Phyllonorycter melanosparta (Meyrick, 1912)

Prins, Jurate De & Kawahara, Akito Y., 2012, 3594, Zootaxa 3594, pp. 1-283: 125-128

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Phyllonorycter melanosparta (Meyrick, 1912)


44. Phyllonorycter melanosparta (Meyrick, 1912)  

( Figs 17, 89, 90, 129, 246–251, 395, 424–426, 441)

Lithocolletis melanosparta   —Meyrick, E. (1912a: 21), Vári (1961: 208–210; pl. 22, fig. 4; pl. 65, fig. 1; pl. 104, fig. 1). Phyllonorycter melanosparta   — Vári & Kroon (1986: 54, 136, 157), Kroon (1999: 50, 104, 114, 120), Dall’Asta et al. (2001:

34), Vári et al. (2002: 26), De Prins & De Prins (2005: 319–320), De Prins et al. (2009: 53–67).

Diagnosis. The wing pattern of P. melanosparta   , P. anchistea   and P. aarviki   are largely indistinguishable. Vertex of P. melanosparta   has slightly more abundant white suffusion than P. anchistea   . The male genitalia of P. melanosparta   is very similar to P. anchistea   , suggesting that the two may be closely related. The main diagnostic differences between the male genitalia of these two species are in the shape of curved valva, which is broad at its base and very narrow distally with a bifid sharp pointed apex in P. melanosparta   , whereas in P. anchistea   the apical half of valva is very narrow, sharply pointed, without forking, but bear a stiff bristle (absent in P. melanosparta   ). Saccus in P. melanosparta   U-shaped, short, whereas it is long in P. anchistea   . The female genitalia of P. melanosparta   and P. anchistea   differ by four main differences:

Posterior apophyses angulated in P. melanosparta   ; posterior apophyses straight in P. anchistea  

Ostium bursae opens at subanterior part of segment VIII in P. melanosparta   ; ostium bursae opens in subposterior part of segment VIII in P. anchistea   .

Corpus bursae with signum plate bearing small signum in

P. melanosparta   ; corpus bursae with tiny pointed signum withpout signum plate in P. anchistea   .

P. melanosparta   feeds on Fabaceae   ; P. anchistea   feeds on Malvaceae   .

Material examined. Holotype: ♀, [1] [ South Africa] ‘Barberton / 31.xii.1910 / [leg.] A. J. T. Janse’; [2] ‘47/ 41’; [3] ‘ L. melanosparta   / 4741’; [4] ‘G[enitalia] / 7142’; [5] ‘ Lithocolletis   / melanosparta   M. / Type No 360’, in TMSA.

