Pyropteron minianiformis ( Freyer, 1843 )

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: 25

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Pyropteron minianiformis ( Freyer, 1843 )


Pyropteron minianiformis ( Freyer, 1843)  

Together with P. triannuliformis   , this species occupies the largest range of all species in the genus. The eastern part of the range, however, is insufficiently known and may be divided into several areas with potentially large distribution gaps. For example, while the species is common in the Balkans, along the southern coast of Turkey and occurs in Armenia, Azerbaijan and parts of Iran, it appears to be absent from most of the Anatolian highland.

Based on DNA barcodes, P. minianiformis   splits into several distinct clades, which correlate well with distinct distribution areas. The most basal clade of the group is formed by specimens from Crete and represents the taxon nigrobarbata Rebel, 1916   , which currently is considered a synonym of P. minianiformis   . In addition to substantial barcode differences, specimens from Crete differ in their genitalia and external features when compared to specimens from the mainland. Thus, we consider P. nigrobarbata   a distinct species (stat. nov.). The remainder of the group still shows substantial heterogeneity, with barcode differences of up to 7.6%. It is represented by the minianiformis   clade, with specimens from Bulgaria and Greece, the destituta clade, with specimens from southern Turkey and Cyprus, and the xerxes clade with specimens from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Barcode differences also correlate with differences in the external and genitalia morphology. We therefore treat these three clades as distinct subspecies. However, the barcode differences are so substantial that these taxa could even be considered species. The xerxes clade is formed by two separate clusters, one from Armenia and Azerbaijan and one from north-eastern Iran. More material from the region is needed to test whether these differences justify further taxonomic recognition.