Epicephala microcarpa 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

publication ID


publication LSID


persistent identifier


taxon LSID


treatment provided by

ZooKeys by Pensoft

scientific name

Epicephala microcarpa Li

sp. n.

Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Gracillariidae

Epicephala microcarpa Li  sp. n. Figs 6, 9, 12

Material examined.

237 males and 206 females, including all their genitalia preparations.

Holotype ♂ - CHINA:Hainan Province: Diaoluoshan, 18.xii.2012, reared from fruit of Phyllanthus microcarpus  Poir. by Zhibo Wang, genitalia slide no. WZB14371.

Paratypes - CHINA:Hainan Province: 3♂, 1♀, Nanxi Forestry Station, Diaoluoshan, Lingshui County, 300 m, 9-15.viii.2008, under light trap, leg. Bingbing Hu and Li Zhang; 4♂, 4♀, Diaoluoshan, 12-29.iv.2008, 11.xi-10.xii.2009, reared from fruits of Phyllanthus microcarpus  by Bingbing Hu, 12♂, 14♀, 18.xii.2012, reared from fruits of Phyllanthus microcarpus  by Zhibo Wang; 11♂, 11♀, Tropical Botanical Garden, Danzhou, 30.xi-28.xii.2009, reared from fruits of Phyllanthus microcarpus  by Bingbing Hu; 1♂, 3♀, Yinggeling Mountain Nature Reserves (19°01'N, 109°33'E), 450 m, 8-20.vi.2010, reared from Phyllanthus microcarpus  by Bingbing Hu; 3♂, 1♀, Jianfenling, 24.vi.2010, leg. Bingbing Hu. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: 171♂, 203♀, Shaoping Forestry Centre (22°05'N, 106°54'E), 200 m, Pingxiang, 22. vii– 12.viii.2011, 6. iv– 28.vii.2012, 27. iii– 22.vii.2013, reared from fruits of Phyllanthus microcarpus  by Xiaofei Yang (2♂, 2♀, deposited in BMNH). INDIA: 1♂, label 1: Surat, Bombay, RM. 24.1.[19]29; label 2: Epicephala vermiformis  , 1/2 Meyr., E. Meyrick det., in Meyrick Coll.; label 3: Meyrick Coll., B. M. 1938-390; label 4: B. M. Genitalia slide No. 32328, dissected by Houhun Li, deposited in the Natural History Museum, London (BMNH).


This species is similar to Epicephala exetastis  Meyrick, 1908 both in appearance by having similar densely compacted markings and in the genital structures. It can be separated from the latter in the female by the broad cone-shaped ovipositor, the inconspicuous lamella postvaginalis, the expanded antrum and ductus bursae, and the broad signa. In Epicephala exetastis  Meyrick, the ovipositor is slender, the lamella postvaginalis is conspicuous, the antrum and ductus bursae are narrow, and the signa are narrow in the female.


Adult (Fig. 6). Forewing expanse 5.0−7.5 mm. Head white to pale yellowish brown, lateral sides with long black scales. Labial palpus black, inner surface of second and distal portion of third segments mixed with white scales. Antenna dark brown, with narrow greyish white rings, more distinct on dorsal surface. Thorax white. Tegula with basal half brown, distal half greyish white. Forewing greyish brown to dark brown, markings dense and compact; three pairs of white striae from both costal and dorsal 2/3, 1/2 and 3/4 extending obliquely outward to middle and end of cell as well as outside of cell, dorsal striae broader and clearer than costal striae; basal 1/6 of dorsum with broad white band; a narrow silvery-white fascia with metallic reflection from costal 5/6 to dorsum, arched outward medially; distal 1/6 ochre brown, with a central black dot edged by a short white streak or a dot near costa, with a white band along dorsum; cilia greyish white except black at base and apex, adjacent white from costal margin along termen to tornus, then grey along dorsal margin. Hindwing and cilia greyish brown. Abdomen dark brown.

Male genitalia (Fig. 9). Tegumen broadly elliptical, lateral sides narrow and sclerotized. Valva rectangular, longer than tegumen, nearly parallel dorso-ventrally, apex obliquely rounded, with long dense setae ventrally. Sacculus narrowed, elongate triangular, approximately 4/5 length of valva, tapered to sharp or truncate apex distally; densely with long setae ventrally. Transtilla slender, S-shaped, curved downward distally, acute apically. Vinculum broad, nearly U-shaped; saccus slender, nearly the same length as vinculum, apex rounded. Phallus straight, approximately 3/4 length of valva; cornuti formed by dense spinules grouped into two bundles.

Female genitalia (Fig. 12). Ovipositor broad, cone-shaped, constricted basally, dentate laterally, acute apically. Apophysis posterioris strong, 1.2 times longer than apophysis anterioris. Lamella postvaginalis broad and very short, unconspicuous. Antrum thick, strongly sclerotized, nearly as long as 8th abdominal segment. Ductus bursae broad, slightly longer than antrum, basal 2/3 sclerotized with wide longitudinal pleats; ductus seminalis expanded, arising from base of ductus bursae. Corpus bursae oval, shorter than ductus bursae, medially with pair of large signa, apex of signum with two teeth.


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


China (Guangxi and Hainan), India (Bombay).


This new species is named after its host-plant Phyllanthus microcarpus  (Benth.).


One specimen of the new species collected in India was determinated as Epicephala vermiformis  Meyrick, 1936 by Meyrick himself. However, this specimen is quite different from the two Indonesian syntypes of Epicephala vermiformis  by having a distinctly narrower forewing (Natural History Museum, London, examined). Moreover, the host-plant of Epicephala vermiformis  is Cajanus cajan  (L.) ( Fabaceae  ) ( De Prins and De Prins 2014), while all species in the genus are host-specific.