Additional material: 21♂ and 13♀ (including 10♂ and 5♀ genitalia preparations), and 59 specimens. Kenya   : 1♀, Kakamega Forest, Primary Forest , 1600 m, 00°20’N 34°52’E, 19.iv.2001, leg. J. De Prins, gen. prep. De Prins 3410 GoogleMaps   ♀ ( MRAC / KMMA 00373 View Materials ), specimen ID: RMCA ENT 000004144 View Materials   . 8♂, 7♀, Kakamega Forest , 1590 m, 00°21’N 034°51’E, mine 28.iii.2003, leg. J. & W. De Prins, e.l. Hylodesmum repandum (Vahl) H. Ohashi & R.R. Mill   [Fabiaceae] from 29.iii.2003 to 21.iv.2003, Wing venation prep. De Prins 3688 GoogleMaps   ♂, gen. prep. De Prins 3613 ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00371 View Materials ) 3688   ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00372 View Materials ), 3689   ♀ ( MRAC / KMMA 00374 View Materials ), specimen IDs: RMCA ENT 000004129–000004143 View Materials   , in RMCA. 1♀, same locality data, specimen ID: RMCA ENT 000003273 View Materials   , in CCDB. 7♂, same locality data, pheromone trap attracted from 27.iii.2003 to 03.iv.2003, gen. prep. De Prins 3642   ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00375 View Materials ), 3639   ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00376 View Materials ), 3691   ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00377 View Materials ), 3690   ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00378 View Materials ), 3701   ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00403 View Materials ), wing venation prep. De Prins 3688   ♂ ( MRAC / KMMA 00497 View Materials ), specimen IDs: RMCA ENT 000003272 View Materials , 000003273 View Materials , 000004146–000004150 View Materials , 000003288 View Materials   , in RMCA, DNA vouchers CLV11107, CLV14707, CLV13907, CLV15507, in CCDB   . 2♂, same locality data, specimen IDs: RMCA ENT 000003179 View Materials , 000003180 View Materials   , DNA vouchers CLV11207, CLV11307, in CCDB   . South Africa: 1♂, Debengeni, Tvl. [Transvaal], vii.1954, [leg.] L. Vári, Ac [quisition]. no 1313, gen. prep. 7675   ♂, in TMSA   . 1♂, Glenmore, Port Edward , 12.iv.1971, specimen ID: RMCA ENT 000004145 View Materials   , in RMCA. 36 specimens, same locality data, Ac [quisition]. no 3135, leg. L. Vári, 12.v.1971, 17.v.1971, 18.v.1971, 19.v.1974, 21.v.1971, 23.v.1971, 24.v.1971, 26.v.1971, 27.v.1971, 29.v.1971, 30.v.1971,,,,, in TMSA   . 1 specimen, Kruger National Park Survey, Punda Milia, 24.v.1975, nihil, Ac [quisition]. no. 3416, in TMSA   . 1♂, Pretoria , 26.iv.1952, [leg.] L. Vári, “ Lithocolletis melanosparta Meyrick, Metallotype   6347”, gen. prep. Vári 6925   ♂, Ac [quisition]. no. 514, in TMSA   . 1♂, 2♀, 19 specimens, same locality, 10.i.1949, 11.i.1949, 12.i. 1949, 13.i.1949, 25.iv.1952, 26.iv.1952, 27.iv.1952, 28.iv.1952, 29.iv.1952, 30.iv.1952, 02.v.1952, 29.i.1965, 05.iv.1980, 01.i.1981, [leg.] L. Vári, Ac [quisition]. no 91, 514, 2789, 3847, 3789, wing venation prep. Vári 2505   ♂, gen. prep. Vári 6926 ♀, 7136 ♀, in TMSA   . 1 specimen, Rustenburg, Natuurreservaat , 09.iv.1976, nihil, Ac. [quisition] no. 3593, in TMSA   . 1♂, 1♀, Pretoria , 26.iv.1952 and 27.iv.1952, [leg.] L. Vári, Ac. [quisition] no. 514; “ Lithocolletis melanosparta Meyr., Metaparatype   ”, in ZMHB   . 2 specimen, Umdoni Park , 28.iv.1975, 05.v.1975, [leg.] L. Vári, Ac [quisition]. no. 3383, in TMSA   . Zimbabwe: 1♀, Umtali , 28.iv.1956, L. Vári, gen. prep. 7676   ♀, in TMSA   .

Redescription. Adult ( Figs 89, 90, 129). Forewing length: 2.5–2.8 mm.

Head: Vertex tufted with whitish cream piliform scales, mainly whitish on occiput posteriorly and with a suffusion of fulvous appressed scales on vertex anteriorly, with a row of ochreous short scales along margin of eye, with brownish ochreous anterior-lateral tufts medially over anterior part of vertex, and with short, light ochreous scales running along anterior part of vertex; frons smooth, white, with golden shine, covered with long appressed piliform scales. Labial palpus ca. 1.5× longer than eye, straight, directed latero-ventrally, white dorsally, on lateral outer side a row of small dark brown scales runs along palpomeres, ultimate palpomere with sharp apex; maxillary palpus porrect, pale beige; haustellum light yellow. Antenna slightly shorter than forewing, ventrally pale beige with narrow fuscous longitudinal stripes on each flagellomere, dorsally flagellomeres, except pedicel, dark brown with light beige bases, last two flagellomere entirely dark grey; pedicel brightly white dorsally, and brown with white basal 1/3 ventrally; scape shiny white at anterior half and light ochreous at posterior half with white pecten up to 9–12 narrow scales of same length as scape or shorter.

