Liocrobyla desmodiella Kuroko, 1982

Liu, Tengteng, Wang, Encui & Wang, Shuxia, 2018, Taxonomic study of the leafmining genus Liocrobyla Meyrick, 1916 from China (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae, Ornixolinae) with a description of one new species, Zoosystematics and Evolution 2, pp. 305-314: 305

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Liocrobyla desmodiella Kuroko, 1982


Liocrobyla desmodiella Kuroko, 1982  Figures 1, 5, 8, 11and 13-17

Liocrobyla paraschista  Meyrick: Kuroko, 1960: 2. Misidentification.

Liocrobyla desmodiella  Kuroko, 1982: 185; Ermolaev 1987: 370; Bai and Li 2011: 480. TL: Japan (Kyushu). TD: ELKU.


This species resembles Liocrobyla lobata  Kuroko, 1960 in the general appearance of the forewing patterns, but can be distinguished by the blackish-grey forewing ground colour, which is brownish-grey in L. lobata  . In the male genitalia, this species can be separated by the valva having a remarkable concavity at distal 1/4 and bearing a small ventro-apical hook; in L. lobata  , the valva is almost parallel-sided and bears straight spines. The ninth tergite of the male L. desmodiella  bears a pair of sclerotized lines originated from the middle of the posterior margin, which is absent in L. lobata  .

Material examined.

China: Tianjin: 3♂, 1♀, Mt. Baxian, Ji County, 40.180°N, 117.550°E, 400 m,, leaf mines collected on Lespedeza bicolor  , emerged 2014.vii.09, leg. Tengteng Liu, genitalia slide nos. LTT12611♂, LTT12612♀ ( NKU).

Adult (Fig. 1). Forewing length 3.0-3.5 mm. Head white on frons and face, with a tuft of black scales at base of antenna, vertex white with a black median line. Maxillary palpus black, about 1/3 length of labial palpus. Labial palpus white, black on distal part of second segment, with a mid-ventral black spot on third segment. Antennae black on scape, yellowish-fuscous and with black rings on other segments. Thorax yellowish-fuscous, tegula blackish grey. Forewing ground colour blackish grey, a greyish-fuscous stripe from costal 1/3 to 1/2, then curved downwards by white colour to near distal end of cell; two white stripes on distal 1/3 and 2/5 on costa obliquely to middle of wing; two longitudinal striae near apex, two longer striae near lower angle of cell; an yellowish-fuscous stripe along dorsum from base to tornus, with three to four black spots above; cilia white with two black lines around apex, dark grey on dorsum. Abdomen: blackish grey dorsally, white ventrally.

The forewing pattern of the specimens reared from Lespedeza bicolor  is congruent to the Japanese specimens reared from L. cyrtobotrya  ( Kuroko 1960).

Male genitalia (Figs 5 and 8). Tegumen narrowed towards apex, with distal 1/6 triangular. Vinculum with a small round protrusion anteriorly. Valva concave at distal 1/4 and bearing a small ventro-apical hook and some 12 smaller teeth below. Phallus shorter than valva. The ninth tergite more or less semicircular, having paired sclerotized lines originated from the middle of the posterior margin.

Female genitalia (Fig. 11). Seventh sternite sharply projected postero-laterally, thus U-shaped on posterior margin. Antrum sclerotized short tube. Ductus bursae membranous, densely covered with granules on inner wall, about twice the length of antrum; ductus seminalis originated from ductus bursae near antrum, covered with dense teeth on opening, a sclerotized line extending from ductus bursae to ductus seminalis then curved back to near its beginning. Corpus bursae a membranous bag, about twice the length of ductus bursae.

Biology (Figs 13-17). The larval behaviour in the mine on L. bicolor  is similar to that on L. cyrtobotrya  as described by Kuroko (1960). Leaf mines placed on upper side of leaflet and stretched across midrib; a black tunnel made of silk and frass aside midrib from upper to lower side of leaflet, covered by dry leaflet epidermis on lower side opening. One mine per leaflet.

Host plants.

Host plants. Fabaceae  : Lespedeza bicolor  Turcz. in China, new record; L. cyrtobotrya  Miq., Desmodium oldhamii  Oliv., Ohwia caudata  (Thunb.) H. Ohashi and Hylodesmum podocarpum subsp. oxyphyllum  (DC.) H. Ohashi & R.R. Mill in Japan ( Kuroko 1960, The Plant List 2013; see remarks for the nomenclature changes of the host plants).


China: Tianjin (new record); Sichuan and Zhejiang ( Bai and Li 2011), Japan ( Kuroko 1982), Russia Far East ( Ermolaev 1987).


The host plant Lespedeza bicolor  was newly recorded for this species. Kuroko (1982) stated in Japanese that the species identified as Liocrobyla paraschista  Meyrick, 1916 in Kuroko (1960) was a misidentification and he named it as a new species, L. desmodiella  Kuroko, 1982. Because of the misidentification of the moth, the host plants recorded in Japan, L. cyrtobotrya  , D. oldhamii  , Desmodium racemosum  (Thunb.) DC. and D. caudatum  (Thunb.) DC., originally associated with Liocrobyla paraschista  by Kuroko (1960), are actually belonging to L. desmodiella  . Ermolaev (1987) recorded L. desmodiella  in the Russian Far East but just followed Kuroko (1960) by listing its host plants, thus the host plants of this species in Russia are still of uncertainty. Moreover, D. racemosum  and D. caudatum  have been treated as synonyms of Hylodesmum podocarpum subsp. oxyphyllum  and Ohwia caudata  in The Plant List (2013), respectively.