Eupithecia gypsophilata Skou, Mironov, Rietz

Skou, Peder, Mironov, Vladimir & Rietz, Hartmut, 2017, Eupithecia gypsophilata, a new species in the graphata species group of the genus Eupithecia Curtis (Lepidoptera, Geometridae, Larentiinae), Zootaxa 4272 (2), pp. 291-295: 291-295

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Eupithecia gypsophilata Skou, Mironov, Rietz

sp. n.

Eupithecia gypsophilata Skou, Mironov, Rietz  , sp. n.

Misidentification: Eupithecia gemellata Mironov, 2003  (nec Herrich-Schäffer, 1861), The Geometrid Moths of Europe 4: pl. 10, figs 90e, 90f.

Description. Wingspan 15.0–17.0 mm; fore wing 8.5–9.0 mm. Labial palpi short, equal to diameter of eye, covered with

mixture of pale and dark grey scales. Frons covered with pale and dark grey scales and with transverse blackish or dark

grey frontal band. Vertex and notum pale grey with scattered dark grey scales. Fore wing narrow, elongate, with almost

straight costal margin, slightly curved near apex; slightly curved terminal margin and narrowly rounded apex; ground

colour ash-grey; basal, postbasal and antemedial transverse lines oblique, straight, sharply angled onto costa; postmedial

line also oblique, straight but evenly curved onto costa; light, whitish medial transverse band distinct, oblique, straight,

sharply angled near costa and touching discal dot; terminal area with light apical streak and more or less distinct whitish

wavy subterminal line; discal dot small, black, usually rounded. Hind wing ovate, pale ash-grey; fine, numerous

transverse lines usually very distinct, evenly curved; basal area slightly darker; terminal area narrow; light wavy

subterminal line inconspicuous; discal dot small, rounded, paler than on the fore wing. Fringe on all wings chequered

pale and dark grey. Abdomen pale grey with scattered dark grey scales ( figs. 1–4View FIGURES 1 – 8).

Male genitalia ( fig. 9View FIGURES 9 – 12). Uncus relatively short, biapical. Valve shaped like an orange segment, narrowed to apex; sacculus lightly sclerotized. Vinculum rather short and narrow. Papillae on the anterior arms of labides medium sized, covered with short setae. Aedeagus shorter than length of valve. Vesica armed with patch of spinules and one elongate, flat, folded, U-shaped cornutus at ductus ejaculatorius base. Sternite A8 peg-like, small, relatively short, broadened basally; its basal hollow shallow and apical hollow not present.

Female genitalia ( fig. 11View FIGURES 9 – 12). Bursa copulatrix elongate, pouch-like, more than half covered with uniform spines in basal part and obliquely up the side, with a row of spines between base of ductus seminalis and colliculum. Ductus bursae sclerotized, short, tapered to colliculum. Ductus seminalis slightly broadened in basal part, curved backward. Colliculum collar-like, relatively short and narrow. Antrum short, lightly sclerotized. Tergite A8 short and broad, trapeziform. Anterior and posterior apophyses rather short and narrow. Papillae anales short, wide, rounded, covered with short setae.

Distribution and abundance. Eupithecia gypsophilata  is so far only known from Spain, and is most likely an Iberian endemic. The known distribution closely follows the distribution of the supposed main food plant Gypsophila struthium Loefl. The  adult moths are mainly found in relatively limited numbers. In the distribution map only the records verified by us as E. gypsophilata  are shown. Examination of material throughout E. gemellata  ’s distribution area (including material near its type locality in Engadin Switzerland and Tyrol, Austria) supports the hypothesis, that all Spanish records of E. gemellata  are E. gypsophilata  and that E. gemellata  apparently does not exist in the Iberian Peninsula. Examination of material in NHM support also this view: two E. gypsophilata  specimens from Spain were found in the collection (A. Galsworthy, pers. comm.).

Phenology. We have recorded the species from late June, early, mid- and late July, early and mid-August, early, mid- and late September and from early and mid-October. For true E. gemellata  (outside the Iberian Peninsula) we have recorded a flying time from late May through June and July to early August with a few single specimen records in early May, late August, mid-September and early October. Larvae of E. gypsophilata  have been found in late September and early October (Rietz pers. obs.) and from mid-September to early November (recorded as E. gemellata  ) ( King & Viejo Montesinos 2010). The long flying time could indicate two generations. The adult moths fly at night when they are attracted to light.

Habitat. In steppe areas on gypsiferous soil at altitudes from 175 to 1000 m, according to Redondo et al. (2009) up to 1800 m (as E. gemellata  ), see also fig. 13View FIGURE 13.

Biology. Larva oligophagous. We have recorded several caterpillars on Gypsophila struthium Loefl.  (H. Rietz pers. obs.) near Baza in Granada province in southern Spain. King & Viejo Montesinos (2010) have also found larvae of this taxon (treated as E. gemellata  ), 83.3% of them on Gypsophila struthium  and 16.7% on Limonium dichotomum  . We list here only verified food-plant records. The literature records must be checked against these new findings.

Diagnosis. Externally E. gypsophilata  sp. n. is somewhat similar to E. gemellata Herrich-Schäffer, 1861  ( figs. 5–8View FIGURES 1 – 8), the only species with which it has been be confused so far. E. gypsophilata  has a very distinct fine, narrow, whitish or light greyish medial line, which is sharply angled onto costa beyond the discal dot (in true E. gemellata  the medial line is considerably darker and indistinct); all transverse lines on the forewing oblique, almost straight (in true E. gemellata  lines are more curved); postmedial line also oblique, straight (in true E. gemellata  forming two angles in the anterior part of the forewing). The overall impression is, that the transverse lines antemedial to medial run almost straight and parallel and rather close to together in E. gypsophilata  , whereas they appear always to be rather wawy in the posterior half of the wing and not obviously parallel in E. gemellata  . Also, E. gypsophilata  has a pale streak or blotch in the forewing apex, which is missing in E. gemellata  .

