Coccophila pythes ( Druce, 1899 ) Druce, 1899

Bartsch, Daniel, 2015, New taxa of southern African Sesiini (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae), Zootaxa 3956 (3), pp. 428-436 : 433-435

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Coccophila pythes ( Druce, 1899 )

new comb.

Coccophila pythes ( Druce, 1899) new comb.

Figs. 8 –14 View FIGURES 8 – 13 View FIGURE 14 , 16 View FIGURES 15 – 16

Aegeria pythes Druce 1899: 204 .

Paranthrene pythes: Hampson 1919: 110 ; Dalla Torre & Strand 1925: 162; Gaede 1929: 534; Heppner & Duckworth 1981: 24; Pühringer & Kallies 2004: 20.

Homogyna pythes: Bartsch 2008: 279 .

Specimens examined. Syntype. ♀ ( Fig. 8 View FIGURES 8 – 13 ) South Africa, Bedford, M. Weal leg. ( BMNH). Additional specimens. 5 ♂, 1 ♀, Johannesburg, 1 Nov 1951, A.L. Capener (1 ♂, gen. prep. Bartsch 2009 – 16, Fig. 12 View FIGURES 8 – 13 ); 2 ♂, Malwern, Johannesburg, 3 Nov 1951, A. Capener; 2 ♂, id. 28 Oct 1950; 2 ♂, 1 ♀, id., 1 Nov 1950; 1 ♂, id., 11 Nov 1950; 1 ♂, Nelspruit, Nov 1917, H.G. Breijer; 1 ♂, Weenen, Nov 1903, G. Burn; 1 ♀, Pretoria (Willows), Nov 1941, H.K. Munro (gen. prep. Bartsch 2009 – 17, Fig. 13 View FIGURES 8 – 13 ); 1 ♂, 1 ♀, Rustenburg, 26 Nov 1947, A. Capener; 1 ♀, S.

Rhodesia, Hunyani River [Manyame (Panhame) River, Zimbabwe], 26 Dec 1913; 7 ♂, 1 ♀, The Haven, Transkei, 1 Oct 1983, N.J. Duke ( TMPS); 1 ♀, Johannesburg, Dec 1953, A.L. Capener ( NMKE); 1 ♀, South Africa, Free State Province, W Sasolburg, near Vaal river, 26 ° 46 ’ 49 ’’S, 27 ° 47 ’ 32 ’’E, 1445 m, 9 Dec 2007, D. Bartsch & D. Kroon leg. ( SMNS).

No information regarding the number of types was given in the original description of Coccophila pythes . Only one female syntype from Bedford, South Africa has been found in the BMNH. The designation of a lectotype seems unnecessary.

Redescription ( Figs 8–11 View FIGURES 8 – 13 ). Head: Labial palpus yellowish brown, colour more pure in female, dorsally and ventrally densely mixed with dark brown; frons dark grey, laterally with some orange-red, and pale yellowish, hairlike scales; vertex and pericephalic scales black, individually mottled with white and dark reddish-brown scales; antenna 5.5 –6.0 mm, dark reddish brown, densely covered with dorsally black, laterally yellowish-white scales, scapus ventrally black, with a few white, hair-like scales. Thorax: Dark grey, dorsally blackish-grey, inclusive patagia densely mottled with short, cranially whitish, caudally reddish-brown, hair-like scales; dorso-lateral scale tufts of metathorax pale grey, basally reddish-brown, laterally whitish; legs dark brownish grey individually mixed with ochreous- and reddish-brown scales; foreleg densely mixed with short, hair-like, proximally ochreous-brown, distally reddish-brown scales, fore tibia and tarsus ventrally and interiorly pale yellow; ventral, hair-like scales of fore- and mid femur yellowish-white, of hind femur whitish; raised scales of mid tibia mixed reddish-brown and black, of hind tibia mixed ochreous- and reddish-brown, proximally mixed with black, interior scale tuft pale yellow; tarsus of all legs interiorly ochreous-yellow. Wingspan 18–21 mm; forewing length 8–10 mm; forewing opaque, dark brownish-grey, scarcely mottled with ochreous- and reddish-brown scales, proximally and distally of discal spot somewhat yellowish brightened; discal spot round, black with some reddish-brown scales, underside densely covered with orange-red scales, discal spot and apical area darker. Hindwing hyaline, margins broad, veins and margins dark grey, discal spot and costal margin orange-yellow. Fringes of all wings dark grey, yellow at anal margin of hindwing. Abdomen: Blackish-grey; tergites mottled with reddish-brown and white scales; raised scales of second and third abdominal tergite dark reddish-brown; tergite 4 antero-laterally with yellowish-white spot in male, anterior margin completely yellowish-white in female; sternites dark grey, densely mixed with ochreousbrown; anal tuft dorsally reddish-brown, dorso-lateral scales with yellowish-white tip, ventrally dark grey densely mixed with reddish-brown. Genitalia as described for genus.

Variation. The reddish-brown colouration of forewing and hind tibia can be lost in older and worn specimens. A poorly preserved, unusually dark female from South Africa, Eastern Cape Province, 30 km east of Lady Grey, identified as Homogyna sp. and mentioned as closely related to C. pythes by Freina (2011) may belong here. The genitalia structure of this specimen agrees well with typical C. pythes , but it differs from fresh specimens by the dark greyish not brownish colouration, the broader hindwing margins, the lack of yellow scales of the anal tuft, and the medially pale ocherous-brown not reddish-brown hind tibia. Some of these features may have been caused by bleaching and the loss of scales. It cannot be ruled out that this specimen represents a sister species of C. pythes .

Bionomics and Habitat. Adults were observed in November-December flying rapidly around the crown or resting on foliage of shrubs and small trees of Diospyros lycioides ( Ebenaceae ), which is the host plant of the larva. According to Kroon (pers. comm.) along with its host plant the moth is often found in gardens. The larva is a fruit borer, feeding only a few weeks in the verdant fruit. Fully grown the larva leaves the now brownish, withered fruit and bores into the soil where pupation takes place in a small cocoon constructed from sand, earth and silk (leg. Vari in TMPS).

Diagnosis. Coccophila pythes is similar to some species of Hagnogyna Bartsch, 2013 ( Sesiini ) and Homogyna ( Osminiini ). See genus diagnosis.


National Museum of Kenya


Staatliches Museum fuer Naturkund Stuttgart














Coccophila pythes ( Druce, 1899 )

Bartsch, Daniel 2015

Homogyna pythes:

Bartsch 2008: 279

Paranthrene pythes:

Puhringer 2004: 20
Heppner 1981: 24
Gaede 1929: 534
Dalla 1925: 162
Hampson 1919: 110

Aegeria pythes

Druce 1899: 204