Samea inconspicuella, Bernard Landry, 2016

Bernard Landry, 2016, Taxonomic revision of the Spilomelinae (Lepidoptera, Pyralidae s. l.) of the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, Revue suisse de Zoologie 123 (2), pp. 315-399: 377-381

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.155309

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scientific name

Samea inconspicuella

sp. n.

Samea inconspicuella  sp. n.

Figs 57, 58View Figs 57 - 64, 88View Figs 81 - 91, 127View Figs 125 - 127, 173View Figs 173 - 177

Material examined

Holotype: ♂, ‘ ECUADOR [sideways on left side] | GALÁPAGOS | San Cristóbal | pampa zone | 18.II.1989, M[ercury]V[apour]L[ight] | [legit] B. Landry’; ‘genitalia slide | PYR 367 ♂’; ‘ Samea  sp. | Det. B. Landry, 19’; ‘ Samea  | n. sp. | Det. M.. Solis’; ‘HOLOTYPE | Samea  | inconspicuella  | B. Landry’. Deposited in CNC. 

Paratypes: 11 ♀ from the Galápagos Islands. – San Cristóbal: 2 ♀ (partly eaten by ants, without abdomen), La Toma, ca. 6.5 km east El Progreso, GPS: 299 m elev[ation]., S 00° 55.356’, W 89° 31.089’, 23.ii.2005, u[ltra]v[iolet]l[ight] (B. Landry). – Santa Cruz: 1 ♀, NNW Bella Vista, GPS: 225 m elev., S 00° 41.293’, W 90° 19.665’, 18.ii.2005, uvl (B. Landry, P. Schmitz); 2 ♀ (1 dissected, slide MHNG-ENTO-8964), C[harles] D[arwin]R[esearch]S[tation], Barranco, 20 m elev., 30.iv.2002, uvl (B. Landry); 1 ♀ (dissected, slide MHNG- ENTO-8962), Los Gemelos, 4.v.2002, uvl (B. Landry); 2 ♀, Indefatigable, ix.1969, Ref.. L. 120 (R. Perry, Tj. De Vries; B.M. 1969-693). – Santiago: 1 ♀, N side, GPS: 527 m elev., S 00° 13.690°, W 90° 44.135’, 5.iii.2005, uvl (P. Schmitz); 2 ♀ (one dissected, slide MHNG- ENTO-8705), close to Caseta, NE side, GPS: 686 m elev., S 00° 14.177’, W 090° 44.619’, 6.iii.2005, uvl (P. Schmitz). Deposited in BMNH, CDRS, and MHNG.

Other specimens: 2 ♀, one with label ‘120’ referring to notebook entry ‘Sta Cruz, CDRS, 16 Sept., Nov., Jan.’. Deposited in CDRS.

Diagnosis: The short forewing (maximum 8 mm long), the generally ‘washed-out’ ground colour, and the reduced forewing markings postmedially, with only a pair of short vertical dashes below costa between 2/3 and 3/4 wing length, will separate this new species from the other species of Samea  externally. The closest species in terms of size (wingspan: 7-9 mm) and genitalia morphology is Samea multiplicalis (Guenée)  (see Hayden, 2014, fig. 3). However, Samea inconspicuella  ( Figs 57, 58View Figs 57 - 64) is a darker moth than S. multiplicalis  ; its paler forewing markings are less conspicuous and in both wings the darker region along the outer margin is wider. In male genitalia ( Fig. 127View Figs 125 - 127) the uncus of S. multiplicalis  is longer and thinner, the ratio of the length of the uncus over the largest width of the valva being about 0.8 compared to 0.63. In female genitalia, the most conspicuous diagnostic character is the length of the lateral extension at the base of the ductus bursae, short and wide in S. inconspicuella  ( Fig. 173View Figs 173 - 177), about twice as long and narrow in S. multiplicalis  . Samea alophalis Hampson  and S. druchachalis Dyar  , are also small species, but the former has contrasting satiny white forewing markings, including along the postmedian line as in S. coffea  sp. n., but even more prominent, especially in the median and cubital sectors on the outside of the postmedian line. Samea druchachalis  also has more numerous and distinct white markings, touching dorsum medially and touching costa postmedially, and a distinctly checkered white and brown fringe.

Etymology: Named for the diminutive size and inconspicuous forewing markings.