Thorax: Ochreous with whitish longitudinal stripe medially, and very narrow whitish stripes laterally; tegula reddish ochreous with darker reddish lustre at bases, and with whitish shading at apices. Forewing ground colour ferruginous-ochreous with blackish fuscous markings consisting of three costal strigulae, two angulated fasciae, and marked blackish-fuscous area along termen; basal streak absent, but 3–5 dark fuscous scales are present slightly below midline of forewing in middle between base of forewing and first costal strigula; first costal strigula just before 1/3, rod shaped, truncate, oblique toward tornus of forewing, reaching almost midline of forewing; first fascia almost at 1/2, sharply angulated above middle, costal part of first fascia ca. twice broader than dorsal part of first fascia, second costal strigula beyond 1/2 of forewing, shorter, thicker than first costal strigula, second fascia at apical 1/3 of forewing, more straight than first fascia, reversed Y-shaped, thick at angle, with obsolete dorsal part, short and narrow line of dark fuscous scales connects angle of second fascia with termen area, third costal strigula close to apex of forewing, but separated from apex by ochreous area, short, comma shaped, directed straight towards termen, termen area to tornus covered with dark fuscous scales, forming a broad terminal irregular band; fringe line faint fuscous with blackish-tipped scales running from apex to tornus; fringe along dorsal margin light fuscous ochreous with golden lustre. Hindwings pale grey with silver shine, with long pale fuscous fringe of lighter shading than hindwing. Fore femur blackish fuscous dorsally and lighter ventrally, fore tibia blackish fuscous with a small subbasal and median white patch on outer side (both patches in some specimens absent or only a small subapical white patch on outer side present), tarsomere I dark fuscous with white basal half and white apex, tarsomere II with white basal half and fuscous apical half, tarsomere III completely fuscous, tarsomeres IV–V ochreous white. Mid-femur dirty white with dark fuscous patches at base and subapex, mid-tibia with blackish fuscous base and two very oblique blackish fuscous stripes streching from 1/3 to 1/2 of mid-tibia and third stripe streching from 2/3 of mid-tibia to apex, tibial spurs white with tiny brownish fuscous scales subapically, tarsomere I white with a subbasal and a subapical fuscous patches, tarsomere II white with blackish fuscous apex, tarsomere III basal 2/3 blackish fuscous and apical 1/3 white, tarsomeres IV–V dirty white or dark grey. Hind coxa dark fuscous, hind femur pale beige with median dark fuscous patch, hind tibia irrorated with dark fuscous scales, becoming dense at subapex and apically, tibial spurs white with dark fuscous apical halves, tarsomeres I–III white with dark fuscous subapical patch, tarsomere IV white, tarsomere V pale grey.

Abdomen: Dorsally greyish brown, ventrally whitish beige. Tergite VII dark grey, tergite VIII, elongate and narrow, pale grey, sternum VIII of male large, gently tapering posteriorly with pointed apex.

Male genitalia ( Figs 246–251). Tegumen moderate, ca. 530 µm, slightly longer than sternum VIII, elongate cone shaped, sclerotized; apex of tegumen covered with tiny short and numerous microtrichiae, median sector of tegumen is less sclerotized, covered with tiny short setae laying along longitudinal axis of tegumen, subscaphium arms heavily sclerotized, short, parallel not joining with each other, but entering apical part of conus shaped tegumen. Valva symmetrical, moderate, weakly setose, broad to 2/3, ca. 300 µm, then strongly tapering very narrow, long bifid pointed apex, ca. 170 µm long; projecting ventro-laterally, dorsal margin and especially postmedial region of dorsal margin with long, stiff, well-spaced setae, subapical region of valva just before bifurcation with 6 round tubercules with long, hair-like setae directed antero-medially and 7 dentate, sharp, thickly sclerotized barbs situated in following order: well spaced 2+1 on postmedial subventral margin of valva and 4 in a longitudinal row along subdorsal subapical margin of valva; bifid apex slightly curved, shorter arm with fine bristle at apex. Vinculum strongly sclerotized, narrow, with short, broad bell-shaped saccus ca. 100 µm long. Transtilla well developed, complete, trapezoidal, with broad, strongly sclerotized lateral arms. Aedoeagus slightly longer than valva, ca. 530 µm in length, slender, cylindrical, straight to slightly beyond middle, apical part slightly sinuate, vesica truncate, with two very long sinuate cornuti extending along subapex of aedoeagus, and one shorter, curved cornutus on vesica.

