Phyllonorycter ocimellus De Prins, 2012

Prins, Jurate De & Kawahara, Akito Y., 2012, Systematics, revisionary taxonomy, and biodiversity of Afrotropical Lithocolletinae (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), Zootaxa 3594 (1), pp. 1-283 : 146-148

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.3594.1.1

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scientific name

Phyllonorycter ocimellus De Prins

new species

55. Phyllonorycter ocimellus De Prins , new species

( Figs 106 View FIGURES 105–110 , 268–270 View FIGURES 265–270 , 345 View FIGURES 345–346 , 406 View FIGURES 403–414 , 431 View FIGURES 427–431 , 440 View FIGURES 437–440 )

Diagnosis. Freshly emerged moths of P. ocimellus have distinctive deep ochreous ground colour of forewings, very slender and weakly edged fascia, rather large area of dark brown–blackish scales at termen. Relying only on genital characters, P. ocimellus can be superficially confused with P. farensis , P. rhynchosiae and P. fletcheri . All four species possess a long saccus, a very long aedoeagus, and bluntly pointed valva bearing one projection. P. ocimellus can be superficially confused with P. farensis , but a narrow transtilla, shorter saccus, and 14-ray stellate signum on bursa copulatrix of females distinguish P. ocimellu s from P. farensis . P. ocimellus differs from P. farensis , P. fletcheri , and P. rhynchosiae in having longer valvae with a curved ventral margin; and the transtilla in P. ocimellus is moderate with lateral apophyses longer than horizontal bar of transtilla. Female genitalia of P. ocimellus and other species of the rhynchosiae group (except P. mida and P. mwatawalai ) are similar in having a large boomerang-like fold of the sterigma, an oval signum area, and a stellate signum on the corpus bursae. The star-like signum edged by 14 dentate rays in the female genitalia of P. ocimellus distinguishes it from all other species.

Holotype: ♂, [1] ‘ Kenya / Taita Hills, 1600 m / Ngangao / 03°22’S 38°21’E / mine 09.iv.2001 / leg. J. & W. De Prins’; [2] ‘ex Ocimum suave Willd. / 24.iv.2001 ’; [3] ‘Gen. Prep. 3692♂ / De Prins’; [4] ‘MRAC/KMMA / 00352’; specimen ID: [5] ‘ RMCA ENT 000003353 ’; [6] ‘Holotype ♂ / Phyllonorycter / ocimellus / De Prins, 2012 ’, in RMCA. GoogleMaps

Paratypes: 4♂, 5♀ (including 3♂ and 2♀ genitalia preparations). Kenya: 3♂, Taita Hills, 1600 m, Ngangao, 03°22’S 38°21’E, mine Ocimum suave , 09.iv.2001, leg. J. & W. De Prins; ex Ocimum suave Willd. , 13.iv.2001, 24.iv.2001, 03.v.2001, gen. prep. De Prins 3400♂ (MRAC/KMMA 00349), 3402♂ (MRAC/KMMA 00350), specimen IDs: RMCA ENT 000003351, 000003352, in RMCA, 1♂ in BMNH. 5♀, same locality data, ex Ocimum suave Willd. , from 13.iv.2001 to 26.iv.2001, gen prep. De Prins 3401♀ (MRAC/KMMA 00460), 3693♀ (MRAC/ KMMA 00353), specimen IDs: RMCA ENT 000003350, 000003356, 000003357, 000003364; in RMCA, 1♀ in BMNH, 1♀, specimen ID: RMCA ENT 000003264, DNA voucher CLV12707, in CCDB. 1♂, Kakamega Forest, 00°20’N 034°51’E, 1645 m, mine 14.x.2001, leg. J. De Prins; e.l. Ocimum gratissimum L. ( Lamiaceae /Labiateae) 03.xi.2001, gen. prep. De Prins 3408♂ (MRAC/KMMA 00351), specimen ID: RMCA ENT 000003355, in RMCA.

Description. Adult ( Fig. 106 View FIGURES 105–110 ). Forewing length: 3.1–3.4 mm (Holotype: 3.41 mm)

Head: Vertex tufted, projected medially over fronto-clypeus, piliform scales ochreous with intermixed white, predominantly posteriorly; frons white with faint touch of golden sheen. Haustellum developed, light beige. Maxilary palpus golden white. Labial palpus drooping, golden whitish, 1.5× as long as diameter of compound eye, with a few dark brown scales laterally. Antennae almost as long as forewing with 39–40 flagellomeres, chestnut brown intermixed with white and ochreous piliform scales dorsally and dirty white ventrally; pedicel whitish with a few chestnut brown scales dorsally forming an irregular patch; scape ochreous dorsally and dirty white ventrally, pecten very short.

Thorax: Ochreous with white, irregular, arc-line anteriorly; tegulae brown with yellowish white bases. Forewing elongate, ground colour dark ochreous, with white markings consisting of very short basal streak, two fasciae, two costal strigulae and one dorsal strigula; basal streak very short, a few white scales, first fascia at 1/6, narrow, twice curved, oblique towards costa, not clearly edged but a few black edging scales can be found at costal sector of first fascia (holotype and 4 paratypes, 2 paratypes without any black scaling at first fascia); second fascia broader than first fascia, almost straight, gently narrowing and with a slight curve at midline of forewing, edged mainly basally with a few black scales apically at middle of second fascia, a row of black scales runs along dorsal margin of forewing between first and second fascia; 1 costal at 3/4, small triangular shape, reaching 1/4 of forewing width, sparsely edged on both sides, first dorsal strigula opposite first costal strigula, small triangular shape, reaching to 1/4 of forewing; a broad intermediate ochreous area separating first strigulae with a small area of black scales, forming reactangular spot which extends from top of first costal strigula to middle of forewing; second costal strigula irregular hardly visible at apical area surrounded by black scales become more numerous at termen; fringe line is not clearly expressed, but a short line of brown scales is present at outer margin of tornus; fringe long, light fuscous, with golden shine to tornus, bright ochreous at tornus, and short pale ochreous at apex. Hindwing greyish fuscous with fringe of same colour as hindwing but tinged with golden shine towards apex. Legs white with dark fuscous markings; fore coxa dirty whitish, femur dark fuscous dorsally, whitish ventrally, tibia fuscous, tarsomere I dark brown with median dirty white patch, tarsomere II with dirty white basal and dark fuscous apical halves, tarsomere III dirty white with fuscous apex, tarsomeres IV dark fuscous, tarsomere V dirty white. Mid-femur pale beige with a few brown scales, tibia brownish fuscous with dirty white median band, tibial spurs dirty white with fuscous median patch, tarsomeres dirty white with dark fuscous subapical band, tarsomere II dirty white with fuscous apex proceeding on tarsomere III, tarsomeres IV-V dirty white. Hind femur dirty white with fuscous basal patch, tibia dirty white basal half with few fuscous scales laterally and fuscous apical half, medial spurs fuscous with dirty white bases and apices, apical spurs dity white with median brownish fuscous patch, tarsomere I dirty white with fuscous subapix, tarsomeres II–III dirty white with fuscous apical half, tarsomeres IV–V dirty white.

Abdomen: Dark fuscous dorsally, light grey ventrally. Sternite VIII in males broad and short, strongly sclerotized at subbasal lateral margin, gently rounded at apex.

