Morabia nigripunctata ( Warren, 1897 ) László & Hausmann, 2022

László, Gyula M. & Hausmann, Axel, 2022, Taxonomic review of the genus Morabia Hausmann & Tujuba, 2020 with descriptions of two new species and introducing five new generic combinations (Lepidoptera, Geometridae, Ennominae), Zootaxa 5134 (2), pp. 215-237 : 218-220

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.5134.2.3

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Morabia nigripunctata ( Warren, 1897 )

comb. nov.

Morabia nigripunctata ( Warren, 1897) View in CoL , comb. n.

( Figs 3–6 View FIGURES 1–10 , 22–25 View FIGURES 20–28 , 36–37 View FIGURES 35–42 )

Ectropis nigripunctata Warren (1897) View in CoL : 93. Syntypes, male and female, Nigeria, Warri, coll. NHMUK.

Type material examined. Syntype. Male , red ring label “Type” / “Warri. Niger C. P. Febr. 96. Dr. Roth. ” / with handwritten “ Ectropis nigripunctata Type ♂ Warr” / “Rothschild Bequest B.M. 1939-1” / Geometridae genitalia slide No. 4990 / QR code label with unique id.: NHMUK 014173169 View Materials ( NHMUK) .

Taxonomic note. During our collection survey in the NHMUK, only a male syntype of Ectropis nigripunctata has been traced. As according to Warren (1897), both syntypes were collected at the same locality (“Warri, River Niger ”), and our research found only M. nigripunctata occurring in West Africa, it is highly likely that the male and female specimens Warren based his description on are conspecific. As the fate of the female syntype specimen is unknown, the only available male syntype unambiguously represents the species, therefore a designation of a lectotype is unjustified.

Additional material examined. Burundi. 1 male, Gitega, 24-IV-1969, leg. Dr. M. Fontaine, gen. slide No.: ZSM G 21277 (prepared by László) ( ZSM) . Cameroon. 1 male, Savanes d’Akak , 14 km NNE Yaounde, 20.IX.1971, leg. Ph. Darge, gen. slide No.: ZSM G 21275 (prepared by László) ( ZSM) ; 1 male, Koutaba , 04.2014, gen. slide No.: LG 5524 ( RCHS) . Gabon. 1 male, Wonga Wonghe , 12.II.1967, leg. Ph. Darge, gen. slide No.: ZSM G 21276 (prepared by László) ( ZSM) . Kenya. 1 male, Nzoia R., Kavirondo , 16.xii.1896, leg. Dr. Ansorge, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317366 View Materials (prepared by László) ( NHMUK) . Malawi. 1 male, Nyasaland, Mt. Mlanje , 7.ii.1914, leg. S.A. Neave, 1914-171, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317236 View Materials (prepared by László) ; 1 female, same site and collector, 25.iv.1913, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317237 View Materials (prepared by László) ( NHMUK) ; 1 male, Nkhorongo, Mzuzu , 4.500 ft, 17.i.2000, leg. R.J. Murphy ( RCHS) . Mozambique. 1 male, Zambezia Province, Mt. Namuli, SW slopes near Mucunha village , (secondary vegetation/farmland), 1139m, 15°21’27”S, 37°05’18”E, 14-15.VIII.2018, Actinic Light Trap, László, G., Miles, W., Vetina, A. leg. ANHRT GoogleMaps : 2018.30, gen. slide No. : LG 5288, BOLD sample ID: ANHRT055-20 /ANHRTUK-00094041 ( ANHRT). Nigeria. 1 male, Nigeria, L.B. Prout Coll. B.M. 1939-643, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317228 View Materials (prepared by László) ; 1 male, Ogruga , River Niger, Rothschild Bequest B.M. 1939-1, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317230 View Materials (prepared by László) ; 1 female, Anambara Creek , Niger, Rothschild Bequest B.M. 1939-1, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317231 View Materials (prepared by László) ( NHMUK) . Sierra Leone. 1 male, Baoma, Goderich , 8°25’41”N, 13°15’47”W, 10.ii.2015, leg. R. W. Goff, gen. slide No.: LG 5520 ( ANHRT) GoogleMaps ; 1 female, Freetown , 1914, leg. A. Bacot, L.B. Prout Coll., B.M. 1939-643, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317229 View Materials (prepared by László) ; 1 female, Sierra Leone , Rothschild Bequest B.M. 1939-1, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317233 View Materials (prepared by László) ( NHMUK) . Uganda. 1 male, Kome I. 25.X. leg. E.A. Minchin, 1906-19, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317247 View Materials (prepared by László) ; 1 male, Kikwero, Unyoro , 7.v.1897, leg. Dr. Ansorge, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317365 View Materials (prepared by László) ; 1 female, Karoha, Unyoro , 11.viii.1897, leg. Dr. Ansorge, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317363 View Materials (prepared by László) ( NHMUK) . Zambia. 1 male, Kankonde Camp, Mutinondo Stream , 1400m, 12°23’29”S, 31°19’24”E, 12-15.xi.2014, Light Trap, leg. Smith, R. & Takano, H., ANHRT GoogleMaps : 2017.12, gen. slide No.: LG 5683 ( ANHRT) ; 1 female, Lake Bangweolo, Chishi & Chirui Island , 3,800 ft.,, leg. S.A. Neave, 1909-122, gen. slide No.: NHMUK 010317362 View Materials (prepared by László) ( NHMUK) . Zimbabwe. 1 female, Manicaland Province, Honde Valley, Nyanga, Aberfoyle Lodge , 840m, 18°17.651’S, 32°58.130’E, 12-15.xi.2017, leg. A. Kingston, K. Larsen, A. Cipolla, gen. slide No.: LG 5684 ( RCAK) GoogleMaps .

