Epicephala laeviclada Li

Li, Houhun & Yang, Xiaofei, 2015, Three new species of Epicephala Meyrick (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae) associated with Phyllanthusmicrocarpus (Benth.) (Phyllanthaceae), ZooKeys 484, pp. 71-81: 73-76

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Epicephala laeviclada Li

sp. n.

Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Gracillariidae

Epicephala laeviclada Li  sp. n. Figs 7, 10, 13

Material examined.

10 males and 5 females, including all their genitalia preparations.

Holotype ♂ - CHINA:Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: Shaoping Forestry Centre (22°05'N, 106°54'E), 200 m, Pingxiang, 20.vi.2012, reared from fruit of Phyllanthus microcarpus  (former identification Phyllanthus reticulatus var. glaber  ) by Xiaofei Yang, genitalia slide no. YXF14198.

Paratypes - CHINA:Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: 9♂, 4♀, same locality and host-plant as holotype, 26.vii.2011, 26. iv– 24.vi.2012, 27. iii– 14.iv.2013 collected under light or reared from fruits of host-plant. Hainan Province: 1♀, Tropical Botanical Garden, Danzhou, 30.xi.2009, reared from fruits of Phyllanthus microcarpus  (Benth.) by Bingbing Hu.


This species is similar to Epicephala microcarpa  sp. n. in appearance, but can be separated from the latter by the compacted sacculus with bluntly rounded apex that connects with a ridge in the inner surface of the valva, the stout bullet-like phallus with cornuti composed of spinules that are grouped into one bundle in the male; the cone-shaped lamella postvaginalis is conspicuous, and the corpus bursae with only one small signum in the female. In Epicephala microcarpa  sp. n., the sacculus is narrower and longer, and its apex is usually sharp and lacks a sclerotized ridge in the inner surface of the valva, and the straight phallus has cornuti composed of spinules that are grouped into two bundles in the male; the broad and very short lamella postvaginalis is unconspicuous, and the corpus bursae has a pair of large signa in the female.


Adult (Fig. 7). Forewing expanse 5.0−7.5 mm. Head white to greyish brown, lateral sides with long black scales. Labial palpus black, inner surface greyish white to black, basal 1/3 of second and both ends of third segments greyish white. Antenna dark brown, scape with long and narrow scales, flagellum with narrow greyish rings. Thorax white to greyish brown. Tegula brown, apically greyish white. Forewing brown to dark brown; three white striae from costal 1/4, 1/3 and 2/5 extending obliquely outward to 1/3 width of forewing; dorsum with broad white band along basal 1/3, serrated on upper edge, distally with a stria extending obliquely outward to middle of cell, with a small triangular white spot and an obliquely outward stria at middle and before 5/6, respectively; a narrow silvery-white fascia with metallic reflection from costal 5/6 to dorsum; distal 1/6 ochreous, with a central black spot edged by a white dot near costa and a white band along dorsum; cilia greyish white except black at basal margin and apex. Hindwing and cilia greyish brown. Abdomen dark brown.

Male genitalia (Fig. 10). Tegumen elongate elliptical, lateral sides narrow and sclerotized. Valva rectangular, somewhat longer than tegumen, nearly parallel dorso-ventrally, costal margin gently curved, apex rounded. Sacculus narrowed, compact, elongate triangular, approximately 2/3 length of valva, apex bluntly rounded and connected with sclerotized ridge obliquely arched to base of vinculum; sparsely with long setae ventrally. Transtilla S-shaped, stout basally, curved downward distally, acute apically. Vinculum short and broad, somewhat rectangular; saccus slender, nearly the same length as vinculum, apex bluntly rounded. Phallus stout, bullet-like, approximately 3/4 length of valva; cornuti composed of dense spinules grouped into a bundle.

Female genitalia (Fig. 13). Ovipositor broad, cone-shaped, dentate laterally, acute apically. Apophysis posterioris strong, 1.2 times longer than apophysis anterioris. Lamella postvaginalis situated at base of antrum medially, short cone-shaped, approximately 2/5 width of antrum, same length with width. Antrum thick, heavily sclerotized, slightly longer than 8th abdominal segment. Ductus bursae membranous, broadly expanded, as long as antrum; ductus seminalis expanded, arising from base of ductus bursae. Corpus bursae oval, shorter than ductus bursae, medially with a small semilunar signum.


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


China (Guangxi and Hainan).


The specific name is derived from the Latin laevis (smooth) and cladus (branch), in reference to individuals of the host-plant, Phyllanthus microcarpus  (Benth.), having glabrous branches.


The host-plant, Phyllanthus microcarpus  (Benth.), has glabrous and pubescent forms that were formerly identified as the varieties Phyllanthus reticulatus var. glaber  (glabrous) and Phyllanthus reticulatus var. reticulatus  (pubescent). However, Phyllanthus reticulatus  also has such forms, and other characters are needed to separate the two plant species. The larva of Epicephala laeviclada  sp. n. has only been found on the glabrous plants.