Aseptis torreyana Mustelin

Mustelin, Tomas, 2006, Taxonomy of southern California Erebidae and Noctuidae (Lepidoptera) with descriptions of twenty one new species, Zootaxa 1278, pp. 1-47: 29-30

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.273509

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Aseptis torreyana Mustelin


Aseptis torreyana Mustelin  , NEW SPECIES

Figs. 14View FIGURES 1 – 21, 44View FIGURES 40 – 63 a, and 44 b

Type material. Holotype: Male, Torrey Pines State Reserve, La Jolla, San Diego County, California, 21–24 April, 2005, N. Bloomfield. Paratypes: 1 male. San Diego County: Same data as holotype. Holotype deposited in SDNHM.

Etymology. The specific name refers to the type locality.

Diagnosis. Aseptis torreyana  is a smaller species Aseptis  , similar in size to A. susquesa  , A. monica  , A. serrula  and A. characta  . In maculation it most resembles A. serrula  , but it has a much paler ground color and a prominent discal spot on the hindwing, which is missing in serrula  . A. serrula  is a dark gray species with a black dusting. The pale ground color and finely outlines spots are somewhat similar to those in A. pausis  , which flies at the same time in the same locality. However, A. pauses  is considerable larger and has a prominent black basal dash on the forewing. In genitalic morphology, A. torreyana  resembles A. serrula  more than other species of Aseptis  . The valve shape is very similar to that of serrula  ( Fig. 45View FIGURES 40 – 63), and the everted vesica is essentially identical, but in torreyana  the valve is makes a more pronounced angle and the clasper (a fingerlike projection in the middle of the valve) is S­curved in torreyana  ( Fig. 44View FIGURES 40 – 63 a), while it is straight in serrula  . Importantly, serrula  is known only from the mountain­desert transition zone and deserts of southern California, while torreyana  is known only from the coastal salt marsh in La Jolla.

Description. Antenna filiform in male (female unknown); eye naked; palpus and frons covered with pale brownish gray hairs; patagium, tegula, and thorax covered with pale brownish­gray scales; thorax with raised scales on dorsal midline behind collar, two tufts near middle and one at caudal end of thorax; venter covered with pale gray hairs; legs dark brownish­gray paler at joints; abdomen pale brownish gray with raised scales dorsally on first 3­4 segments; venter concolorous with dorsum; forewing length: 12.5–13 mm; ground color pale buff with some brown scales; black basal dash; antemedial line absent; claviform spot outlined in thin black; orbicular spot round, outlined in black and filled with pale ground color, surrounded by more brown and gray scales; reniform spot large, outlined in thin black, filled with dark scales, particularly in lower end; postmedial line replaced by a few black dots on veins; subterminal area pale with a few brown dashes, leaving the area beyond the reniform spot pale; terminal line marked with dark chevrons between veins; fringe gray; ventral side pale buff; hindwing paler than forewing, veins dusted with brown, terminal line brown; fringe pale buff, prominent brown discal spot; ventral side similar to dorsal side, but veins with less dark and terminal line less prominent. Male genitalia ( Figs. 44View FIGURES 40 – 63 a and 44 b): Juxta oval; valve slightly S­curved, length 2.8 mm, width at middle 0.65 mm; cucullus rounded, clasper S­curved (straight in serrula  ), tip pointed dorsally, length 0.6 mm; aedeagus length 2.3 mm, width 0.45 mm, straight; everted vesica length 2.7 mm, width 1.0 mm, U­shaped, turning back towards aedeagus, tapered distally, with a 1.1 ­mm robust spine at distal end. Female genitalia: Unknown.

Distribution and habitat. This species was encountered during a survey of the moth fauna of the Torrey Pines State Reserve in coastal San Diego County. Because it was not captured during two long­term projects only a few miles away (i.e., Peñasquitos Canyon and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar), it appears that it is restricted to the coastal salt marsh habitat of the Torrey Pines State Reserve, where both specimens were collected in late April.


University of Newcastle


San Diego Natural History Museum