Megalographa talamanca, Lafontaine & Sullivan, 2009

Lafontaine, J. Donald & Sullivan, J. Bolling, 2009, A review of the genus Megalographa Lafontaine and Poole (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Plusiinae) with the description of a new species from Costa Rica, Insecta Mundi 2009 (77), pp. 1-10: 7-9

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Megalographa talamanca

nov. sp.

Megalographa talamanca   nov. sp.

( Figure 7, 8 View Figure 1–8 , 13 View Figure 9–14 , 18 View Figure 15–18 )

Type locality. Cerro de la Muerte, Provincia San José, Costa Rica.

Type material. Holotype, male: Costa Rica. Provincia Cartago: El Guarco, San Isidro, Estacion Esperanza, 2700 m, R Delgado ( INBio)   . Paratypes: 26 m, 8 f: Costa Rica. Provincia Cartago: Cerro de la Muerte , [Hotel La Georgina], 3300 m, 23–24.ii.1987, Lafontaine and Wood (2 m)   ; Provincia San José: Estación Biológica, Cerro de la Muerte , Reserva los Nimbulos , 09 o 33' 42.3" N, 83 o 44' 27.2" W, 3150 m, 20.iii.2004, J. B. Sullivan & J. D. Lafontaine (8 m, 6 f) GoogleMaps   ; 24-27.vii.2006, J. B. Sullivan & B. Espinosa (8 m 2 f). ( CNC, USNM, JBS)   ; Provincia San Jose: 4.6 km. E. of Villa Mills , 2640 m, 17-22.iii.1996 (5 m)   ; 7- 10.xii.1996 (3 m) ( INBio)   .

Etymology. The name refers to the mountain range in Costa Rica where the species occupies elevations above 3000 m.

Diagnosis. This species is easily confused with M. biloba   but usually can be recognized externally by the more roughened bronzy-brown ground color, more even postmedial line, and the relatively smaller silvery-white stigma that is separated into two spots in two thirds of the specimens. The male genitalia differ from those of the other species in the genus, other than M. biloba   , in having a more slender uncus, the vesica lacks an apical cornutus, and the swelling in the vesica is subbasal rather than mesial. They differ from those of M. biloba   in having a short clavus, like other species in the genus, and in having an almost straight vesica with a small dorsal pouch subbasally. In the female genitalia, the corpus bursae is long and J-shaped, without the mesial coil and angle of M. biloba   .

Description. Palpae with middle segment 2X length of other segments. Brown dorsally with scattered gray scales, laterally brown, sooty gray scales ventrally, light gray scales prominent on upper half of 2 nd segment. Pinkish-gray scales on ventral edge and on inner surface. Frons a dense mass of brown upright scales tipped in gray; upright scales length of 2 nd palpal segment. Interantennal area with similar scaling but only 0.66X as long. Eye round, without setae or lashes; ocelli present. Scape white distally, base brown. Antennae fasciculate; 8–10 sublateral setae on each segment side, setal length about half width of segment; approximately 84 segments per antenna which has white scaling on dorsal side along basal half of flagellum and orange tan ventrally. Collar a mass of upright scales, tricolored from basal orange to brown mesially to white tips. Thoracic scales similarly colored, almost 2X as long as those of collar; tegula similarly scaled, two masses of scales extended toward abdominal tip. Abdomen with dark-brown dorsal tuft on T1 and T2; remaining segments gray dorsally, whereas ventral side is straw and pink scaled. Leg dorsally with chocolate colored scales with light gray tips; ventrally mostly pale yellow. Tarsal joints usually white tipped. Tympanum with large hood with a distinct white abdominal tuft above it.

Wing ground color iridescent brown with dark reddish brown, and silver areas. Stigma usually two separate silver, tear shaped hemispheres, basally joined in a third of the specimens, particularly females. Median line angles toward thorax, proximally gray. Reniform spot a black dot, silver horseshoe-shaped crescent below it often broken. Transverse lines silver. Basal area reddish brown; median area of wing brown with some gray and some rusty patches; postmedian line appears double and is crossed in middle by black dash that extends to wing margin. Area beyond postmedian line gray then two toned brown distally above median dash; below dash colors reversed. Terminal line dark chocolate; fringe pale gray basally, dark gray brown distally. Costa almost black. Wing margin gently rounded. Spot-like rusty patch inward from junction of pm line and anal edge of wing. Hind wings fuscous; veins outlined with darker scaling. Postmedian line barely visible dorsally. Ventrally, postmedian line and discal spots prominent on both wings. Marginal line dark. Hindwings more yellow below; retinaculum a distinct patch of yellow scales. Sexes difficult to determine using frenulum because placement is quite similar in both sexes with setae in female retinaculum appressed and inserted below costa, not extended above margin of hindwing. Scaling below eye noticeably reddish brown. Sexes similar except that antennal setae reduced in females to a single bristle per segment attached to distal half of each segment. Wing length: males 15.8–17.8mm; average 16.8 mm (N=12); females 17.4–18.9 mm; average 18.2 mm (N=6).

Male pelt moderately sclerotized, terminal sternite with well defined, horseshoe-shaped apodeme. Valve with long, pointed uncus adorned on dorsal surface of distal third with setae about 2X width of uncus. Tegumen broad, sclerotized lightly in median area. Valva palmate shaped with mesial bulge along anal margin. Distinct hair-like socketed setae on rounded apex, longer setae along anal margin to below bulge. Clasper (ampulla) fleshy tubercule, apical half with numerous setae, length about 0.5X of widest part of valva. Ridge bearing clasper extends from basal area of valva to top of bulged region and slightly anal of mid valve. Clavus tubercle-like extension 0.5X length of clasper, setae prominent at distal end. Vinculum V-shaped, margins sclerotized, small ridge mesially along margin. Anellus broad curving straps, anal tube simple, large in diameter and lightly sclerotized ventrally. Aedeagus straight, ductus enters dorsally on proximal end. Distal end of aedeagus heavily scleritized dorsally and laterally, almost crenulated. Vesica straight, granulated and same diameter as aedeagus; shallow subbasal lobe. Valva length 2.78 mm, clasper 0.5 mm, clavus 0.13 mm; aedeagus 2.72 mm.

Female genitalia with moderately sclerotized pelt. Tergites undifferentiated. Anal papillae with rounded tips, setose. Apophyses approximately equal in length, pointed. Ductus bursae short, about 0.13X length of corpus bursae and with sclerotized, longitudinal, spiculate ridges. Corpus bursae very long, J-shaped with appendix bursae represented by a small ventrally projecting posterior bulge; corpus bursae with very lightly sclerotized, longitudinal, spiculate bands; no signum. Length: ductus bursae: 1.5 mm; corpus bursae: 12.0 mm; appendix bursae: 1.0 mm.

Distribution and Habitat. Megalographa talamanca   is known only from the Talamanca Mountain Range of central Costa Rica where it has been collected at elevations above 3100 meters in oak dominated cloud forests. Two nights of collecting in August of 2007 on top of on Volcan Poas (65 km NW of the Talamanca Mountain Range) produced almost 2000 specimens of moths but no Megalographa talamanca   , indicating that its distribution may be limited to the Talamanca Mountain Range.


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


National Biodiversity Institute, Costa Rica


Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History