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Mexican Jumping Bean Moth (Cydia saltitans)

The Mexican jumping bean moth is a member of the family of tortrix moths. The larvae of these moths are famous for living inside seeds of certain species, which “jump” on being kept on the palm of a human, famously referred to as “Mexican jumping beans”.

Mexican Jumping Bean Moth


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Tortricidae
  • Genus: Cydia
  • Scientific Name: Cydia saltitans

Description and Identification


The larva can be found inside the carpels of seeds of plants like Sebastianiapavoniana or Sapiumbiloculare. It will hollow out the seed and attach itself to the interior with silk threads.

When the bean receives heat, such as from the palm of a human hand, it begins to move around, causing the seed to “jump”.

Jumping Bean Moth Caterpillar



The larvae only begin to pupate when it receives sufficient moisture. During this stage, it will make a hole for the adult moth to emerge from, spinning a silk pathway to the exit.

Mexican Jumping Bean Moth Pupa


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

The moths are a silver and graycolor. It lacks any sort of mouthpiece.

When the wings are opened and closed, they are gray.

Average wingspan: 20mm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: Year-round

Cydia saltitans



The adult moth lays an egg on top of a seed.

Quick Facts

HabitatPrefers shade or areas with low heat
Lifespan of AdultsA few days
Host PlantsSpurge trees
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • The Mexican jumping bean in which the larvae reside is often collected as a novelty item.
Jumping Bean Moth


Mexican Jumping Bean Moth Image


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