Kessleria apenninica , Huemer, Peter & Mutanen, Marko, 2015

Huemer, Peter & Mutanen, Marko, 2015, Alpha taxonomy of the genus Kessleria Nowicki, 1864, revisited in light of DNA-barcoding (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae), ZooKeys 503, pp. 89-133: 89

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scientific name

Kessleria apenninica

sp. n.

Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Yponomeutidae

Kessleria apenninica  sp. n.

Type material.

Holotype. ♂, "Italia Prov. Rieti Monte Terminillo 13°00,6'E, 42°29,0'N 1730-1780 m, 16.7.2010 leg. Huemer TLMF 2010-020" "YPO 147 ♂ P. Huemer" "TLMF Lep 01662" (TLMF).

Paratypes. Italy: 1 ♂, same data, DNA barcode ID TLMF Lep 01661 (TLMF); 2 ♂, Prov. L´Aquila, NP Gran Sasso, ex Miniera di Lignite, 13°42,8'E, 42°25,6'N, 1750 m, 14.-15.7.2010, leg. Huemer, genitalia slide YPO 148 ♂ P. Huemer, DNA barcode IDs TLMF Lep 01663, TLMF Lep 01664 (TLMF).


Kessleria apenninica  is characterized by unusually slender forewings and a pure white colour with black pattern. Species from the Kessleria apenninica  -group are externally unmistakably distinguishable from one another both by wing pattern and colour (Figs 33-34, and Huemer and Tarmann 1992), but the genitalia of males are similar (Figs 35-38). However, in Kessleria apenninica  the saccus is distinctly shorter than in all other species with 0.23 vs. minimum 0.29 mm.


Male (Fig. 33). Head covered with whitish hair-like scales; antennae almost unicolorous dark grey with light grey apex; thorax and tegulae mixed dark grey and whitish. Forewing length 5.8-6.9 mm ( Ø 6.4 mm; n=4); forewing slender; ground colour white, mottled with black; black dots on veins and in terminal area; black patch near base and oblique blackish fascia at about 1/3 to 1/2; fringes white with indistinct dark grey fringe line. Hindwing dark grey, fringes with dark grey base, distal part white.

Female. Unknown.

Male genitalia (Figs 35-36). Socii long and slender, with apical spine; anterior margin of tegumen with medial process; gnathos broadly tongue-shaped, smooth; valva slender, length 0.61 mm, max width 0.19 mm; densely covered with long hairs in medial part and short setae on ventromedial margin, ventromedial part weakly convex, distal part with ventrally convex and dorsally projected apex, costa strongly sclerotized with indistinct distal dentation; sacculus oval, weakly confined, densely covered with strong setae; saccus short, about 0.24 mm, slender, about same width throughout, apex rounded; phallus 0.95 mm long, slender, uneverted vesica with ca. 0.35 mm long sclerotized apical part, including 3 short cornuti of about 0.22 mm length [hardly discernible in situ].

Female genitalia. Unknown.

Molecular data.

Kessleria apenninica  splits into two geographically separated haplogroups, which in our examination - based on limited material - did not reveal any morphological differences. The average intraspecific divergence of the barcode region is considerable with 1.05%, ranging from a minimum of 0% to a maximum of 1.69% (n=4). The minimum distance to the nearest neighbour Kessleria pyrenaea  is 5.47%.


The species name refers to the Apennines where all type specimens have been collected.


Only known from the Apennines in Central Italy.


Host-plant and early stages unknown, but the species probably feeds on an unidentified broad-leaved Saxifraga  species growing on steep rocks. The adults have been collected in the last third of July from light. The species occurs in rocky habitat on calcareous soil. Vertical distribution: from about 2100 m to 2200 m.