Megalorhipida leucodactylus (Fabricius, 1794),

Matthews, Deborah L., Miller, Jacqueline Y., Simon, Mark J. & Goss, Gary J., 2019, Additions to the plume moth fauna of The Bahamas (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) with description of four new species, Insecta Mundi 708 (708), pp. 1-35: 8-9

publication ID

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Megalorhipida leucodactylus (Fabricius, 1794)


Megalorhipida leucodactylus (Fabricius, 1794) 

Fig. 9View Figures 2–9, 29a, bView Figures 29–32, 42View Figures 37–42

Diagnosis. Forewing cleft extending just beyond one-half wing length, lobes narrow with acute apices (without termen); ground color cinnamon-buff to pale clay with mixed ochraceous-tawny and pecan brown banding on lobes. Diffuse clusters of white scales flanking pecan brown band on first lobe. White, cinnamon-buff, ochraceous tawny, and fuscous spatulate scales forming clusters within lobe fringes. Hindwing vinaceous-brown, third lobe anal margin fringes interspersed with white scales and a minute fuscous scale patch one-third from lobe apex. Distinguished from related taxa by the distinctive oblique dorsal white, cinnamon-buff, and pecan brown banding pattern of the second and third abdominal segments ( Fig. 9View Figures 2–9). Male genitalia with quadrate valvae; tegumen reduced to a narrow band bearing enlarged lobe shaped uncus ( Fig. 29aView Figures 29–32). Female genitalia with small c-shaped antrum and short narrow ductus bursae; corpus bursae oval, with paired small dentate signa ( Fig. 42View Figures 37–42).

Pinned material examined. BAHAMAS: Crooked Island: Pittstown Point , 22.831211°, −74.348717°,, MJS, Michael Simon, at light (1 ♀)  ; same data except 7.vii.2015 (1 ♀)  ; Great   Exuma Island: vic. Hoopers Bay, Queens Hwy. , 23.530022°, −75.798092°, 27.v.2014, DLM, MJS, GJG, JYM, on Boerhavia  sp. (4 ♂, slide DM 2160, 2 ♀)  ; Mayaguana Island: Pirates Well, Baycaner Beach , 22.435833°, −73.102222°, 31.v–, MJS, GJG (1 ♂)  ; San Salvador Island: Gerace Research Centre , 24.118723°, −74.465246°, 23.vii.2015, DLM, TAL, on Boerhavia  (3 ♂, 3 ♀)  ; same data except 26.vii.2015 (2 ♂, 4 ♀, slide DM 2154)  .

Preserved material examined. BAHAMAS: Abaco: Central Abaco, Treasure Cay Marina , 26.674277°, −77.282622°, 2.xi.2014, DLM, fruits of Boerhavia  sp. (1 L)  ; Great   Exuma Island: vic. of Hoopers Bay, Queens Hwy. , 23.530022°, −75.798092°, 27.v.2014, DLM, MJS, GJG, JYM, on Boerhavia  sp. (1 LS, 1 P)  ; San Salvador Island: Gerace Research Centre , 24.117589°, −74.465207°, 22–26.vii.2015, DLM, TAL, on fruits of Boerhavia  sp. (15 L, 9 LS, 11 P)  ; South Andros Island: Kemp’s Bay Settlement, vicinity of Nathan’s Lodge , 24.019937°, −77.531602°, 31.iii.2014, DLM, JYM, MJS, RMR, on Boerhavia  fruits (3 L)  .

Life history. Larvae feed on species of Nyctaginaceae  , especially Boerhavia  L. ( Matthews and Lott 2005). In The Bahamas, larvae were found boring in the tiny unripe fruits of Boerhavia  growing in lawns and untended flower beds. Three species of Boerhavia  occur in The Bahamas, B. diffusa  L., B. coccinea Mill.  , and B. erecta  L. ( Correll and Correll 1982). Commicarpus scandens  (L.) Standl., a recently reported larval host in Cuba ( Matthews et al. 2019) is also widespread in The Bahamas (Correll and Corell 1982) but was not encountered during surveys.

Distribution. Pantropical, extending into southern temperate areas. In The Bahamas, the species has been collected on Abaco, Crooked, Exuma, Mayaguana, San Salvador, and South Andros islands.