Signeta Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914

Toussaint, Emmanuel F. A., Braby, Michael F., Müller, Chris J., Petrie, Edward A. & Kawahara, Akito Y., 2022, Molecular phylogeny, systematics and generic classification of the butterfly subfamily Trapezitinae (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea: Hesperiidae), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 195, pp. 1407-1421 : 1417

publication ID 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab086

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Signeta Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914


Signeta Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914 syn. nov.

Type species: Timoconia thiele Strand, 1909 (by original designation).


Signeta currently contains two species: Signeta flammeata (Butler, 1882) and Signeta tymbophora ( Meyrick & Lower, 1902) . Signeta is distinguished from Toxidia , to which it is closely allied, by differences in the shape of vein 1A+2A in the male forewing, which is sharply distorted (i.e. bowed toward the dorsum) near the base, and the presence of a large ovoid central black patch on the upperside of the forewing in the male ( Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914; Atkins et al., 1991; Braby, 2000). However, evidence from the morphology of the immature stages ( Jenkinson, 2018), male genitalia and adult stage morphology (A. F. Atkins, pers. comm.) indicates that Toxidia peron (Latreille, 1824) is more closely allied to Signeta than to other members of Toxidia . Moreover, in a molecular phylogenetic analysis that included a limited subset of trapezitine taxa ( Warren et al., 2008, 2009), Toxidia peron emerged sister to S. flammeata rather than to Toxidia doubledayi (C. Felder, 1862) (the other exemplar of the genus studied). Atkins (2012, 2017) hypothesized further on the putative close relationship between Toxidia peron and Signeta , and he placed Toxidia peron informally under Signeta , although he did not comment on the status of other members of Toxidia , such as Toxidia melania (Waterhouse, 1903) , for which the biology and life history remain poorly known.

As noted above, the genus Toxidia was polyphyletic in our analysis, with two species ( Toxidia peron and Toxidia melania ) showing a closer relationship to Signeta than to the other species of Toxidia . The logical course of action would be to change the composition of these genera by transferring Toxidia peron and Toxidia melania across to Signeta to maintain monophyly; otherwise, Signeta would have to be synonymized under Toxidia . However, since Timoconia thielei Strand, 1909 (the type species of Timoconia ) is a junior synonym of Hesperia peron Latreille, 1824 , Timoconia Strand, 1909 is a valid and available name for this clade of four taxa and therefore becomes the senior synonym of Signeta Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914 because it was published five years earlier. Thus, the nomenclature and new combinations recognized for the four revised species of Timoconia are as follows:

Timoconia peron (Latreille, 1824) comb. nov.

= Telesto kochii Felder, C., 1862

= Hesperilla doclea Hewitson, 1868

= Telesto arsenia Plötz, 1884

= Timoconia thielei Strand, 1909

Timoconia melania (Waterhouse, 1903) comb. nov. Timoconia flammeata (Butler, 1882) comb. nov.

= Telesto eclipsis Butler, 1882

= Hesperilla atromacula Miskin, 1889

Timoconia tymbophora ( Meyrick & Lower, 1902) comb. nov.

Larvae of Timoconia exploit a wide range of monocots, including Asparagaceae , Cyperaceae , Flagellariaceae , Phormiaceae and Poaceae . Flagellariaceae were recently recorded as food plants for T. melania (E. A. Petrie, unpublished data).