle of light); frons with dorsal ½ strongly iridescent golden-green, ventral ½ silvery-white; eye bordered by ocherous scales laterally and ventrally; antenna fuscous, white-banded dorsally; labial palpus ocherous with iridescent sheen; haustellum with two rows of creamy-white scales. Thorax – dark fuscous with iridescent golden-green streak medially; tegula, lateral and ventral surface strongly iridescent golden-green; legs fuscous with white annulations at tarsal joints. Forewing – upper side fuscous with iridescent bronze sheen; basal ⅓ with two longitudinal iridescent golden-green streaks at costal margin ½ from base and one transverse streak at anal margin ½ from base; short white oblique streak divided into two parts at costal margin ⅓ from base, another oblique white streak at costal margin at ⅔ from base; six white spots at apical ⅓, two centrally, one at anal margin, three at apex; cilia fuscous. All white markings have iridescent silvery sheen. Apex bluntly pointed; chorda absent; apical 2/5 of CuP present. Hindwing – upper side drab with slight iridescent sheen; cilia drab, grayish-tipped. Underside of both wings drab with slight iridescent bronze sheen. Vestigial M vein present in cell; M3 and CuA1 long-stalked. Abdomen – light fuscous with iridescent bronze sheen; dorsally every segment with row of iridescent scales at posterior end.
In adult moths the length of forewing is about 4-4.7 mm. Final instar larvae are about 9.5 mm long.
This species lives in tropical rain forests.