Hindwing with more distinct, transverse lines and less visible discal dot than those in E. gemellata  . No clear differences are apparent in the structures of the male and female genitalia between E. gypsophilata  and E. gemellata  ( figs. 9–12View FIGURES 9 – 12).

DNA data. BIN: BOLD: AAC9936. Genetically very homogenous (n = 4, all from southern Spain; maximum variation 0.0%). Nearest species: E. gemellata Herrich-Schäffer, 1861  (as Eupithecia novata Dietze, 1904  ) from Turkey (3.3% minimum pairwise distance), genetically more diverging from E. gemellata  from Italy, Croatia and Greece (7.5% minimum pairwise distance).

Material. Holotype: ♂, Spain, Prov. Huesca, 2 km W Peñalba , 300 m, 28. vii. 1991, B. Skule leg. (coll. P. Skou) (Holotype)  . Paratypes: 4 ♀♀, Hispania c., Montarco (prope Madrid), vi. 1916, leg. Lauffer (coll. ZSM)  ; 2 ♂♂, same data but ix –x. 1916 (coll. ZSM)  ; 1 ♂, 1 ♀, same data but 15. ix. 1917 (coll. ZSM)  ; 1 ♀, Hispania c., Sierra de Guadarrama, Escorial , leg. Lauffer (coll. ZSM)  ; 2 ♀♀, Hispania, Ribas (coll. ZSM); 2 ♀♀, Espagne (Zaragoza) Bujaraloz , 31. vii. 1962, leg. E. de Lajonquiere (coll. ZSM / Herbulot)  ; 1 ♂, same data but 8. viii.1962 (coll. ZSM / Herbulot)  ; 2 ♂♂, same data but 30. vii. 1967, (coll. ZSM / Herbulot)  ; 2 ♂♂, 9 ♀♀, Spain, Prov. de Huesca, Fraga, Peñalba , 10. ix. 1981, A. Moberg leg. (coll. P. Skou)  ; 1 ♀, same data (coll. ZISP)  ; 1 ♀, same data but 350 m and 20. viii. 1984, P. Skou & M. Kavin leg. (coll. ZISP)  ; 1 ♂, 3 ♀♀, same data and altitude but 30. viii. 1984, P. Skou & M. Kavin leg. (coll. P. Skou)  ; 1 ♂, 2 ♀♀, same data but 300 m, 28. vii. 1991, B. Skule leg. (coll. P. Skou)  ; 1 ♂, same data but 250 m, 9. viii. 1992, B. Skule leg. (coll. P. Skou)  ; 1 ♂, 1 ♀, Hispania, Prov. Granada, Baza , 4. ix. (19)86, Kuchler Jun. leg., Genitalprp. G 4492 ♂, G 4494 ♀ (coll. ZSM)  ; 2 ♂♂, Spain, Almeria (” Murcia ”), Huercal-Overa , 300 m, 19. x. 1989, G. Behounek leg. (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♀, Spain, Prov. Huesca, 6 km S of Candasnos, Barranco de Valcuerna , 250 m, 3. vi. 1998, Peder Skou leg. (coll. P. Skou)  ; 1 ♂, Spain, Prov. Huesca, El Planeron at Codo / Belcite , 250 m, 6. vii. 2002, B. Skule leg. (coll. P. Skou)  ; 1 ♀, Spain, Prov  . Granada, Benamaurel – Cúllar , 2. x. 2004, H. Rietz leg. (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 3 ♀♀, Spain, Prov  . Granada, Rio de Baza , 17. ix. 2006, H. Rietz leg. (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 4 ♂♂, 7 ♀♀, same data but 19. ix. 2006 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 2 ♀♀, same data but 26. ix. 2006 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♂, 2 ♀♀, same data but 30. ix. 2007 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♀, same data but 17. vii. 2008 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♀, same data but 25. ix. 2008 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 2 ♂♂, same data but 1. x. 2008 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♂, same data but 21. vi. 2009 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♀, same data but 9. x. 2009 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♀, same data but 10. x. 2009 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 3 ♀♀, same data but 4. ix. 2010 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 2 ♀♀, same data but 16. ix. 2010 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♀, same data but 30. ix. 2010 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♀, same data but 17. vii. 2012 (coll. H. Rietz)  ; 1 ♂, 1 ♀, Spain, Prov  . Granada, Venta del Peral , 18. ix. 2006, H. Rietz leg. (coll. ZSM)  ; 1 ♂, 1 ♀, same data but 30. ix. 2007, H. Rietz leg. (coll. ZSM)  ; 2 ♂♂, same data but 1. x. 2008, H. Rietz leg. (coll. ZSM)  ; 1 ♀, Spain, Prov  . Granada, Benamaurel , 25. ix. 2008, H. Rietz leg. (coll. ZSM). 

Remarks. Two specimens of Eupithecia gypsophilata  were erroneously illustrated as Eupithecia gemellata  by Mironov (2003) on plate 10 (figs. 90e and 90f).

Derivatio nominis. The new species is named after the main foodplant of its larvae, Gypsophila struthium Loefl. 


University of Nottingham


Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport


Bavarian State Collection of Zoology


Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences