Ethmia catapeltica Meyrick

Phillips-Rodriguez, Eugenie, Powell, Jerry A., Hallwachs, Winnie & Janzen, Daniel H., 2014, A synopsis of the genus Ethmia Huebner in Costa Rica: biology, distribution, and description of 22 new species (Lepidoptera, Gelechioidea, Depressariidae, Ethmiinae), with emphasis on the 42 species known from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, ZooKeys 461, pp. 1-86 : 33-34

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Ethmia catapeltica Meyrick


Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Depressariidae

Ethmia catapeltica Meyrick Figures 30, 75, 120, 142, 162

Ethmia catapeltica Meyrick, 1924: 119; Powell 1973: 174 (in part).


Ethmia catapeltica can be distinguished externally from its most similar species, Ethmia petersterlingi , by its general darker appearance, the presence of three distinct dark spots at base of FW posterior half, basal processes slightly wider anteriorly and sacculus slightly emarginated distally in the male genitalia.


Male: FW length 10.3-15 mm (n = 4). Head: Labial palpus elongated, exceeding base of antenna. Proboscis, front and crown whitish, occipital tuft black at mid-dorsum. Thorax: Ground color grayish white, four large black spots near apices of tegula and at sides of scutellum. FW ground color whitish, markings blackish, three distinct spots at posterior half: basal, middle and above torsum; an oblique dark blotch from before middle in costa connecting with an elongated black mark from middle to termen. HW ground color grayish darker at margins, a narrow costal fold with blackish long fringe at ventral, with a thin white pencil. Abdomen: Dorsal pale brownish, genital scaling pale. Genitalia (Fig. 75) with uncus membranous; basal processes slightly broadened apically; distal margin of valva with a small projection, adjunct to a group of three to four flat spines; distal sacculus margin slightly emarginated.

Female: FW length 13.1-15.5 mm (n = 3). Head and thorax: As described for male except HW unmodified. Abdomen: Genitalia (Fig. 120) with sterigma narrow; antrum sclerotized; signum barely notched.


Male: Costa Rica, San José [BMNH, examined].

Distribution and biology.

According to Powell (1973) and to keep the Ethmia catapeltica assemblage under a single name, the distribution ranges from Veracruz, Mexico to Bolivia. Additional studies on Ethmia catapeltica from Mexico and South America are needed to assess with certainty the distribution of the species. In Costa Rica (Fig. 162) Ethmia catapeltica (sensu stricto) occurs in the Caribbean and Pacific slopes, at both sides of Cordillera Volcánica de Guanacaste and Tilarán at middle elevations, at Sarapiquí lowlands, Central Pacific and southern Caribbean. In ACG, this is a rain forest species.

Food plant records.

Ethmia catapeltica has been reared from larvae feeding on Boraginaceae : Cordia alliodora .

Immature stages

(Fig. 142). Dorsum: Head black, thoracic shield ochreous, T2 black, T3 white, A1 and A7 white with irregular dark band, A2 white with short lateral black line, A3-A5 black, A6 black whitish posteriorly, A8-A9 black, A10 whitish with few small dots at dorsum. Lateral: Segments A3-A6 with white patches. Fully-grown larval coloration is quite similar to that of Ethmia lesliesaulae (Fig. 143).


Hymenoptera : Ichneumonidae : Lycorininae, Lycorina luzae Gauld (n = 10).