Kessleria alpmaritimae , 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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Kessleria alpmaritimae

sp. n.

Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Yponomeutidae

Kessleria alpmaritimae  sp. n.

Type material.

Holotype. ♂, "FRANKREICH Dep. Alpes Maritimes Marguareis W-Hang Navela 2100-2200 m 21. –23.7.1990“„ leg. Huemer, Tarmann “„ YPO 79 ♂ P. Huemer" (TLMF).

Paratypes. France: 9 ♂, 5 ♀, same data, genitalia slide YPO 55 ♂ P. Huemer (TLMF); 7 ♂, 2 ♀, same data, but 18.-19.7.1991, DNA barcode IDs TLMF Lep 01850, TLMF Lep 01851, TLMF Lep 03100, TLMF Lep 03101, TLMF Lep 03102, TLMF Lep 03103 (TLMF); 3 ♂, 5 ♀, same data, but 23.7.1990 (TLMF); 1 ♂, same data, but Punta Marguareis, 2450-2650 m, 23.7.1990 (TLMF).


Kessleria alpmaritimae  resembles other taxa of Kessleria alternans  -group in wing markings and colour (Figs 2-11), but the male with average forewing length of only 8.05 mm (n=6) is distinctly smaller than Kessleria wehrlii  with 8.75 mm (n=13) and Kessleria alternans  with 8.55 mm (n=26) and larger than Kessleria cottiensis  with only 7.59 mm (n=14). Kessleria dimorpha  with an average forewing length of 8.25 mm (n=6) is similar in size, but clearly differs by the largely reduced whitish suffusion of the forewing, a character stage which also applies to Kessleria cottiensis  and Kessleria alternans  , whereas Kessleria wehrlii  is intensely mottled whitish. The female with forewing length of only 6.06 mm (n=3) is distinctly smaller than that of Kessleria alternans  with 7.58 mm (n=11), but hardly separable from other species in size. Compared to the genetically nearest neighbour Kessleria dimorpha  , the hindwings are less reduced and the ground colour of the forewing is much lighter. The female of Kessleria wehrlii  is insufficiently described due to limited material, and the females of Kessleria cottiensis  and Kessleria alpmaritimae  are indistinguishable. The male genitalia differ from Kessleria cottiensis  by the medially weakly widened valva, from Kessleria alternans  by the more slender cornuti, from the nearest neighbour Kessleria wehrlii  by three instead of four cornuti, and from Kessleria dimorpha  by the distinctly longer phallus (1.52-1.58 mm vs. 1.32-1.36 mm) (Figs 12-21).

The female genitalia show no diagnostic characters to related species of the Kessleria alternans  -group (Figs 22-31).


Male (Fig. 10). Head covered with erected whitish hair-like scales; antennae dark grey-brown, indistinctly lighter ringed; thorax and tegulae dark grey-brown. Forewing length 7.0-8.5 mm ( Ø 8.05 mm; n=6); ground colour blackish to dark grey-brown, intensely mottled with whitish scales, particularly from basal fifth to 4/5; veins with distinct black dots, particularly along costa, subcosta, cubital and anal veins, medial and radial veins with indistinct brown lines; oblique blackish fascia at about 1/3 to 1/2 indistinct; termen dark grey-brown; fringes light grey, with slightly darker base and indistinct fringe linge. Hindwing dark grey, fringes light greyish-white with slightly darker base.

Female (Fig. 11). Head covered with erected whitish hair-like scales; antennae grey-brown, indistinctly ringed whitish; thorax and tegulae whitish. Forewing length 5.9-6.3 mm ( Ø 6.06 mm; n=3); ground colour whitish, mottled with few black scales, particularly along veins, patches of black scales near base and at distal end of cell; oblique blackish fascia at about 1/3 to 1/2 distinct, separated into two dashes; termen whitish with some blackish dots in apical part; fringes white. Hindwing grey, fringes whitish-grey.

Male genitalia (Figs 20-21). Socii long and slender, with apical spine; anterior margin of tegumen with medial process; gnathos broadly tongue-shaped, smooth; valva moderately slender, length 0.72-0.76 mm, medially weakly widened, maximum width of about 0.26-0.27 mm, densely covered with long hairs in medial part and short setae on ventromedial margin, ventromedial part weakly convex, distal part slender with ventrally convex and dorsally projected apex, costa strongly sclerotized with weak distal dentation; sacculus oval, weakly confined, densely covered with strong setae; saccus short, about 0.32-0.33 mm, stout, about same width throughout, apex rounded; phallus ca. 1.52-1.58 mm long and slender, straight, apically with distinct reticulate sculpture, uneverted vesica with ca. 0.62-0.66 mm long sclerotized part, three prominent needle-shaped, one single, the other basally connected, cornuti of about 0.42-0.44 mm in length.

Female genitalia (Figs 26, 31). Genitalia ca. 4.9 mm in length; papilla analis large, densely covered with long setae; apophysis posterior rod like, ca. 0.76 mm, about length of apophysis anterior; apophysis anterior rod like; posterior part bifurcated with straight dorsal and inwardly curved ventral branch; lamella postvaginalis with large sclerotized mediolateral patches, covered with microtrichia, medial area less sclerotized, posterolateral part with hump, covered with some long setae; ostium bursae membranous; antrum weakly sclerotized, funnel-shaped; ductus bursae very long, ca. 2.4 mm, from entrance of ductus seminalis to transition into corpus bursae covered with finely granulous sculpture, particularly in posterior and anterior part, ductus bursae extended into posterior part of corpus bursae, entrance to corpus bursae weakly widened; corpus bursae well delimited, about 1.2 mm in length, ovoid, with largely reduced plate-like signum.

Molecular data.

The average intraspecific divergence of the barcode region is 0.0% (n=6). The minimum distance to the nearest neighbour Kessleria wehrlii  is 1.87%, whereas the minimum divergence to Kessleria cottiensis  , Kessleria dimorpha  and Kessleria alternans  ranges from 2.98% and 3.64% to 3.75%, respectively.


The species name is a made-up word which refers to the area of the type locality, the Alpes Maritimes.


(Fig. 32). Only known from the type locality, the Marguareis Massif, in the French Alpes Maritimes.


Host-plant and early stages unknown. The adults have been collected in the last third of July during the day, flying freely in the morning hours and flushed out from their resting places with a bee-smoker. The species occurs in rocky habitat on calcareous soil. Vertical distribution: from about 2100 m to 2650 m.


Kessleria alpmaritimae  described here was already suspected to be distinctive from Kessleria alternans  by Huemer and Tarmann (1992), who illustrated adults (Figs 8-9).