Epicephala tertiaria Li

Li, Houhun & Yang, Xiaofei, 2015, Three new species of Epicephala Meyrick (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae) associated with Phyllanthusmicrocarpus (Benth.) (Phyllanthaceae), ZooKeys 484, pp. 71-81: 77-79

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Epicephala tertiaria Li

sp. n.

Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Gracillariidae

Epicephala tertiaria Li  sp. n. Figs 8, 11, 14

Material examined.

21 males and 14 females, including all their genitalia preparations.

Holotype ♂ - CHINA:Guangdong Province: South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, (23°11'N, 113°22'E), 210 m, 22.ii.2006, reared from fruit of Phyllanthus microcarpus  (former identification Phyllanthus reticulatus var. glaber  ) by Houhun Li, genitalia slide no. YXF14039.

Paratypes - CHINA:Guangdong Province: 11♂, 7♀, same data as holotype; 7♂, 4♀, same locality and host-plant, vii-viii.2006, collected mature larvae by Shixiao Luo and reared to adults by Houhun Li. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: 2♀, Shaoping Forestry Centre (22°05'N, 106°54'E), 200 m, Pingxiang, 24, 29.vi.2012, reared from fruit of Phyllanthus microcarpus  (former identification Phyllanthus reticulatus var. reticulatus  ) by Xiaofei Yang; 2♂, same locality, 27.iii, 10.iv.2013, reared from fruit of Phyllanthus microcarpus  by Xiaofei Yang, whether the plants are glabrous or pubescent was not recorded.


This species is similar to Epicephala microcarpa  sp. n. in both appearance and genitalia, but can be separated from the latter by distal 1/6 of the forewing having a broad white band along costa; the narrower valva as long as the tegumen and rounded at apex, and the narrower and shorter sacculus approximately 2/3 length of the valva in the male; the ovipositor not constricted basally, the lamella postvaginalis digitated, the ductus bursae membranous, and the smaller corpus bursae with very minute signa in the female. In Epicephala microcarpa  sp. n., the forewing has a short white streak or a dot near costa in distal 1/6; the valva is broader and longer than the tegumen and its apex is oblique, the sacculus is somewhat broader and approximately 4/5 length of the valva in the male; the ovipositor is constricted at base, the lamella postvaginalis is unconspicuous, basal 2/3 of the ductus bursae is sclerotized and densely covered with longitudinal wide pleats, and the signa are large in the female.


Adult (Fig. 8). Forewing expanse 6.0−8.5 mm. Head cream white, with dark brown laterally. Labial palpus black, inner surface and outer ventral margin of second segment white, inner surface of third segment white to greyish brown. Antenna dark brown, with narrow greyish white rings. Thorax white. Tegula and forewing brown to dark brown; forewing with three pairs of white striae from both costal and dorsal 1/4, 2/3 and 3/4 extending obliquely outward to middle and end of cell as well as outside of cell respectively, costal striae narrow, inconsecutive and usually indistinct, dorsal striae broad and clear, latter two striae inconsecutive; dorsum with a broad white band along basal 1/3; a narrow silvery-white fascia bearing bluish metallic reflection from costal 5/6 to dorsum, arched outward medially; distal 1/6 ochreous, with a central black dot near fascia at 5/6, with broad white band along costa and dorsum; cilia along termen to tornus pale grey except black at base and ochre brown at apex. Hindwing and cilia pale grey. Abdomen greyish brown.

Male genitalia (Fig. 11). Tegumen broadly elliptical, lateral sides narrow and sclerotized. Valva narrowed, rectangular, as long as tegumen, slightly narrowed medially, gently curved upward, apex rounded, with long dense setae ventrally. Sacculus narrowed, approximately 2/3 length of valva, tapered to sharp apex. Transtilla slender, curved downward, acute apically. Vinculum broad, nearly U-shaped; saccus slender, shorter than vinculum, apex acute. Phallus broad, straight, approximately 3/4 length of valva; cornuti composed of dense spinules.

Female genitalia (Fig. 14). Ovipositor broad, cone-shaped, dentate laterally, acute apically. Apophysis posterioris strong, 1.2 times longer than apophysis anterioris. Lamella postvaginalis digitated, arising from base of antrum medially, 1/4 length of apophysis anterioris, apex rounded. Antrum developed, cylindrical, straight, longer than 8 th abdominal segment. Ductus bursae narrow, membranous, shorter than antrum; ductus seminalis expanded, broader than ductus bursae, arising from base of ductus bursae. Corpus bursae oval, small, as long as ductus bursae; paired signa placed anteriorly, small, short linear.


Phyllanthaceae  : Phyllanthus microcarpus  (Benth.). The larva feeds on seeds in the fruit.


China (Guangdong and Guangxi).


The specific name is derived from the Latin tertiarius (third), indicating that this is the third species reared from the host-plant Phyllanthus microcarpus  (Benth.).


The larvae were reared from glabrous individuals of Phyllanthus microcarpus  in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, and from pubescent individuals of Phyllanthus microcarpus  in Pingxiang, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Both glabrous and pubescent forms are now treated as one species ( Luo et al. 2011). This interesting phenomenon may have some significance in the coevolution between the Epicephala  moths and the Phyllanthaceae  plants.