Pyropteron chrysidiformis (Esper, 1782)

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: 17-20

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Pyropteron chrysidiformis (Esper, 1782)


Pyropteron chrysidiformis (Esper, 1782)  

This is a highly variable species, both in extent and intensity of the reddish coloration and in size and shape of the transparent areas. In particular the ETA can be present or absent; thus, the entire forewing can be covered by red or orange scales, apart from costal area, the proximal part of discal spot and the distal margin. However, in some specimens the reddish colour is restricted to the anal margin and an area distal of the discal spot. Some specimens are more or less completely black, especially in the south-western parts of the range.

DNA barcode analyses group P. chrysidiformis   into two distinct clusters, which differ by an average of 6.8%, the chrysidiformis   clade, with specimens from western Europe, including north-western Italy, Corsica and Sardinia, and the sicula clade with specimens from Sicily, Apulia, Adriatic Italy and Istria. These two clades are well supported and could be considered different species. However, although there are some external differences between specimens of the two clades, these were not consistent across the whole range and we did not find significant differences in the genitalia. We therefore follow the current practise ( Špatenka et al. 1999, Pühringer & Kallies 2004) and consider these two clades subspecies.

Note. Sesia lecerfi Oberthür, 1909   is not a synonym of P. chrysidiformis   , with which it was compared in the original description and as proposed by subsequent authors ( Laštůvka 1990c, Špatenka et al. 1999). The holotype from the Eastern Pyrenees is an almost completely black male of a Bembecia species.   Due to the shapes of the transparent areas of the forewing, the relatively large size with an alar expanse of 23 mm and the dark red colour of the forewing discal spot and anal margin (yellow or orange-red in most congeners), we consider it most likely to be conspecific with Bembecia ichneumoniformis   ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775) and synonymize it with this species (syn. nov.). However, this issue needs to be re-addressed by examination of the genitalia or DNA-analysis of the holotype.