Astrotischeria heliopsisella (Chambers, 1875),

Jonas R. Stonis, Arūnas Diškus, Fernando Carvalho Filho & Owen T. Lewis, 2018, American Asteraceae-feeding Astrotischeria species with a highly modified, three-lobed valva in the male genitalia (Lepidoptera, Tischeriidae), Zootaxa 4469 (1), pp. 1-69: 55-57

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Astrotischeria heliopsisella (Chambers, 1875)


Astrotischeria heliopsisella (Chambers, 1875) 

( Figs. 217–224View FIGURES 217–224, 233View FIGURE 233)

Tischeria heliopsisella  CHAMbERS, 1875: 113.

Tischeria heliopsisella  CHAMbERS, in WALSINGHAM (1890: 325, 1891: 389); FORbES (1923: 147); BRAUN (1972: 75–77). Astrotischeria heliopsisella  (CHAMbERS); DIŠKUS & PUPLESIS (2003: 427).

Tischeria nolckenii  FREy & BOLL, 1876: 220, 1878: 257.

Material examined. 1 ♂, 2 ♀, USA, California, Mt. Shasta, Siskiyou, elevation about 1830 m, mining larva on Ambrosia  sp. ( Asteraceae  ), viii.1871, Lord Walshingham Collection, genitalia slide nos 28952 ♂, 28964 ♀ ( BMNH).

Diagnosis. The species belongs to the Astrotischeria trilobata  group. The combination of a very small second dorsal lobe of valva, unique phallus (see Fig. 221View FIGURES 217–224), and angular median lobes of uncus in the male genitalia distinguishes A. heliopsisella  from all other Astrotischeria  , including other members of the A. trilobata  group. The fact that it feeds on Ambrosia  and Heliopsis  also makes this species distinctive.

Male ( Fig. 217View FIGURES 217–224). Forewing length about 4.0 mm; wingspan about 8.6 mm. Head: face and palpi ochre cream; frontal tuft comprised of wide, cream lamellar scales and, centrally, slender lamellar pale brown scales; collar comprised of wide, white cream lamellar scales; antenna distinctly longer than half the length of forewing; flagellum ochre cream with some dark brown scales; sensillae long, distinctive. Thorax and tegula ochre cream, with a few pale brown scales; Forewing relatively wide, cream, sparsely speckled with pale brown, brown, black-brown and orange-yellow scales; the dark scales form irregular, oblique, stripe-like patches; fringe yellow-ochre on termen, pale brown on costa and tornus; fringe-line distinct; forewing underside brown, without androconia. Hindwing slender, pale brown (at certain angle of view grey) on both upper and underside, without androconia; fringe pale brown. Legs ochre cream, speckled with dark greybrown scales on upper side. Abdomen grey-brown on upper side, brownish cream on underside; anal tuft distinct, brownish cream, comprised of piliform and, laterally, slender lamellar scales.

Female. Similar to male.

Male genitalia ( Figs. 218–224View FIGURES 217–224). Capsule about 660 µm long, 250–280 µm wide. Uncus consisting of two long lateral lobes and very short, angular median lobes ( Fig. 218View FIGURES 217–224). Valva divided ( Figs. 222, 223View FIGURES 217–224): ventral lobe slender and straight ( Figs. 219, 220View FIGURES 217–224), about 370–390 µm long, 60 µm wide; dorsal lobe very large, curved inwardly ( Figs. 219, 220View FIGURES 217–224), with a short, lobe-like outgrow ( Figs. 222, 223View FIGURES 217–224); transtilla absent; basal process of valva relatively short ( Figs. 219, 222View FIGURES 217–224). Anellus weakly developed, indistinct in slide no. 28952 ( BMNH), but well-developed and illustrated in Braun 1972: Fig. 92View FIGURES 89–92. Phallus ( Figs. 221, 224View FIGURES 217–224) about 400 µm long, distally widely bifurcated, without spines ( Fig. 221View FIGURES 217–224).

Female genitalia. Illustrated in Braun (1972: Fig. 138View FIGURES 137–144).

Bionomics. Host plants: Heliopsis helianthoides  (L.) Sweet, Ambrosia  spp. (including A. trifida  L.) ( Asteraceae  ). Leaf mine blotch-like (illustrated in Braun 1972: Fig. 48View FIGURES 46–50). Larvae of the earlier generation mine in June, later generation in late August—early September; adults known from late March –May and June – August (Braun 1972).

Distribution ( Fig. 233View FIGURE 233). The species occurs in USA (Ohio, New Jersey, Kentucky, Texas, California) (see Remarks).

Remarks. In this paper, we add a new distribution record for A. heliopsisella  in mountainous East Coast of the USA ( Fig. 233View FIGURE 233) on the basis of our studied and illustrated specimen from California ( Figs. 218–224View FIGURES 217–224), reared on Ambrosia  . The studied specimen (slide no. 28952 BMNH) slightly differs from the A. Braun’s drawing of the specimen from Ohio (Braun 1972: Fig. 92View FIGURES 89–92), also reared also on Ambrosia  , in the wider apical lobes of phallus, wider dorsal lobe of valva, shape of median lobes of uncus, and the basally slender valva (unfortunately, anellus is missing in slide no. 28952, therefore it is not possible to compare it with A. Braun’s drawing). We assume that these differences are probably a result of different illustration techniques, or possibly also geographical variation in the genitalia. At this stage of knowledge we refrain from describing a new species and, therefore, treat A. heliopsisella  as a slightly variable species distributed across the USA, from the East Coast to the mountains of California.