Vallichlora Viidalepp & Lindt

Viidalepp, Jaan & Lindt, Aare, 2019, A new Neotropical emerald moth genus based on some unusual “ artefacts ” (Lepidoptera: Geometridae, Geometrinae), Zootaxa 4691 (2), pp. 181-187: 182

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Vallichlora Viidalepp & Lindt

gen. nov.

Vallichlora Viidalepp & Lindt   , gen. nov.

(Figs 1–8)

Type species: Vallichlora rara Viidalepp & Lindt   , sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Wings green with pairs of white and grey-brown vein-spots on the ante- and postmedial lines; similar to some species of the Lissochlora albociliaria (Herrich-Schäffer)   group, especially those with large white spots on the first and third abdominal tergites. Male genitalia differ from all other nemoriine genera in the presence of a pair of digitate, erect processes of the tegumen, which are as long as the tegumen and vinculum together, termed here tentatively as socii. The gnathos is a broad loop with a roundish, spiculose cochlear (the cochlear, when present in nemoriine genera, is usually a hook-like process).

Description. Male antennae short-pectinate (pectinations less than three times width of flagellum), palpi short, just reaching ahead of frons. Venation of wings as described for Lissochlora Warren   by Pitkin (1993), the hindwing subcostal vein anastomosing with the foremargin of the discal cell at one point, and the veins M3 and CuA1 are connate. Hind tibia with two pairs of spurs present, the distance between spur pairs as long as, or shorter than the longest proximal spur. The hind tibial process is conical, 0.45–0.6 mm long. Head and body green (interantennal fillet white), abdominal tergites A1 and A3 have large white blotches surrounded by brown, A2 is green, tergites A4 and A5 have small white marks. Wing pattern is simple, plain green, postmedial and antemedial bands are represented by pairs of white and brown-grey vein-spots; discal spots are blackish at the cell-end of both wings.

Male genitalia features as listed in the diagnosis, and more detailed in species descriptions. Valvae parallelsided, the costal sclerite is well-fused with the valvula and its ventral margin (lacinia costalis) visible but not projecting. The distal-dorsal edge of the valva is thinly rugose and the ventral (saccular) edge of each valva is setose. The saccus is short and fairly rounded, the aedeagus is slender without cornuti, the last sternite is bilobed and with a midrib (central sclerotisation). Small hair pencils (the coremata) are attached to the vinculum. Females and biology are unknown.

The new genus Vallichlora Viidalepp & Lindt   , gen. nov. includes two new species, Vallichlora rara   sp. nov. and V. selva   , sp. nov., which have a pair of long, distal processes on the tegumen instead of an uncus. For details of wing markings and genitalia structures, see the description of the type species below.

Distribution. The described specimens were found among hundreds of selected and dissected “ Nemoria   and Lissochlora   ” adults over the last twenty years. We conclude therefore that these species are rare and possibly endangered. Small range territories are characteristic of some species of the related genus Nemoria Hübner   ( Carnfield et al. 2008). The species of Vallichlora   are distributed in tall tropical forests of low elevations along the foothills of the Andes from northern Ecuador to tropical Bolivia.

Etymology. This genus of emerald green moths (“chlora”) is named after Valli Viidalepp who has supported the lepidopterological investigations of the first author for more than fifty years.