Diagnosis. Morabia nigripunctata ( Warren, 1897) is reminiscent externally of M. politzari Hausmann & Tujuba, 2020 and M. cryptica sp. n. with the dark grey, distinct, rounded-quadrangular subapical blotch of the hindwing underside and the lack of the broad, dark subterminal band of the underside of both wings. Nevertheless, a diffuse, dark grey marginal area of variable intensity and width may be present on the wing underside in the female specimens. Morabia nigripunctata differs from M. politzari in the following features: the ground colour of the wing upperside is somewhat darker, the transverse lines are less sharply defined; the underside of the wings is considerably paler brownish-grey, whereas it is conspicuously brownish-orange in M. politzari ; the subapical patches are slightly smaller and the terminal area of the males is considerably paler than those of M. politzari . The differences between the male genital morphology of M. nigripunctata and M. politzari are as follows: the former species has somewhat shorter and broader, slightly more curved costal arms, a ventro-medially more deeply constricted valva and a markedly broader, distally gently tapered, almost straight distal setose section of the valva, whereas the distal section of the valva of M. politzari is subapically slightly dilated and gently curved. The aedeagus of M. nigripunctata is markedly shorter and thicker, the vesica is armed with a substantially shorter spike-like cornutus compared to those characters of its congener. In the female genitalia, M. nigripunctata has a considerably shorter ductus bursae of even width along its full length (it is gradually tapered anteriorly in M. politzari ) and the corpus bursae bears a large, heavily sclerotised elliptical signum bursae, which is absent in M. politzari . The distinctive features between M. nigripunctata , M. cryptica and M. brunnea are discussed under the diagnoses of the latter two species.

