Pyropteron muscaeformis (Esper, 1783)

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: 64

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Pyropteron muscaeformis (Esper, 1783)


Pyropteron muscaeformis (Esper, 1783)  

( Figs 206–211 View FIGURES 206–220 , 233 View FIGURES 233–235 )

Sphinx muscaeformis Esper, 1783   : Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen: 217; pl. 32, figs. 5–6. Syntypes: ♂, ♀, Germany, Frankfurt (lost).

Sesia philanthiformis Laspeyres, 1801   : Sesiae Europaeae Iconibus et Descriptionibus illustratae: 31 [unnecessary replacement name for Sphinx muscaeformis   ].

Chamaesphecia aestivata Králícek, 1969   : Acta Musei Moraviae, Scientiae Naturales, 54: 115, 119, Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 . Holotype: ♂, Czech Republic, southern Moravia, near Hodonin (MMBC).

Sesia muscaeformis race occidentalis Joannis, 1908   : Annales de la Société entomologique de France (Deuxième Série), 77: 758. Lectotype: ♂, France, Bretagne, Morbihan, Sene and Plouharnel (MNHN) syn. nov.

This species occurs in a rather scattered range across western and central Europe. Colonies tend to be very localised and occur from coast dunes to alpine meadows. These populations often differ considerably from each other in coloration. Especially specimens from the coast, for example from Denmark, north-western Germany and north-western France, are more distinctly yellow and were described as ssp. occidentalis Joannis, 1908   . We consider this taxon a substrate form and thus a synonym of P. muscaeformis   (syn. nov.). However, given the geographic isolation of many colonies, in particular in the Alps and in south-western Europe, it would be interesting to study this species in more detail. It cannot be excluded that it comprises hidden and taxonomically relevant diversity. Based on sequence analysis, P. muscaeformis   is part of a group of species including P. hispanica   and P. koschwitzi   . Interestingly, species in this group utilize both Armeria   and Limonium   as well as Rumex   as hostplants, suggesting frequent host switches, which may indeed have promoted speciation.

Barcodes. In our dataset, P. muscaeformis   shows only limited intraspecific differences of maximally 0.8%. However, we were only able to barcode specimens from central and north-western Europe, including Poland, Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Given the highly fragmented range of this species in the south of Europe, more sampling may reveal greater diversity.

Biology and habitat. Hostplants are several species of Armeria   ( Plumbaginaceae   ), mostly growing on rocky or sandy soils. The larva feeds in the main root, which breaks off easily under tension. Pupation takes place without cocoon in the gallery of the larva. The moth is on the wing in May and June, or in July at higher eleveations, and can be observed visiting flowers of the hostplant.

Distribution. A strictly European species with a heavily fragmented range, which reaches from northern Spain, southern and western France and the British Islands, through central Europe, central Italy, eastwards to the Balkans (Dalmatia, Pag), Romania, Ukraine and western Russia ( Laštůvka & Laštůvka 1995, 2001, 2007, Kučinić et al. 1997, Špatenka et al. 1999, Kallies & Sobczyk 2002). The only records of P. muscaeformis   from Spain relate to specimens collected in the provinces of Lerida ( Kallies 1999, Laštůvka et al. 2000, Laštůvka & Laštůvka 2007) and Catalonia ( Cervello & Bläsius 1998). Records from León (Manceñido-González & González-Estébanez 2014) may well belong to P. koschwitzi   and should be re-examined. Larvae of Pyropteron   were found in Armeria   growing along the Atlantic coast as well as in Armeria   growing on alpine meadows at around 2000 m altitude of the Picos de Europa in north-western Spain (Kallies, pers. observation). Thus, Armeria   feeding Pyropteron   appear to be widespread in parts of the Iberian Peninsula. More work is required to clarify their identity and to fully understand the distribution of P. muscaeformis   and P. koschwitzi   in Spain. In the light of our discovery of P. hellenicum   in Greece and Albania, it will also be important to test the validity of P. muscaeformis   records from other parts of the Balkans and central Italy.