Male genitalia ( Figs 268–270 View FIGURES 265–270 ). Tegumen rather short, poorly sclerotized, slightly enlarged subdorsally, narrowing posteriorly forming triangle covered with microsinules and microtrichiae (seen at 200× enlargement), tuba analis not protruding. Valva sclerotized, costal margin gently curved, ventral margin almost parallel to costal to 1/2 of valval length, apical half of valva sharply narrowing and ends with blunt apex; ventral margin of valva with weakly sclerotized, ellipsoid, eye-shaped projection which starts at middle of ventral margin of valva, runs parallel to valval margin, and not extends beyond apex; numerous micro tubercules and long setae as long as width of projection dispersed along entire ventral surface of valval projection, more dense at ventral margin of projection; a slender, sclerotized line running parallel to ventral margin of valva, a second strongly sclerotized, dentate line adorned with 5 short, medially directed teeth on lateral surface of valva from middle to apex; apical 3/4 of ventral surface of valva covered with scale tubercules and soft long setae. Vinculum moderate width, strongly sclerotized U-shaped, ventral section of same width, with slender cylindrical saccus 1.5× length of valva, slightly broadering and bulged caudally; transtilla well developed, thickly sclerotized, U-shaped, with broader horizontal bar and sharp lightly tapering lateral apophyses. Aedoeagus, very long, almost 2× as long as valva and about 1.4× as long as saccus, cylindrical, gently narrowing from broader coecum to very narrow vesica; vesica with two long, thick, rodlike cornuti, ca. 1/3 length of aedoeagus.

Female genitalia ( Figs 345 View FIGURES 345–346 ). Papillae anales wide and flat with rather abundant long setation on whole posterior sector, especially toward midden area; basal bar thickly sclerotized, narrow, widening ventrad at bases of posterior apophyses; a slender needle-like well sclerotized projection going from posterior sector of papillae anales and reaching posterior margin of segment VII. Posterior apophyses straight, blunt needle-shaped, strongly sclerotized, especially basal and apical thirds, reaching beyond ostium bursae to middle of segment VII. Segment VIII slightly longer than papillae anales weakly connected with lateral sclerotized connections. Anterior apohyses slightly shorter than posterior one, straight, narrow, parallel to each other with blunt apices, reaching anterior 1/4 of segment VII. Ostium bursae circular, located in posterior 1/3 of segment VII, antrum thickly sclerotized and shaped as sclerotized round cup covered with minute scobination; sterigma with lamella antevaginalis forming large sclerotized boomerang-like fold, occupying midden sector of segment VII. Ductus bursae twice as long as sternum VII, very slender; with short and thicker sclerotized antrum. Ductus seminalis arising from anterior end of antrum. Ductus spermathecae with efferent canal forming 21 coils having smaller diameter before vesicle; vesicle in posterior sector of segment VI. Corpus bursae moderate, rounded, consisting of two sectors, large semirounded area covered with fine short spines and smooth area with circular signum located subterminally; stellate signum set with 5 fine spines which are assembled close to each other inside circle, directed laterally and 14 broad marginal dentate rays.

DNA sequences. A DNA barcode is available (Molecular sample code: Poci [JX888192]; Table S1 View TABLE 1 ).

Etymology. The species name is formed from the root of the host plant generic name Ocimum and the Latin suffix –ellus, having a diminutive meaning. Latin ending –us denotes masculine gender.

Habitat. Mines of P. ocimellus have been found in humid, secondary forests at an altitude of around 1600 m ( Fig. 440 View FIGURES 437–440 ).

Host plant(s). Lamiaceae : Ocimum gratissimum L. (= O. suave Willd. ) ( Fig. 431 View FIGURES 427–431 ).

Mine. An underside tentiform mine, elongate or oval, 16–19 mm long. The mine is opaque, creamy or light brown. Pupation in white cocoon. Exuvium protrudes epidermis of leaf before adult emergence. Mines were found locally but abundant in a small area at the edge of a forest where mostly Ocimum suave was growing among other green low vegetation. The constant green vegetation in Taita Hills is due to the high humidity of 80% and low temperature (ca. 18°C) on the Ngangao top of the Taita Hills in early April. A single mine was found in mid-October after the short rainy season at the edge of Kakamega Forest, where O. gratissimum is abundant.

Flight period. Adult specimens emerged from mines in mid-April, early May and early November.

Distribution. ( Fig. 406 View FIGURES 403–414 ). Known only from the type locality in East Kenya and one locality in West Kenya.


Belgium, Tervuren, Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale


Royal Museum for Central Africa


Crustacean Collection of the Department of Biology