Description: Male (n=1) ( Fig. 57View Figs 57 - 64). Head: frons flat with short appressed scales dark greyish brown, with few short white scales appressed along eye margin next to antenna and erect behind ocellus, scales behind eye short and greyish brown, on occiput laterally thin, chestnut brown and projecting dorsomedially, on occiput medially at base white, short, projecting anteriorly, and on vertex narrow, greyish brown, projecting anteriorly between antennae; antenna filiform, with ciliation about as long as 1/3 width of flagellomeres, with vestiture light greyish brown; maxillary palpus short, barely projecting anteriorly to level of frons, with scales dark greyish brown on apical segment, white at base; labial palpus porrect, short, barely reaching beyond frons, vestiture shortly fan shaped on palpomeres I and II, predominantly white on first and second palpomeres, with chestnut brown and greyish brown scales, with third segment short, hardly distinct from second palpomere, pale greyish brown; haustellum with vestiture white and pale greyish brown. Thorax dorsally with paler-based scales of various shades of greyish brown, darker at base of tegulae and laterally on collar, white at apex medially on mesoscutellum and laterally on metascutum. Apex of thorax laterally, next to metathoracic tergite with pouch of protruding bunch of dark greyish brown hair-like scales extending to apex of coxa. Foreleg coxa greyish brown, paler at apex, white at base; femur dark brown, with some paler scales medially and apically; tibia dark greyish brown with white apically, longer scales covering epiphysis greyish brown with apices dirty white; tarsomeres dirty cream with some light greyish brown especially at bases of second to fourth. Midleg femur dirty cream with dark greyish brown patches submedially and postmedially; tibia dirty cream with greyish brown postmedially and subapically, spurs dirty cream with light greyish brown dorsally; tarsomeres dirty cream with light greyish brown especially at their bases. Hindleg as midleg although generally more dirty white than cream. Forewing length: 6.5 mm (holotype) (wingspan: 9.0 mm). Wing vestiture greyish brown with darker brown scales around pale forewing markings as shown ( Fig. 57View Figs 57 - 64). Segment VIII with sclerotization pattern as shown ( Fig. 88View Figs 81 - 91).

Male genitalia (n=1) ( Fig. 127View Figs 125 - 127). Uncus a simple narrow shaft about twice as long as tegumen along dorsal midline, weakly sclerotized, slightly down curved, with few short setae ventrally, without dorsal spines or apical bisection. Subscaphium lightly sclerotized, reaching just beyond apex of uncus. Tegumen dorsally short along midline, with X-shaped dorsal support structure, laterally expanded, with deeply concave basal margin. Transtilla a pair of broad, rounded plates connected by narrow bridge. Valva broad, rounded, dorsally more thickly sclerotized along all of margin, ventrally with broad, rectangular sclerotized base, medially with short, thickly sclerotized support structure prolonged by strong, sickle-shaped fibula. Phallus simple, straight, mostly unsclerotized to weakly sclerotized along ventral margin toward apex and laterally between 3/5 and 4/5 of length, about 0.8X length of valva; vesica with single long cornutus about 2/5 length of shaft, apically recurved and with 3 or more points.

Female (n=13) ( Fig. 58View Figs 57 - 64): Antenna filiform with ciliation about as long as 1/4 width of corresponding flagellomeres. Forewing length: 6.5-8.0 mm (wingspan: 9.0- 11.5 mm). Abdomen dorsally pale dirty cream to darker greyish brown with white apical margin on tergites I-VI; laterally sometimes with thin lateral line visible from below; ventrally white to pale cream toward apex, sometimes with greyish brown scales medially on some sternites beginning with third.

Female genitalia (n=3) ( Fig. 173View Figs 173 - 177). Papillae anales of medium length, shaped like rugby ball, width about 1.6X length, not connected dorsally; sclerotized basal margin narrow, of equal length and shape on both sides of apophyses; posterior apophyses about twice as long as width of papillae anales, straight, without noticeable enlargement. Segment VIII long with tergum narrowing slightly to base of apophyses, then narrowing also ventrad of base of apophyses to about 2/5 dorsal length, with short setation homogenously placed on whole tergal surface, unsclerotized along midline except for narrow anterior band; without sclerotization of membrane ventrally; anterior apophyses barely subequal in length to posterior apophyses, thicker, with distinct enlargement subbasally. Intersegmental membrane posterodorsally from ostium bursae set with short, narrow scales. Ductus bursae with colliculum about 10% of length of whole ductus bursae, well sclerotized, cup-shaped, followed by indistinctly shaped section of same length but less thickly sclerotized and ridged, with third section mostly membranous but ridged at base, scobinated, and with lateral rounded enlargement sporting inception of ductus seminalis; distal 3/5th before corpus bursae of medium girth without conspicuous modifications of the membrane. Corpus bursae circular, half as long as ductus bursae and without modifications of membrane.

Biology: Unknown except for the habitats of the specimens collected which span from the low arid zone to the highest, pampa zone, and the collecting months, from January to May, as well as September and November.

Distribution: Galápagos endemic found so far on the islands of San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, and Santiago.

Remarks: The unique male specimen available was dissected before the colour of the abdominal vestiture and some structures of the genitalia, such as the gnathos and juxta, could be documented. The simple, digitlike male uncus differs conspicuously from the bifid and apicolaterally spiny uncus of Samea ecclesialis Guenée  ( Fig. 137View Figs 136 - 137), the type species of the genus, S. castellalis Guenée  ( Fig. 125View Figs 125 - 127), and S. coffea  sp. n. ( Fig. 126View Figs 125 - 127). Perhaps this divergence would warrant a different generic association for this species, but a revision of the whole genus and related taxa would be necessary to arrive at a meaningful conclusion. Samea multiplicalis  is reputed to occur worldwide and its larva is known to feed on aquatic plants of the genera Azolla  ( Azollaceae  ), Eichhornia  ( Pontederiaceae  ), and Salvinia  ( Salviniaceae  ) ( Robinson et al., 2014). Both the former and latter genera occur in the Galápagos (Jaramillo Díaz & Guézou, 2015) and would be the first to check for potential hosts to S. inconspicuella  .


Canada, Ontario, Ottawa, Canadian National Collection of Insects


Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes


Invertebrate Collection


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle