GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. government ordered the destruction 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 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 Amazonian tropical rainforest.
“These butterflies, while they may be attractive to the eye, have no place in the Gulf Coast or United States and their introduction could lead to unpredictable results in our ecosystem,” said Anthony Acrey, area port director of Mobile, Alabama.