Female genitalia ( Fig. 335). Papillae anales small ventro-dorsally compressed, short with setation of variable length mainly apically, basal bar absent. Posterior apophyses very long, with broad triangular bases, slightly angulated, slender, reaching middle of segment VII, apically pointed. Segment VIII long and narrow, very weakly sclerotized, connected dorsally only with narrow band; anterior apophyses absent. Ostium bursae oval, located at anterior 1/3 of segment VII, with ventral margin shortly projecting anteriorly; sterigma consisting of two large piramid-like lamella antevaginalis, jointed laterally, ostium bursae opens at subanterior part of segment VIII, cuticular appendages of sterigma run at median part of segment VII, cuticular appendages with broad funnel-like bases, initiating just above ostium bursae and terminating with sharp apices. Antrum, tubular, long, with one curve with light sclerotization. Ductus bursae long, almost twice as long as segment VII, narrow, well-sclerotized at proximal 1/5, posterior sector to 4/5 weakly sclerotized, moderate slender, distal 1/5 gently broadened. Corpus bursae round, small, membranous, bearing round, sclerotized signum area with a short, rod-like signum in center; bulla seminalis weakly-membranous; ductus seminalis arising from anterior end of antrum. Spermatheca large, oval, located in segment VI, ductus spermathecae form 25–26 coils of equal diameter.

Remarks. Vári, in the description of female genitalia of P. melanosparta   , wrote that corpus bursae with no signum (1961: 209). However, in the illustration of female genitalia of P. melanosparta   (1961: plate 104:1), Vári illustrates a signum. Corpus bursae in the preparation slide 7142 of the holotype is not well perceptible, but the examination of additional material clearly reveals the presence of a signum.

Variation. A slight variation in colour was observed in patches of fore tibia and apical tarsomeres of mid-legs. Corpus bursae in female genitalia varies from round to spade-like form.

DNA sequences. Two COI barcodes are available for P. melanosparta   ( GU073235 and GU073239; Table S1). These sequences were previously published in De Prins et al. (2009).

Habitat. Secondary woodland where forest flora intermixes with savannah plants ( Fig. 441).

Host plant(s). Four species of Fabaceae   :

Flemingia grahamiana Wight & Arn.   , Rhynchosia caribaea (Jacq.) DC   , Vigna sp.   — Vári 1961: 210, Kroon 1999: 50, Dall’Asta et al. 2001: 34, De Prins & De Prins 2005: 320, manuscript notes of Vári: note No 0091 of 06/ 01/1949, note No 0514 of 14/04/1952, note No 1313 of 14/06/1954, note No 1904 of 20/04/1956, note No 3135 of 10/05/1971, note 3383 of 19/04/1975, note No 3416 of 12/05/1975, note No 3593 of 06/04/1976, note No 3847 of 29/12/1980.

Hylodesmum repandum (Vahl) H. Ohashi & R.R. Mill   — new record ( Figs 424–426).

Mine. 15–20 mm long, oblong, semi-transparent, tentiform mine on the underside of the leaf, usually near petiole of the leaf, with five or six folds; central fold along the longitudial axis of mine very long, running almost along all length of mine, length of other folds varies from 1/3 of mine to very short ones. Upper epidermis strongly mottled with irregular patches; black frass loosely scattered throughout mine, but part is collected in a cluster at one end of the mine; pupation in very slender, white cocoon; exuvium protrudes through lower epidermis before adult emerges. Very rarely protruding through upper epidermis ( Vári 1961: 210, De Prins & De Prins 2005: 320). Mining period is ca. 5–15 days (the notes of Vári here above).

Flight period. Adults fly in two periods of the year: from late December to late January and from late March to July.

Distribution ( Fig. 395). Phyllonorycter melanosparta   has a disjunct distribution along southeastern Africa. It is recorded in western Kenya ( De Prins et al. 2009), several localities in the north-eastern South Africa ( Meyrick 1912a: 21; Vári 1961: 210), and one locality in eastern Zimbabwe ( Vári 1961: 210).


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Transvaal Museum


Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale


Royal Museum for Central Africa


Crustacean Collection of the Department of Biology














Phyllonorycter melanosparta (Meyrick, 1912)

Prins, Jurate De & Kawahara, Akito Y. 2012

Lithocolletis melanosparta

Meyrick, Metallotype 1912