Specimens examined. 2♀, Denmark, Ribe, Skallingen, Ho , e.l. 2.–3. VI   .1996, leg. Riefenstahl (CCDB-14564- G09) ( SMNS)   ; 5♂, 5♀, Germany, Schleswig-Holstein, Eichholz nr. Lübeck, Teufelsmoor , e.l. [24. VI.–23.VII.]2000   , leg. H. Riefenstahl (CCDB-02113 F08, photo 42/4/35-5/20, 44/4-29-5/12) ( CFP); 13♂ ( Figs 206, 207 View FIGURES 206–220 ), 9♀ ( Figs 209, 210 View FIGURES 206–220 ), Germany, Mecklenburg, Pinnow near Schwerin , e.l. ex Armeria maritima   , larvae 1. V., adults 22.   VI.– 19.VII.1995, leg. DB ( BOLD DB-Lep-00122) (1♀, Bartsch gen. prep. 2020-20) ( Fig. 233 View FIGURES 233–235 ); 10♂, 5♀, ibid., e.l. larvae 22.III., adults 10.   V.–2.VI.1995, leg. DB; 3♂, ibid.,e.l. larvae 30.III., adults 24.   V.2003, leg. DB ( BOLD DB-Lep-00124); 1♂, ibid., e.l. larva III., adult V.2004   , leg. DB (CCDB-04616-D07) ( CDB); 23♂, 21♀, ibid., e.l. 1991   , leg. Riefenstahl; 31♂, 3♀, ibid., 2.VII.1993   , leg. Riefenstahl ( SMNS); 1♀ ( Fig. 208 View FIGURES 206–220 ), Germany, Sylt, List , e.l. ex A. maritima   , larva 20.III., adult 21.   V.1997, leg. DB; 2♂, France, Dépt. Lozère, Cévennes, 1 km W les Salidès , 1000m, 28.   VI.2016, pheromone, D. Bartsch & J. Berg leg.; 1♂, 1♀, France, Dépt. Lozère, Cévennes , 4 km N Mont Aigoual, 1160m, 28.   VI.2016, at Armeria   flowers, D. Bartsch & J. Berg leg. ( CDB). 1♂, Austria, Styria, Gulsenberg , 29.   VI.1992, leg. Hamborg ( CDB); 3♂, 1♀, Austria, Styria, Gulsenberg near Kraubath , 690–900 m, 12.VII.1994   , leg. FP (photo 16/5/14-45); 16♂, ibid., 23.VII.1994   , leg. FP (BOX-2219 G05); 4♂, ibid., 22.VII.1995   , leg. FP (photo 20/1/40-2/42); 1♂, ibid., 5.VIII.1995   , leg. FP; 4♂, ibid., 20.VII.1996   , leg. FP; 8♂, 1♀, ibid., 17.VII.1997   , leg. FP (CCDB-02113 F06); 1♂, ibid., 4.VII.1998, leg. FP ( CFP);   2♂, Italy, Abruzzo, Colli de Montebove , 1200m, 4.VII.1991, leg. Prola (CCDB-14564-G11);   2♂, Italy, Lazio, M. Terminille, Campeferegna, 1700m, 17.VII.1991, leg. Prola;   1♂, Italy, Lazio, Campo Staffi , 1650m, 19.VII.1991, leg. Prola (SMNS).  


Mykotektet, National Veterinary Institute


Staatliches Museum fuer Naturkund Stuttgart


Royal British Columbia Museum - Herbarium














Pyropteron muscaeformis (Esper, 1783)

Bartsch, Daniel, Pühringer, Franz, Milla, Liz, Lingenhöle, Arthur & Kallies, Axel 2021

Chamaesphecia aestivata Králícek, 1969

Kralicek 1969

Sesia muscaeformis race occidentalis

Joannis 1908

ssp. occidentalis

Joannis 1908

Sesia philanthiformis

Laspeyres 1801

Sphinx muscaeformis

Esper 1783