Astrotischeria plagifera (Meyrick, 1915),

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: 49-55

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Astrotischeria plagifera (Meyrick, 1915)


Astrotischeria plagifera (Meyrick, 1915) 

( Figs. 15View FIGURES 11–15, 190–216View FIGURES 190–195View FIGURES 196–201View FIGURES 202–205View FIGURES 206–211View FIGURES 212–216, 233View FIGURE 233, 245–247View FIGURES 245–248)

Tischeria plagifera  MEyRICK, 1915: 246.

Astrotischeria plagifera  (MEyRICK); DIŠKUS & PUPLESIS (2003: 428).

Material examined. ECUADOR: 1 ♂ (lectotype), Huigra ( Parish ), elevation 1370 m,, genitalia slide no. 28677♂ (BMNH)  ; 4 ♂, 4 ♀ (paralectotypes), same label data as lectotype, genitalia slide nos 28678 ♂, 28679 ♀ ( BMNH); 9 ♂, 8 ♀ (not type material), 45 km S Loja, western environments of Vilcabamba, 4°17'42"S, 79°13'15"W, elevation 1950 m, mining larvae on Rhysolepis incana (Pers.) H. Rob. & A.J. Moore  ( Asteraceae  ), 23.i.2017, A. Diškus, genitalia slide nos AD 923♂, AD 942♀, AD 943♀ ( ZMUC).

Diagnosis. The species belongs to the Astrotischeria trilobata  group. The combination of a twisted apex of phallus, unique dorsal lobes of valva (see Fig. 15View FIGURES 11–15), distally furcate uncus in the male genitalia, and intense, multicolorous speckling of the forewing distinguishes A.plagifera  from all other Astrotischeria  , including other members of the A. trilobata  group. The fact that it feeds on Rhysolepis  also makes this species distinctive.

Male ( Figs. 190, 191, 193–195View FIGURES 190–195). Forewing length: 3.4–4.2 mm; wingspan: 7.5–8.9 mm. Head: face pale grey to whitish cream; palpi grey, annulated with blackish brown scales; frontal tuft glossy, comprised of wide, either pale ochre-brown lamellar scales with cream tips, or of ochre cream lamellar scales; collar comprised of slender, fuscous-tipped lamellar scales; pecten distinct, cream, annulated with blackish brown scales; antenna distinctly longer than half the length of forewing; flagellum pale grey, annulated with blackish brown scales; sensillae relatively short, rather indistinct. Thorax greyish cream, densely speckled with pale brownish grey scales; tegula densely covered with brownish grey or grey-black scales. Forewing densely speckled with scales of different color: predominantly pale brownish grey and dark brown-grey, also black and orangish ochre scales; the ochre scales mostly scattered in irregular, indistinct patches; fringe formed by brownish cream, piliform scales, annulated with dark grey or pale ochre; fringe-line distinctive, formed by brownish black scales (or indistinct in the holotype); forewing underside brown-grey to pale brown, except slender pale ochre edges; no androconia. Hindwing grey on both upper and underside, without androconia; fringe grey to ochre-grey. Legs brownish cream, on upper side densely covered with blackish brown scales with little purple iridescence. Abdomen glossy, grey to blackish brown with little purple iridescence on both upper and underside, sometime with areas of cream scales on underside; genital plates large, yellowish to brownish cream, contrasting with the collor of abdomen; anal tufts rather long, distinctive, brownish cream.

Female ( Fig. 192View FIGURES 190–195). Similar to male.

Male genitalia ( Figs. 15View FIGURES 11–15, 196–201View FIGURES 196–201). Capsule about 640 µm long, 315 µm wide. Uncus ( Figs. 196, 200View FIGURES 196–201) consisting of two distally furcate lateral lobes and one short, rounded median lobe ( Fig. 199View FIGURES 196–201). Valva divided ( Figs. 15View FIGURES 11–15, 196, 197View FIGURES 196–201): ventral lobe very slender ( Fig. 197View FIGURES 196–201), about 410 µm long (excluding basal process); dorsal lobe distally slender, with a transverse, lobe-like process ( Figs. 15View FIGURES 11–15, 196, 200View FIGURES 196–201); transtilla absent; basal process of valva long and slightly bent outwardly ( Fig. 199View FIGURES 196–201). Anellus mostly membranous, thickened only laterally ( Fig. 197View FIGURES 196–201), with a few setae on each side. Phallus ( Fig. 201View FIGURES 196–201) about 620 µm long, apically bifurcated and twisted ( Fig. 198View FIGURES 196–201), without spines.

Female genitalia ( Figs. 202–205View FIGURES 202–205). Total length 1425–1510 mm. Ovipositor small, clothed with short, stout and darker ‘peg setae’. One pair of prela unusually long ( Fig. 203View FIGURES 202–205). Ductus bursae slightly widened posteriorly, with scallop-like pectinations ( Fig. 202View FIGURES 202–205). Corpus bursae small, elongated ( Fig. 202View FIGURES 202–205), with indistinct pectination but without signum. Ductus spermathaecae with about 2–3 coils ( Fig. 202View FIGURES 202–205); utriculus absent or lost in slide preparation.

Bionomics ( Figs. 206–216View FIGURES 206–211View FIGURES 212–216). Host plant: Rhysolepis incana (Pers.) H. Rob. & A.J. Moore  , Asteraceae  ( Figs. 206–208, 210, 211View FIGURES 206–211). Mining larvae recorded from January. Leaf mine as an irregular blotch ( Figs. 209View FIGURES 206–211, 212–216View FIGURES 212–216), with black-brown frass or with very little frass but epidermis stained brown, therefore old leaf mine may look brown. Larva pale yellowish green to pale yellow, with dark brownish green intestine and brown head ( Figs. 213, 216View FIGURES 212–216). Adults known from February and June.

Distribution ( Fig. 233View FIGURE 233). Known from the Ecuadorian Andes at an elevation of about 1400–2000 m ( Figs. 245– 247View FIGURES 245–248).

Remarks. Originally, the species was described from a few specimens collected from Huigra (a mountainous locality E of Guayaquil, Ecuador) but the host plant remained unknown. Only after a century this species was found occurring in abundance in other Andean locality, in southern Ecuador ( Figs. 245–247View FIGURES 245–248), on distinctive, very brightly flovered plant of Rhysolepis  (formerly Viguiera  ).


Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen