Lirabotys infuscalis (Zeller, 1852) Mally & Aarvik & Karisch & Lees & Malm, 2022

Mally, Richard, Aarvik, Leif, Karisch, Timm, Lees, David C. & Malm, Tobias, 2022, Revision of Afrotropical Udea Guenee in Duponchel, 1845, with description of five new species of the U. ferrugalis (Huebner, 1796) group (Lepidoptera, Crambidae, Spilomelinae), Nota Lepidopterologica 45, pp. 315-353 : 315

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Lirabotys infuscalis (Zeller, 1852)

comb. nov.

Lirabotys infuscalis (Zeller, 1852) comb. nov.

Figs 10 View Figures 6–10 , 20 View Figures 11–20 , 33-34 View Figures 33–34

Botys infuscalis Zeller, 1852: 41-42. Type locality: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal.

Material examined.

Holotype: South Africa • ♂; [handwritten] " Botys | infusalis [sic!]"; "Caffra- | ria."; [handwritten] " 196 "; [small blue rectangular label without text]; unique specimen identifier NHRS-TOBI000003347; NHRS . Additional material: South Africa • 1 ♂; Gauteng, Mogale's Gate Biodiversity Centre ; 1420 m; 25°56.4667'S, 27°38.7833'E; 13 Feb. 2012; A. Hausmann leg.; DNA Barcode voucher [turquoise label] BC ZSM Lep 66598; ZSM GoogleMaps 1 ♂; same collection data as for preceding; 1500 m; 25°56.8667'S, 27°37.35'E; 14 Feb. 2012; DNA Barcode voucher [turquoise label] BC ZSM Lep 66756; Mally genitalia dissection no. 1067; ZSM GoogleMaps 2 ♀♀; same collection data as for preceding; 1660 m; 25°56.4667'S, 27°37.6'E; 16 Feb. 2012; Mally genitalia dissection no. 1066; Mally genitalia dissection no. 1068; ZSM GoogleMaps .


Externally, L. infuscalis is easiest distinguished from Afrotropical Udea species by the long, slender forewings and the presence of a frenulum hook in the male’s forewing. Lirabotys infuscalis (Fig. 10 View Figures 6–10 ) differs from L. liralis (Legrand, 1966), the type species of Lirabotys Shaffer & Munroe, 2007, and from L. prolausalis (Walker, 1859) (see e.g. digitised holotype specimen of syn. Botys longalis Walker, 1866 at in the wing maculation: L. liralis and L. prolausalis lack the proximal discoidal stigma, the distal discoidal stigma is a narrow arched line, and the postmedial line is traceable from costa to anal margin, and lacks the zigzag cource of L. infuscalis . It differs from Lirabotys liralis in the male genitalia (Fig. 33 View Figures 33–34 ) in the shape of tegumen, sacculus, fibula, valva apex, and juxta, and in the size and number of phallus cornuti; in the female genitalia (Fig. 34 View Figures 33–34 ) in the shape of the antrum, and the absence of a signum. The genitalia of L. profusalis (or its synonym Botys longalis ) have not been studied.

Description of adults.

Head: Haustellum well developed, with cream-coloured scaling at base. Labial palps long, straight anteriad, basal meron and ventral side of second meron cream, rest sandy yellow; length of labial palps identical in both sexes. Maxillary palps well developed and long enough to touch each other at apex, sandy yellow. Frons rounded, sandy yellow to cream-coloured with white lateral margins, especially at antenna bases. Complex eyes large, hemispherical. Antennae cream, ciliae short, about 1/4 of antennomeres’ diameter. Ocelli present behind antenna base near compound eye. Thorax: Dorsum sandy yellow to cream, venter and legs cream like basal meron of labial palps; midlegs with 1 pair of tibial spurs, hindleg with 2 pairs of tibial spurs. Wings: (Fig. 10 View Figures 6–10 ) Forewing length 10.5-11.5 mm. Male and female with one frenulum bristle, in male fixed by a frenulum hook. Upper side of forewings orangish, veins in distal part somewhat darker; antemedial line not evident; discoidal stigmata brown, roundish dots, distal stigma about twice as large as proximal one; postmedial line somewhat darker than ground colour, emerging from 3/4 of forewing length, arching towards termen to about the level of discoidal stigmata, then running in a zigzag line towards area below distal discoidal stigma, then fading and not traceable anymore; termen a dashed line the colour of the postmedial line; fringe uniformly pale orangish-beige. Underside of forewings pale orangish, interspersed with brownish scales especially in apex and along costa; maculation matches that of upper side, but more contrasted, brown; termen with black dashed line, more prominent than in upper side; fringe as in upper side. Hindwings on upper side uniformly beige with an orangish hue, basal area darker orangish, veins and intervenal folds brownish, especially towards termen; a very vague postmedial line may be visible in the central part of its course; termen like in forewing but with shorter dashes; fringe like in forewing. Underside of hindwings uniformly beige, interspersed with brownish scales along costal and apico-terminal margins; proximal discoidal stigma as a rounded brown dot the size of the same stigma in the forewings’ upper side; postmedial line more prominent then on upper side, consisting of a sparse line of brownish scales; termen with dashed line matching the pattern on the upper side, as prominent as in forewings’ underside; fringe as in upper side.

Abdomen: Dorsum sandy yellow like rest of upper side; venter cream like ventral thorax and basal meron of labial palps. Tympanal organs (Fig. 20 View Figures 11–20 ) with ovate bullae tympani; fornix tympani projecting ventrad from tympanic frame; very short, broad lobulus; venulae secundae converging in a V-shape at about 80°. Male genitalia: (Fig. 33 View Figures 33–34 ) Uncus head consisting of two sharply separated lateral lobes arching from a bulbous anterior part over uncus apex ventrad into a larger, oval part densely studded with stout bifid chaetae; tegumen long, slightly tapering from connection with vinculum towards uncus, ventral tegumen on each side with a short bullous ventrad protrusion; large oval transtilla arms sparsely studded with chaetae, and without any apparent connection of arms, no transtilla inferior sensu Marion (1954) present; vinculum somewhat rectangular, with a short U-shaped saccus; juxta large, elongate ovate, with a deep U-shaped central recession in its sclerotization, reaching from apex about 70% towards juxta base. Valvae elongate ovate; costa thin at base, widening in basal half of valva; costal margin straight to slightly concave; ventral valva margin with most of basal 2/3 straight, then concavely bending into straight distal 1/3 that leads into evenly rounded valva apex; sacculus large, stretching along basal 40% of ventral valva margin and across half the valva width, dorsal sacculus margin with broad central U-shaped recession in sacculus sclerotization, dorsodistal edge in close association with fibula base. Fibula emerging from oval base situated ventrally of thickened costa, fibula forming a slender, long claw-shaped structure directed ventrad towards distal sacculus end on ventral valva margin, slightly reaching over this margin. Phallus roughly cylindrical, slightly bent dorsad, apodeme evenly sclerotised, thinnest directly posterior of Ductus seminalis; no phallus coecum present. Vesica with large cluster of small needle-like cornute, posterior to these (in uneverted vesical) a granulose area of minute short teeth. Female genitalia: (Fig. 34 View Figures 33–34 ) Papillae anales simple, with long chaetae. Apophyses posteriores slender, with a slight central angle bending distal half dorsad; apophyses anteriores about twice as long as apophyses posteriores, more or less straight, somewhat thicker, widest at 1/3 length from base. Antrum simple, membranous with a fine granulose texture, broadly funnel-shaped. Colliculum tubular, short, as long as broad, sclerotised except for a broad longitudinal membranous dorsal strip. Ductus bursae long, membranous, short posterior thin section between colliculum and ductus ejaculatorius somewhat wrinkled, ductus continuously broadening into corpus bursae without clear distinction between ductus and corpus bursae. Ductus ejaculatorius attached close to colliculum, membranous. Corpus bursae large, ovate, membranous, without signum or any other sclerotisation. Appendix bursae absent.


So far only known from South Africa, where it is recorded in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces ( Zeller 1852; Hampson 1898).

Genetic data.

DNA Barcode BIN BOLD:ABW0593. All COI sequences available on BOLD have the identical nucleotide sequence, and this sequence was used as consensus sequence for the phylogenetic analyses. In the BOLD identification tool, the DNA Barcode of L. infuscalis had the closest match with Agrotera discinotata Swinhoe, 1894, with a sequence similarity of 92.38% (after a pierid butterfly identified as Moschoneura ela ela with 92.83% similarity; the last sequence [MT787484] is packed with N’s and should ideally be removed from the BOLD database as uninformative).


The holotype of this species is also illustrated on the website of the NHRS ( We place this species in Lirabotys based on several similarities between Botys infuscalis and Lirabotys liralis (Legrand, 1966), the generic type species (see Shaffer and Munroe 2007): both share a similar wing shape and maculation, the male bears a frenulum hook, and in the male genitalia, the uncus head consists of two lateral lobes densely studded with chaetae, the valvae have a similar elongate shape, and the slender, long fibulae emerge from the same area on the valva. However, there are also differences between the two species: in the male genitalia, the tegumen is of a different structure, the juxta differs in shape (small and lanceolate in L. liralis ), as does the sacculus, and the phallus bears multiple needle-like cornuti (versus a single "spine-like cornutus about half length of [phallus]" in L. liralis ( Shaffer and Munroe 2007); the female genitalia lack the lateral projections of the antrum and the strong four-armed signum of L. liralis .

The fornix tympani of the tympanal organ is projecting ventrad from the tympanic frame, a unique synapomorphy of Spilomelinae (characters 22:0 and 23:0 in Mally et al. 2019). This observation challenges the placement of Lirabotys in Pyraustinae , or the treatment of this character as synapomorphy of Spilomelinae - a contradiction that demands further research.

With the transfer of L. infuscalis , Lirabotys now comprises six species, all Afrotropical in distribution ( Nuss et al. 2003-2022).














Lirabotys infuscalis (Zeller, 1852)

Mally, Richard, Aarvik, Leif, Karisch, Timm, Lees, David C. & Malm, Tobias 2022

Botys infuscalis

Mally & Aarvik & Karisch & Lees & Malm 2022