Tropical Larvae Found in Fruit Shipped from Costa Rica to US

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. government ordered the destruction of a $15,000 shipment of pineapples from Costa Rica after agriculture inspectors in Mississippi found butterfly larvae that they said could be harmful.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release Monday that inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service found the Saunders 1850 larvae on Sept. 2 at the Port of Gulfport.

It was the first time the larvae, which is considered a pest, had been found in the United States. The news release said this type of colorful butterfly feeds on pineapples, legumes, sunflowers, and ginger. The typical habitat is the Amazonian tropical rainforest.

“These butterflies, while they may be attractive to the eye, have no place in the Gulf Coast or the United States and their introduction could lead to unpredictable results in our ecosystem,” said Anthony Acrey, area port director of Mobile, Alabama.

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