Glaucolepis Braun, 1917

Stonis, Jonas R., Remeikis, Andrius, Diškus, Arūnas & Solis, M. Alma, 2017, The American species of the genus Glaucolepis Braun, 1917 (Neotrifurcula van Nieukerken, syn. nov.) (Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae), Zootaxa 4338 (3), pp. 489-506: 490-492

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Glaucolepis Braun, 1917


Diagnostics of Glaucolepis Braun, 1917   and the flagellata   species group

Glaucolepis BRAUN, 1917: 201.

TyPE SPECIES: Nepticula saccharella BRAUN, 1912: 97.


TyPE SPECIES: Nepticula headleyella STAINTON, 1854: 298.

Sinopticula YANg, 1989: 79, 81. THE SyNONyMy By VAN NIEUKERKEN & PUPLESIS 1991: 202. TyPE SPECIES: Sinopticula sinica YANg, 1989: 80, 82.

Neotrifurcula VAN NIEUKERKEN, 2016; IN VAN NIEUKERKEN et al. 2016 B: 36, 37, syn. nov. TyPE SPECIES: Neotrifurcula gielisorum VAN NIEUKERKEN, 2016; IN VAN NIEUKERKEN et al. 2016B: 38, 39.

There are many shared characters that support the status of Glaucolepis   as a well-defined, monophyletic genus. A revised list of diagnostic characters for Glaucolepis   is given in Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 ; many of these characters are hypothesized to be apomorphic. Like other genera of Nepticulidae   , the genus cannot be recognized by external characters such as forewing pattern, which in this genus is variable across species. In the genitalia, the most distinctive characters are the long, rod-like sclerite of the phallus (which is expressed differently in various species, from an enlongated cornutus to a flagellum-like sclerite) ( Figs 25–34 View FIGURES 25 – 34 ), the apical spines near the phallotrema (possibly reduced in the raikhonae group), and the coiled ductus spermathecae ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 ), a structure that appears to be of diagnostic value in the Nepticulidae   . The combination of characters listed in Figure 1 View FIGURE 1 distinguishes this genus from all other genera of Nepticulidae   . As is common in the Nepticulidae   , morphology of head and leg structures ( Figs 2–7 View FIGURES 2 – 7 ) do not exhibit anything with taxonomic value. However, the wing venation ( Figs 8–18 View FIGURES 8 – 18 ) appears to contribute a strong diagnostic character: a trifurcate Rs+M in the hindwing venation is shared with the closely related Trifurcula Zeller   , while Rs+M is bifurcate in all other Nepticulidae   .

Larvae are leaf or stem miners. Some European species from the G. headleyella   group use more than one leaf, which is very unusual for Nepticulidae   , and continue the mine from one leaf to another by moving through the petiole or stem (Johansson et al. 1990). Trophic relationships are still unknown for a third of the fauna, including all American Glaucolepis   , except for G. saccharella   ; however, the known host-plant preferences are rather peculiar (listed in Figure 1 View FIGURE 1 and briefly discussed in Doorenweerd et al. 2016). Lamiaceae   feeders prevail.

Annette F. Braun described Glaucolepis   mainly on the basis of external coloration and wing venation (Braun 1917) and did not use genital characters during her early studies (Solis 1990). Sixty-seven years later the genus was illustrated and characterized using genitalia features by Wilkinson & Scoble (1979). However, the most comprehensive characterization of Glaucolepis   , including numerous European species then assigned to Fedalmia   , was provided by van Nieukerken (1986a) and Johansson et al. (1990), and later only briefly discussed by Puplesis (1994) and Puplesis & Robinson (2000).

The genus consists of at least four distinguishable entities, each with its own diagnostic characters, and referred to as species groups: the headleyella   group (designated by Puplesis 1994), the raikhonae group (designated by van Nieukerken & Puplesis 1991), the saccharella   group (designated by van Nieukerken et al. 2016a), and the flagellata   group. The flagellata   group is designated here for the first time.

The diagnostics of the Glaucolepis flagellata   group are based on male and female genitalia characters. From all other Glaucolepis   , the group can be distinguished by the presence of a characteristically elaborated vaginal sclerite in the female genitalia. It also differs from all the Glaucolepis   (including the saccharella   group and the majority of the headleyella   group) by the extremely long semi-external rod-like sclerite (cornutus) of the phallus and the absence of androconial structures on wings. From the headleyella   group, the flagellata   group differs by the presence of a distinctive juxta in the male genitalia; from most species of the headleyella   group, usually by a larger vinculum and the absence of the so called “velvet patch” of raised androconial scales on the underside of male hindwing. From the raikhonae group, the flagellata   group differs by the apical spines near the phallotrema of the phallus in the male genitalia; from the saccharella   group it differs by the presence of CuA vein of the forewing, very elaborated bifid juxta in the male genitalia and reticulate signa in the female genitalia. So far the flagellata   group is known only from the southern (Patagonian) Andes.


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