Leucania elephas Troubridge

Troubridge, J. T., 2020, A new genus and 37 new noctuoid species from peninsular Florida and the Keys (Lepidoptera: Noctuoidea), Insecta Mundi 2020 (789), pp. 1-56 : 36-37

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.5281/zenodo.4585782

publication LSID




persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Leucania elephas Troubridge

sp. nov.

Leucania elephas Troubridge View in CoL , new species

( Fig. 50 View Figures 49–54 , 100 View Figures 100–104 , 137 View Figures 132–138 )


Diagnosis. Leucania elephas , L. februalis (Hill) (BIN: BOLD:ABW8345), and L. solita Walker (BIN: BOLD:AAD6861) are the only members of the L. humidicola Guenée group occurring in North America. In southern Florida, the only species with which L. elephas could be confused is L. dorsalis Walker , but can be distinguished from it by the darker, more contrasting white and brown scales on the cubital vein of the forewing and the tufted fore and middle tibia of the male of L. elephas . Previously, L. elephas was confused with and treated as L. humidicola (e.g., Adams 2001, Franclemont and Todd 1983); however, in the male genitalia of L. humidicola , the ampulla of the clasper is long and pointed, extending slightly below the ventral margin of the sacculus, the digitus is long with a blunt tip ( Fig. 102 View Figures 100–104 ), and the vesica has a small subbasal diverticulum. In L. elephas ( Fig. 100 View Figures 100–104 ), the clasper curves abruptly upward, the digitus is short and pointed, and the vesica has a long diverticulum with a terminal cornutus. The BOLD database places both L. humidicola and L. solita into BIN: BOLD:AAD6861.

Description. Antennae filiform, ciliate; head, vertex, thorax, and abdomen light tan; prothoracic collar light tan with two diffuse gray lines edged posteriorly with light brown; a small tuft of gray scales tucks under thoracic collar; tegulae light tan; abdomen with ventrolateral pits with coremata on first abdominal sternite. Dorsal forewing (both sexes). Forewing length 16–17 mm. Ground color light yellowish tan; ordinary lines and spots absent; postmedial line reduced to a series of minute black dots; cubital vein distinctly white with dark brown shading below and adjacent to vein; veins M2, M3, and CuA1 thinly scaled with white; cells M2 and M3 with diffuse dark-brown medial streak; cubital cell with distinct black dot at distal end, black dots between veins on outer margin, and black dots scattered along costa and posterior margin; all veins thinly edged with light brown scales and a thin medial light-brown line extends down each cell; fringe light brown. Dorsal hindwing. Pearlescent white with minute beige dots on margin between veins, veins may be lightly highlighted with beige scales toward margin, fringe white. Male genitalia ( Fig. 100 View Figures 100–104 ). Cucullus widely separated from sacculus; a setose pad lies at base of cucullus from which projects a flattened, pointed digitus; clasper resembles an elephant’s head with upturned ampulla resembling its trunk and an extension of the costa as its ear. Juxta with relatively large dome between base of valves; uncus long, curved downward with heavily setose pointed tip; pleural sternite heavily setose with blunt ventral extensions extending toward base of valves; anal tube with long ventral sclerite; vesica forms a short tube basally terminating at a T-intersection at which point the vesica makes an abrupt right turn and sweeps around anteriorly and a very long, narrow diverticulum with bulbous terminal cornutus sweeps out and around toward vesica. Vesica with a field of fine setae on dorsal surface that terminates at ductus seminalis. Female genitalia ( Fig. 137 View Figures 132–138 ). Ovipositor lobes well sclerotized, with scattered setae; ductus bursae well sclerotized, with many distinct longitudinal ridges, bends 360° to terminate at anterior, leathery, globular corpus bursae; appendix bursae with posterior ridges and drawn to a point posteriorly at ductus seminalis, arises ventrally from ductus bursae at about ¼ of length of ductus bursae; signa absent.

Type material. Holotype male: USA: Florida, Monroe Co.: Bahia Honda , 24.665°N, 81.254°W, 9.Dec.2015, J. Troubridge, in the CNC GoogleMaps . Paratypes: 19♂, 9♀: Florida, Monroe Co.: Bahia Honda , 24.665°N, 81.254°W, 3.Mar.2016, 2♂, 1♀ GoogleMaps ; 13.Apr.2016, 2♂ GoogleMaps ; 3.Apr.2013, 2♂, 2♀; 8.Jul.2013, 2♂, 1♀; 4.Mar.2013, 1♂; 24.Jul.2016, 1♂, 1♀; 24.Feb.2017, 1♀; 18.Mar.2017, 1♀; 8.Apr.2013, 1♂, all J. Troubridge ; Big Pine Key , 24° 40.93′N, 81° 22.06′W, 4.Dec.2011, J. Troubridge, 1♂ GoogleMaps ; Upper Key Largo , 24.665°N, 81.254°W, 16.Apr.2018, J. Troubridge, 1♂ GoogleMaps ; Long Key , 24.814°N, 80.822°W, 13.Mar.2015, J. Troubridge, 1♂ GoogleMaps ; No Name Key , 24.695°N, 81.328°W, 8.Apr.2018, J. Troubridge, 1♂ GoogleMaps ; Crawl Key , 24.747°N, 80.979°W, 3.Mar.2016, J. Troubridge, 1♂ GoogleMaps ; Key Largo , 11.Mar.1986, L.C. Dow, 1♂ ( MGCL) ; Cape Sable , 7.Apr.1966, F.W. Mead, 1982,1, (one) slide MGCL 4421 , 3♂ ( FSCA) ; Sarasota Co.: Siesta Key , 8.May1953, C.P. Kimball, 1982,2, 1♂ ( FSCA) .

Etymology. From Latin, elephas refers to the shape of the male clasper, which resembles an elephant’s head.

Distribution. This species is known from the Florida Keys and extreme southern Texas. The extent of its range in Mexico or the Greater Antilles is unknown. The DNA of “ L. humidicola ” from the Lesser Antilles has been analyzed and shows these specimens to be yet another undescribed species in the group.

Remarks. The DNA of L. elephas was analyzed and the 658 COI base pairs compared with those of specimens of L. humidicola from Venezuela, L. solita from California, and L. februalis from California. The results showed a 5.4% difference between L. elephas and L. humidicola , a 4.2% difference between L. elephas and L. solita , and a 1.1% difference between L. elephas and L. februalis . The male genitalia of L. februalis ( Fig. 101 View Figures 100–104 ) and L. humidicola ( Fig. 102 View Figures 100–104 ) are similar but their DNA differs by 5.0%.


Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes


Florida State Collection of Arthropods, The Museum of Entomology













GBIF Dataset (for parent article) Darwin Core Archive (for parent article) View in SIBiLS Plain XML RDF