Epicephala impolliniferens Li

Li, Houhun, Wang, Zhibo & Hu, Bingbing, 2015, Four new species of Epicephala Meyrick, 1880 (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae) associated with two species of Glochidion (Phyllanthaceae) from Hainan Island in China, ZooKeys 508, pp. 53-67: 55-58

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Epicephala impolliniferens Li

sp. n.

Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Gracillariidae

Epicephala impolliniferens Li  sp. n. Figs 6, 10, 12, 16


Adult (Fig. 6). Forewing expanse 7.0−10.5 mm. Head white to yellowish white mixed with brown scales. Labial palpus white, inner surface with scattered grayish brown scales; distal 1/2 to 2/3 of second palpomere brown to dark brown on outer surface, third palpomere dark brown on outer surface except tip. Antenna grayish brown to dark brown, each flagellomere paler at base. Thorax white. Tegula dark brown. Forewing brown to dark brown; three pairs white striae from both costal and dorsal margins at 2/5, 2/3 and 3/4 extending obliquely outward to middle as well as to end and outside of cell, second dorsal stria longest and third costal stria shortest; dorsal margin with a broad white band extending from base to tornus; a silvery-white fascia with metallic reflection from costal 6/7 to dorsal margin, gently arched outward; distal 1/7 yellowish brown, with a central black dot, with an indistinct white dot at costa and a white streak along dorsal margin; cilia basally black, medially white, distally black from distal part of costal margin to apex, white from termen to tornus, gray along dorsal margin. Hindwing yellowish white (especially at base) to brown; cilia gray.

Male genitalia (Fig. 12). Tegumen broadly oval, sclerotized laterally. Costa as long as tegumen, slightly broadened at base, rounded at apex, with long dense setae ventrally, distal 4/5 nearly parallel dorso-ventrally; dorsal margin straight; ventral margin with lobed process obliquely outward. Sacculus elongate oval, about 3/4 length of costa, acute distally. Transtilla broad at base, narrowed triangularly, curved ventrad distally, acute apically. Vinculum V-shaped, rounded on posterior margin; saccus broad digitiform, as long as vinculum, slightly narrowed at base, rounded at apex. Phallus thick and straight, slightly longer than valva, gently thinned from base to apex; cornuti consisting of four to six spines, usually one or two large, compactly grouped into a bundle.

Female genitalia (Fig. 16). Ovipositor small, triangular, dentate laterally, acute apically. Apophysis posterioris obviously thick and strong, 1.5 times longer than apophysis anterioris. Lamella postvaginalis small, rounded, about twice as wide as ostium bursae. Antrum sclerotized, short, as long as lamella postvaginalis. Ductus bursae about same length of apophysis anterioris, membranous, with longitudinal parallel folds, compactly grouped into a broad, heavily sclerotized band extending from base to corpus bursae; ductus seminalis membranous, arising anterior of ductus bursae. Corpus bursae oval, small, about half length of ductus bursae, with reticulate patches medially; signum triangular, placed at middle.


This species is similar to Epicephala domina  sp. n. in appearance, but can be separated from the latter by the female proboscis without tip-dilated sensory setae (Fig. 10); in the male genitalia by the apex-rounded costa with a lobed process on ventral margin medially, the sacculus with apex elongate-acute, the phallus with four to six cornuti compactly grouped into a bundle; in the female genitalia by the apically acute ovipositor, the small rounded lamella postvaginalis, the antrum as long as the lamella postvaginalis, the ductus bursae about same length of apophysis anterioris. In Epicephala domina  sp. n., the female proboscis possesses a large number of tip-dilated sensory setae as most species in the genus (Fig. 9), which can hold numerous pollen grains for pollination; in the male genitalia the costa has an obliquely rounded apex and a rounded protuberance at 3/4 on ventral margin, the sacculus is shortly acute at apex, the cornutus is a rolled plate; in the female genitalia the ovipositor is bilobed at apex, the lamella postvaginalis consists of two triangles with acute apex; the antrum is as long as the ductus bursae, and the ductus bursae is about half length of the apophysis anterioris.


Epicephala impolliniferens  sp. n. is the first species of non-pollinating Epicephala  associated with Glochidion  , and the second named species within the genus (following Epicephala relictella  Kuznetzov, 1979) in which the female proboscis lacks the tip-dilated sensory setae on its surface for carrying pollens. Species of the genus Epicephala  are noteworthy for their obligate pollination habits, which involve mutualistic relationship with trees of Phyllanthaceae  . However, both Epicephala impolliniferens  sp. n. and Epicephala relictella  Kuznetzov are not associated with pollination in biology referring to the morphology of the female proboscis. Epicephala relictella  feeds on the seeds of Flueggea suffruticosa  (Pall.) Baill. ( Hu et al. 2011b). Kawakita and Kato (2009) reported several undescribed Epicephala  species that do not pollinate their hosts. We have confirmed one of them not belonging to the genus Epicephala  (unpublished data), and the status of the other undescribed species needs to be determined.

Type material.

48♂, 64♀, with genitalia preparations of 48♂ and 46♀.

Holotype ♂ − CHINA: Hainan Province: Yinggeling Mountain Nature Reserves (19°01'N, 109°33'E), 450 m, 11.i.2013, reared from host-plant Glochidion sphaerogynum  by Zhibo Wang, genitalia slide no. WZB14178.

Paratypes − CHINA: Hainan Province: 3♂, 5♀, Yinggeling Mountain Nature Reserves (19°01'N, 109°33'E), 450 m, 12.vi.2010, 18-26.ix.2010, leg. Bingbing Hu; 45♂, 58♀, same locality as holotype, 19.xii.2012-24.i.2013, 12.i.-20.ii2014, reared or collected from Glochidion sphaerogynum  by Zhibo Wang (2♂, 2♀, deposited in BMNH).


China (Hainan).


Larvae feed on seeds in the fruits of Glochidion sphaerogynum  ( Müll. Arg.) Kurz ( Phyllanthaceae  ).


The specific name is derived from the Latin im- (= not), pollinicus (= pollen) and ferre (= to carry, to bear), in reference to the non-pollinating habit.