Coscinia chrysocephala

Macià, Ramon, Mally, Richard, Ylla, Josep, Gastón, Javier & Huertas, Manuel, 2019, Integrative revision of the Iberian species of Coscinia Hübner, [1819] sensu lato and Spiris Hübner, [1819], (Lepidoptera: Erebidae, Arctiinae), Zootaxa 4615 (3), pp. 401-449: 417-418

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Coscinia chrysocephala


Coscinia chrysocephala   (Hübner, [1810]) stat. rev.

Original combination: Bombyx chrysocephala Hübner   , [1810]. Sammlung Europäischer Schmetterlinge, [3] pl. 58, f. 251.

LT. Not stated.

Material studied. 1♂ Sierra Cabrera , Turre (Almería), 21.X.2006, R. Macià & J. Ylla leg.   ; 2♂♂, 1♀ Tizi Olmou , Taza ( Marruecos), 22.V.2017, R. Macià & J. Ylla leg.   ; 1♂, 1♀ Saladar de Santa Pola , Santa Pola (Alicante), 6 m, 4.X.2002, R. Macià & J. Ylla leg.   ; 2♀♀ El Abalario ( Huelva ) 60 m, 29SQB00, 2.X.2001, R. Macià & J. Ylla leg.   ; 4♂♂ El Abalario ( Huelva ), 60 m, 29SQB00, 2.X.2001, R. Macià & J. Ylla leg.  

Diagnosis. The main characteristic feature of this species is the yellow-ochre frons on the head.Apart from that, it is easily distinguished from the other Coscinia   species by the metallic white forewings and the pale grey tone of the hindwings.

Description. Imago ( Figs 9–10 View FIGURES 9–18 ). Average wingspan 35.73 mm (n=15; 25–45 mm).

Genitalia (Fig. 33). No features have been found which differentiate this species from C. cribraria   .

Immature stages ( Fig. 47 View FIGURE 47 ). The last instar larvae measure 18–24 mm. Head capsule dark brown. Dorsal surface dark with a white central line of variable width, that fades laterally; lateral sides dark grey to yellowish brown; ventral surface brownish grey; verruca D1, D2, SD1 black; L1, L2, L3 brownish; thoracic legs light pale to yellowish brown; on the abdominal prolegs 12 to 18 larger nails. Pupae of both sexes erect with a bright dark brown tonality; tips of antenna not touching, but those of the pterothecae do so along a narrow, curved or straight, contact area.

Molecular data. The seven genetically investigated specimens differ by 0–2.16% from each other, with an average of 1.03% p-distance. The highest intraspecific p-distance is between the two sampled specimens from Morocco. Interspecific p-distances to specimens of C. cribraria   range from 6.26% to 9.72%; the lowest p-distance (6.26%) is with two C. cribraria   specimens from Burgos in N-Spain (ZMBN Lep506–507), the highest p-distance (9.72%) with a specimen of C. c. ibicenca from Formentera (ZMBN Lep506). Coscinia chrysocephala   differs from C. mariarosae   by 6.91–8.21% Barcode p-distance. See also Table 3 View TABLE 3 for details on the COI Barcode p-distances.

FIGURE 33. C. chrysocephala   , male and female genitalia, gen. prep. 5728JG m. El Abalario, Huelva, ( Spain), 5711JG f. El Abalario, Huelva, ( Spain).

Five specimens were successfully sequenced for the wingless gene, and the sequences differ by 0–0.60%. The p-distances to C. cribraria   are in the same range (0–0.60%), but wingless p-distances to C. mariarosae   are 1.19–1.79%, with an average of 1.53% (see also Table 4 View TABLE 4 ).

Coscinia chrysocephala   is strongly supported as monophyletic (1.00 PP, 99% BS) and in a weakly supported sister group relationship to C. cribraria   (0.92 PP, 54% BS).

Biology. Bivoltine, in two virtually continuous generations from mid-April to mid-August and then from September to November, depending on warmer or colder areas. Both sexes are nocturnal and attracted to artificial light. Colonies are found in arid areas, mainly near the coast, reaching up to 2300 m. The larvae are polyphagous on numerous grasses ( Poaceae   ) and other low plants including Cistus   , Rumex   , Plantago   and Taraxacum   , among others ( Ylla et al. 2010). Occasionally, in the southern slopes of Sierra Nevada ( Granada) can be found melanic forms.

Distribution ( Fig. 55 View FIGURE 55 ). Coscinia chrysocephala   is an Atlanto-Mediterranean species, distributed in Spain mainly along the Levantine coast and the southern half of Andalusia in scattered colonies of abundant individuals. Also present in Morocco, Tunisia, southern Italy and Sicily ( Daniel 1955).