Triskelionia tricerata , Larsen, Torben B. & Congdon, Colin E., 2011

Larsen, Torben B. & Congdon, Colin E., 2011, Triskelionia, a new African genus of the Celaenorrhinini (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) and the promotion of T. compacta to species-status., Zootaxa 2931, pp. 53-58: 54

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Triskelionia tricerata

comb. nov.

Triskelionia tricerata  comb. nov.

The genus is defined by T. tricerata  , the type species, and is characterized by a number of features that unite the two species, while differentiating them from other genera in the Celaenorrhinini  tribe:

a) as already mentioned by Evans (1937) the palps are longer and the antennal club more arcuate than in Sarangesa  , “approaching Calleagris  ”.

b) the three-pronged spot in the forewing cell is different from all other Celaenorrhinini  (slightly similar in S. seineri  which has very different genitalia).

c) the wing shape, especially of tricerata  , is closer to that of Eretis  than to Sarangesa  .

d) the male genitalia are very different from any Sarangesa  and show affinity with some sections of Celaenorrhinus  . The uncus is small and pointed, without lateral side branches. The very large gnathos consists of two fully fused branches, forming an almost box-like structure, the external surfaces of which are finely ribbed and spined. It is proportionately larger than in any Celaenorrhinus  ; no Sarangesa  or Eretis  has this type of structure; at most the gnathos is composed of narrow branches that do not fuse. The vinculum continues narrowly to fuse basally rather than forming a regular, solid saccus. The shape and proportion of the penis is very different from Celaenorrhinus  .

e) the pupa has no free proboscis-sheath as is the case in all known Sarangesa  and Eretis  , and which is very long in Celaenorrhinus  , extending well beyond the end of the abdomen.

f) the larval host-plant is a member of the Fabaceae  , not known as host-plant for any other African member of the Celaenorrhinini  , although used by Calleagris jamesoni  in the tribe Tagiadini  and many species in the Odontoptilina (which should receive full status as a tribe and is very distant from Triskelionia  and other Celaenorrhinini  ).

We attach special importance to the following characters: the longer palps; the large fully-fused gnathos structure; the lack of a free proboscis sheath in the pupa; and the use of Fabaceae  as host-plant. None of these characters is found in any of the Sarangesa  ; each is certainly independent of any of the other characters. The simultaneous presence of four such characters is not compatible with retaining the species in Sarangesa  .

Etymology. The genus name Triskelionia  refers to the unique, conjoined three-pronged shape (from Greek ρισκέλιον) of the fused spots in the forewing cell of the two species included in the genus (triskelion is colloquially called the “three-legged cross” in Britain). This ancient symbol was common on Mycenaean pottery from where it entered modern heraldry. It is used in the flags or seals of several modern territories or institutions, including the Isle of Man and Ingushetia. It is also the symbol of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and is in use by the US Department of Transportation. Triskelion was preoccupied by a genus of extinct Eocene flagellate Protozoa in the order Ebriida; however, the name seemed so descriptive that a modification of triskelion seemed appropriate.