Megalota insularis Brown and Matthews

Brown, John W., Matthews, Deborah L. & Miller, Jacqueline Y., 2018, Two new species of Megalota from the Bahamas (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae: Olethruetinae), Zootaxa 4455 (3), pp. 597-600: 598-600

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Megalota insularis Brown and Matthews

new species

Megalota insularis Brown and Matthews  , new species ( Figs. 4, 7 View Figure )

Diagnosis. Megalota insularis  is assigned to the delphinosema species group (sensu Brown 2009) on the basis of its broader (less heart-shaped) uncus; more uniformly narrow valva; and the long, narrow, slightly elbowed subbasal process from the costa of the valva. As in many members of the delphinosema group, the male of M. insularis  has a conspicuous hair pencil that extends along the anal margin of the hindwing.

Superficially, M. insularis  is easily distinguished from all other congeners by the forewing pattern alone, which features an outward-directed, oblique median fascia connected to a curved (towards the apex), thumb-shaped blotch at the distal end of the discal cell; it is also among the smallest species in the species group. The male genitalia are most similar to those of M. ricana Brown  , a much larger species from Costa Rica, but they are easily distinguished by the conspicuous triangular process near the middle of the valva, which is absent in M. ricana  and all other congeners.

Description. Head: Vertex and frons tawny; length of labial palpus (all segments combined) ca. 1.2 times horizontal diameter of compound eye, tawny on outer surface, paler on inner surface; scales on antenna tawny. Thorax: Dorsum and tegula tawny; hindleg of male with dense patch of modified scales along femur and tibia. Forewing ( Fig. 4 View Figure ) length 5.1 mm (n = 1); forewing with rather uniform tawny scaling, with faint tiny specks of darker brown; a well-defined median fascia originating near mid-costa, extending to hind margin just before tornus, confluent with a curved (toward forewing apex), somewhat thumb-shaped blotch near distal end of discal cell, forming a semicircular mark in costo-apical region. Hindwing pale grayish brown, with conspicuous anal roll enclosing a hairpencil. Abdomen: Male genitalia ( Fig. 7 View Figure ) with tegumen subrectangular, with slight lateral bulge just before junction with base of uncus; uncus broad, with V-shaped notch at mid-dorsum, each lobe kidney bean-shaped, densely spined; socius inconspicuous; valva mostly parallel-sided, narrower in distal 0.4, dense cluster of spiniform setae from flattened ridge of venter ca. 0.50–0.65 distance from base; conspicuous triangular process from near mid-valva above patch of spiniform setae; subbasal basal process of costa of valva ca. 5 times as long as wide, elbowed at ca. 0.33 distance from base to tip, with short spines in distal 0.25. Phallus curved throughout with tiny dorsal thorn subapically; vesica with a single, slender cornutus. Female unknown.

Type. Holotype ♂, BAHAMAS: Cat Island, SE of Old Bight Settlement, 1.46 mi from Queen’s Hwy on road to Port Howe , 24.222603°, -75.364922°,, J. Miller, G. Goss, M. Simon, D. Matthews, Bahamas Survey, MGCL Accession # 2014-15, USNMAbout USNM genitalia slide 145,826, MGCL 240122 ( MGCL)  .

Etymology. The specific epithet refers to the putative insular distribution of this species.

Distribution and Biology. Megalota insularis  is known only from the holotype male from Cat Island. It is likely that a species of Croton  ( Euphorbiaceae  ) serves as its larval host.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History