Re-description. Adult ( Figs 3–6 View FIGURES 1–10 ). Forewing length 15.0–18.0 mm. Sexual dimorphism limited, underside of female somewhat darker, with pale, variably broad terminal fascia. Antenna ciliate-fasciculate in male, filiform with sparse ciliation in female. Head relatively small, palp short, porrect, apically pointed, covered in dark grey scales. Compound eye relatively large. Frons broad, quadrangular, pale grey with two black dots laterally, vertex grey. Thorax, collar and tegula dark grey, first abdominal segment pale grey, further segments dark brownish-grey dorsally, creamy-yellow ventrally. Upperside of wings. Ground colour dark graphite grey with a slight brownishcreamy tinge, wing pattern dark grey. Forewing. Basal and subbasal lines deleted; antemedial line thick, evenly arcuate. Discal spot present, slightly blurred, small, short dash-like, oblique. Medial line diffuse, narrow, costal half zigzagged, ventral half slightly undulate. Postmedial line narrow but sharply defined, costal and ventral quarter sinuous, medial half gently arcuate with short dark grey dashes at veins directing inwards. Subterminal line diffuse, shadow-like, strongly undulate. Terminal line sharply defined, relatively thick, gently undulate between veins. Cilia long, inner half dark brownish-grey, outer half somewhat paler. Hindwing. Discal spot present, small, ovoidal. Medial line broad, slightly undulate. Postmedial line very broad, indistinct, shadow-like. Subterminal and terminal lines relatively broad, undulate between veins; cilia as on forewing. Underside of wings. Ground colour pale creamy-grey with sparse suffusion of grey scales, pale yellowish near costa. Discal spots sharply defined, dark grey, elongate ovoidal. Transverse lines not traceable. Subapical area of fore- and hindwing with a large, rounded-quadrangular black blotch, forewing subapical blotch larger than that of hindwing. Apical half of the forewing terminal area of male with a pale brownish-grey shade, ventral half and entire terminal area of the hindwing without darker coloration; in female, fore- and hindwing apical blotch merged with broad, dark terminal fascia of variable intensity; cilia as on upperside.

Male genitalia ( Figs 22–25 View FIGURES 20–28 ). Uncus short, trapezoidal, very broad at base, apically truncate, densely covered in fine setae. Gnathos short and narrow, ribbon-like, inverse V-shaped without dilated medial plate. Tegumen short and broad. Juxta weakly sclerotized, rounded shield-like. Vinculum short and broad, saccus short and narrow, evenly rounded. Valva very broad at base, basal half moderately sclerotized, scobinate, bearing a robust, evenly curved, apically pointed dorsal process (costal arm) covered in fine setae. Medial section of valva conspicuously constricted, ventral margin with a wide and shallow depression medially. Apical half densely setose with very long setae in the anterior half, dilated anteriorly with rounded ventral margin, gently tapered posteriorly, anterior three-quarters of costal margin straight, apical section slightly curved inwards, valva apex rounded. Sacculus medium long and narrow, moderately sclerotized, sparsely setose, without processi. Aedeagus long and thin gently sinuous, coecum short, broadly rounded, postmedial section slightly laced, apex with a long, narrow weakly sclerotized process. Vesica with a single, long, gently curved, pointed, spike-like cornutus with hooked basal part.

Female genitalia ( Figs 36–37 View FIGURES 35–42 ). Ovipositor moderately long, papilla analis elongate, apically rounded, sparsely setose, posterior apophysis long and thin, ca. twice as long as anterior one. Eighth tergite shield-like, distal margin gently arcuate, proximal margin with broad, rounded medial protrusion. Ostium bursae broad, membranous, antrum membranous with a triangular sclerotized area tapered anteriorly. Ductus bursae long and narrow, heavily sclerotized, longitudinally striate. Cervix bursae very small, membranous, erected at distal third of ductus bursae. Corpus bursae ovoidal, signum bursae large, elliptical with densely dentate, broad, heavily sclerotized marginal and less sclerotized internal area.

Genetic information ( Fig. 44 View FIGURE 44 ). BIN BOLD:ADK8649 (n=1 from Mozambique), exact DNA barcode-sharing with M. cryptica sp. n. (see remarks there). As the overwhelming majority of the specimens accessed by the authors were unsuitable for DNA sequencing due to their age, only a single specimen recently collected in central Mozambique sequenced successfully. Further research is required to clarify the reason behind this unusual case of exact barcode sharing (contamination versus introgression) between species clearly diverging in genital morphology.

Distribution ( Fig. 43 View FIGURE 43 ). Morabia nigripunctata has the widest distribution within the genus with confirmed records from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Burundi, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Based on their nearly identical morphological characters, the western and south-eastern African populations undoubtedly belong to the same species, however, further genetic studies may reveal subspecific delineation between some geographically isolated populations.

In Zambia, M. nigripunctata , M. brunnea , M. smithi sp. n. and M. cryptica sp. n. occur sympatrically and thus the examination of the genitalia is unavoidable for reliable identification.


Natural History Museum, London


Bavarian State Collection of Zoology














Morabia nigripunctata ( Warren, 1897 )

László, Gyula M. & Hausmann, Axel 2022

Ectropis nigripunctata

Warren, W. 1897: 93
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