Palpita flegia (Cramer, 1777),

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: 363

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.155309

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Palpita flegia (Cramer, 1777)


Palpita flegia (Cramer, 1777) 

Figs 40View Figs 33 - 40, 118View Figs 116 - 118, 164View Figs 163 - 167

Phalaena  Pyralis flegia Cramer, 1777: 66  -67.

Palpita flegia (Cramer)  : Roque-Albelo & Landry, 2015.

Material examined: 2 ♂, 1 ♀ from the Galápagos Islands: – Santa Cruz: [without precise locality]. Deposited in BMNH and CDRS.

Diagnosis: In the Galápagos this mostly satiny

white species ( Fig. 40View Figs 33 - 40) is only similar to Diaphania galapagensis  sp. n. ( Fig. 14View Figs 9 - 16). However, Palpita flegia  is larger, with a wingspan of up to 50 mm versus 30 mm in D. galapagensis  . Also, the forewing costa of P. flegia  is blue whereas that of D. galapagensis  is brown.

Biology: Guenée (1854) presumably recorded the first host plant of the larva as ‘ Cerbera  Thevetia  ’ [now Cascabela thevetia  (L.) Lippold, Apocynaceae  ]. He added that the larva lives within leaves attached with silk, eating the leaves and defoliating a plant in a few days. Robinson et al. (2014) cite two additional Apocynaceae  species as host plants. specimen in the CDRS bears a label with ‘# 167’ which refers to information in a notebook mentioning that from September onwards [until December] it is abundant in Puerto Ayora, feeding on a bush of family Anacardiaceae  , the pupa making a loose cocoon between leaves. Possibly Cascabela thevetia  (L.) Lippold, Yellow Oleander  , or Nerium oleander  L., Common Oleander  , or Allamanda cathartica  L., Golden Trumpet, represent the bush in question as all three Apocynaceae  are planted in the town of Puerto Ayora ( McMullen, 1999). But there are also four introduced, cultivated trees in the family Anacardiaceae  , such as Mangifera indica  L., the mango, that are likely to be found in Puerto Ayora (Jaramillo Díaz & Guézou, 2015).

Distribution: Based on specimens in the BMNH, this species is widespread in the Neotropical Region, including several of the Antilles, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, British Guiana, Suriname (type locality), Brazil, and Paraguay, while in the Nearctic Region it is found in the south-eastern US States of Alabama, Florida, and Texas ( Patterson et al., 2015). In the Galápagos it has been found so far only on Santa Cruz.

Remarks: The original description, its associated illustration (pl. 140 fig. D), as well as specimens identified in the BMNH were used to identify Galápagos specimens. Synonym Paradosis villosalis Zeller, 1852  , was described from Para ( Brazil) as mentioned in the original description and one of the type labels, contrary to Munroe’s (1995: 70) ‘ South Africa?’ record of type locality. The lectotype of Margarodes phantasmalis Guenée (1854)  , a synonym of P. flegia  , could not be found in the BMHN. This lectotype was designated by Munroe (1995: 170) from the syntype from Colombia; the other syntype, from Bengal, could not be found either.


Invertebrate Collection














Palpita flegia (Cramer, 1777)

Bernard Landry 2016

Pyralis flegia

Cramer 1777: 66