Pyropteron hellenicum Bartsch, Pühringer, Lingenhöle & Kallies, Bartsch, Puhringer, Lingenhole & Kallies, 2021

Bartsch, Daniel, Pühringer, Franz, Milla, Liz, Lingenhöle, Arthur & Kallies, Axel, 2021, A molecular phylogeny and revision of the genus Pyropteron Newman, 1832 (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae) reveals unexpected diversity and frequent hostplant switch as a driver of speciation, Zootaxa 4972 (1), pp. 1-75: 61-62

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Pyropteron hellenicum Bartsch, Pühringer, Lingenhöle & Kallies

sp. nov.

Pyropteron hellenicum Bartsch, Pühringer, Lingenhöle & Kallies   sp. nov.

( Figs 39 View FIGURES 39–46 , 200–202 View FIGURES 191–205 , 224 View FIGURES 221–225 , 234 View FIGURES 233–235 )

This species has so far been misidentified as P. muscaeformis   . It is here identified as a distinct species based on its barcode and external differences.

Description. Male. Alar expanse 15–20 mm (holotype 18.5 mm). Head with labial palpus white, interiorly with slight yellow tinge, second and third palpomere laterally black; frons dark anthracite grey with metallic gloss, dusted with some yellow in upper part orange-yellow scales; vertex glossy black with some yellow scales, a narrow yellow-white spot between antenna and ocellus; antenna black, scape ventrally orange-yellow; pericephalic scales orange-yellow, dorsally rather long. Thorax glossy black, dorsally with sparse yellow, short hair-like scales, laterally with large yellow spot below wing base; inner margin of tegula broad yellow; dorso-lateral scale tufts of metathorax yellow-grey. Legs dark anthracite-grey; lateral half of fore coxa as well as ventral side of tibia yellow-white; tibia of mid leg dorso-laterally and distally yellow-white; tibia of hind leg proximal of middle pair of spurs yellow-white, dorsally narrow, ventrally broad anthracite-grey, distally with narrow yellow-white ring; tarsus of all legs ventrally whitish, first tarsomere distally with indistinct, narrow white ring; spurs whitish. Wings black, with some yellow scales at veins; transparent areas well developed, PTA short, not reaching discal spot, ETA round, consisting of five sub-cells; underside proximal of discal spot yellow-white, vein interspaces of apical area with some pale yellow scales; hindwing opaque, veins, margins and discal spot black; the latter long cuneiform, nearly reaching common stalk of M3/Cu1; fringes of all wings anthracite-grey. Abdomen black, basal segments with some yellow scales dorsally; narrow posterior margin of tergite 2 yellow-white, of tergites 4 and 6 silver-white; sternites mottled with yellow-white; anal tuft medially and laterally as well as outer side of valve yellow.

Male genitalia. Gnathos flaps well developed, round, the middle one narrow; valva with outer margin concave, apex narrow rounded; crista sacculi of valva, narrow, slightly s-curved and distally sharply ventrad bent medial part with rather large, broad and flat setae.

Female. Similar to male, but brown-yellow markings more intense; labial palpus ventrally orange-yellow with black scales on distal part of second and on third palpomere; antenna with distinct white subapical patch; forewing with PTA absent or very small; abdomen ventrally black, sternite 4 with narrow white anterior margin; anal tuft dorsally densely mixed with orange-brown scales.

Female genitalia. Apophyses anteriores short, papillae anales wide, ostium funnel shaped, antrum long, corpus bursae without signum.

Diagnosis. Similar to several other dark grey to black coloured species of the genus, P. hellenicum   differs from most of them by the absence of pale scales in the spaces between the veins of the forewing apical area and a bright, dorso-medial row of points or a longitudinal stripe on the abdomen (some specimens with indistinct spots on anterior tergites). Based on our molecular analysis, P. hellenicum   is closely related to P. meriaeformis   , which is smaller and daintier and pale bronze in colouration. It also has much smaller forewing transparent areas, the PTA being usually absent. The genitalia structure in male is very similar to that of several other members of the genus, including P. triannuliformis   , P. meriaeformis   , P. maroccana   , P. borreyi   , P. muscaeformis   , P. koschwitzi   , P. hispanica   . The female genitalia are similar to those of P. muscaeformis   , but the apophyses anteriores are substantially shorter, the papillae anales relatively wide, the ostium wider and the antrum longer.

Barcodes. The precise relationship of P. hellenicum   within the genus remains unclear. While it is solidly embedded in the P. muscaeformis   species group, in some analyses it groups as the sister of P. meriaeformis   , whereas in others (RAxML) it is sister to all other species with the exception of P. maroccana   and P. borreyi   . Notably, it is the only representative of the whole species group in the eastern Mediterranean.

Biology and habitat. The hostplant is unknown, but most probably Armeria canescens (Host) Boissier   , which was present where specimens of P. hellenicum   were collected. P. hellenicum   occurs from around 1000 m to the alpine zone close to 2500 m. Most specimens were captured at higher elevations with the help of various artificial pheromones, partly on a grazed plateau at the bottom of a small high valley at more than 1800 m altitude. This habitat was characterized by short but rich vegetation on limestone, including large stands of Armeria sp.   (Lingenhöle). Other specimens, including a female, which was netted in the afternoon, were captured in subalpine meadows where Armeria canescens   was abundant (Pühringer). At the same locality the first author succeeded in finding a larva in Armeria   , which, however, did not develop into a moth.

Distribution. Only known from Mt Timfristos, Mt Timfi and Chalkidiki Peninsula in central and northern Greece and from neighboring Albania.

Etymology. This interesting species is named after Hellas ( Greece), where most of the type specimens were caught.

Specimens examined. Holotype ♂ ( Figs 200–201 View FIGURES 191–205 ) with labels: “ Zentral Griechenland / Pindosgebirge / Timfristos 1800 m / 14.VII.1999 / leg. Lingenhöle ”; “ Holotypus / Pyropteron hellenicum   / ♂ / D. Bartsch, des. 2020” (CCDB-14648-H11) ( CAL)   . Paratypes: 9♂, same data as holotype ( Bartsch gen. prep. 2019-40) ( Fig. 224 View FIGURES 221–225 ) ( CAL, CDB)   . 2♂, Greece, Central Macedonia, Chalkidiki Peninsula , 6km WSW Arnea, 1020m, 18. VI.2012, leg. Mai ( CFM)   . 11♂, 1♀, Greece, Epirus, Ioannina, Timfi Mts, Gamila , 2100 m, 12.VII.2003, leg. FP (CCDB-02113 F07, CCDB-04642 D09)   ; 1♂, 1♀ ( Fig. 202 View FIGURES 191–205 ), ibid., 2130 m, 12.VII.2003, leg. FP (♀ gen. prep. FP 20/06) ( Fig. 234 View FIGURES 233–235 )   ; 4♂, ibid., 2280 m, 12.VII.2003, leg. FP   ; 1♂, ibid., 2480 m, 12.VII.2003, leg. FP   ; 1♂, Albania, Gjirokastra, NE Kakoz, 1490 m, 4.VII.2016, leg. FP   ; 1♂, ibid., summit, 1750 m, 4.VII.2016, leg. FP   ; 2♂, ibid., 1680 m, 5.VII.2016, leg. FP   ; 1♂, ibid., 1700 m, 5.VII.2016, leg. FP   ; 2♂, ibid., near summit, 1740 m, 5.VII.2016, leg. FP ( CFP)   .


Botanical Survey of India


Mykotektet, National Veterinary Institute