Pseudothyretes rubicundula, Strand, 1912

Przybyłowicz, Łukasz & Tarcz, Sebastian, 2015, Strong sexual dimorphism unraveled by DNA analysis - towards a better understanding of Pseudothyretes classification (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 173 (1), pp. 22-54 : 49-52

publication ID 10.1111/zoj.12198

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scientific name

Pseudothyretes rubicundula



Meganaclia carnea was described by Hampson (1898) on the basis of a single female. The age of this type specimen housed in the BMNH did not allow for a proper interpretation of the taxon. This species was the first described, after Anace perpusilla Walker, 1856 , of the taxa currently grouped in Pseudothyretes . Both of these taxa were described from opposite sexes, and at that time Hampson was not aware of the strong similarity of the species and the strong sexual dimorphism. He also did not provide a detailed description of carnea . Additionally, the labels attached to the holotype only name ‘Angola’ as the collecting locality. The third problem making it difficult to properly interpret carnea is that the female genitalia are lost. All of these problems and a generally poor knowledge of the characters delimitating species and proper association of the sexes resulted in a long-lasting uncertainty in the interpretation of carnea ( Przybyłowicz, 2009) . Our study demonstrates that this taxon should be unified with P. rubicundula ( Strand, 1912) , and the facts in favour of this interpretation are as follows.


As mentioned above the type locality of carnea is Angola and this region constitutes the southernmost border of the distribution of the genus. As our analysis of almost 600 specimens allowed a better recognition of the ranges of each species, we are confident to state that P. erubescens and P. nigrita are East African, highland species with very restricted distributions. Pseudothyretes mirus sp. nov. is restricted to lowland, evergreen forests in Cameroon, Gabon, and DRC in the Congo basin. The vicariant species pair of P. obscurus sp. nov. and P. kamitugensis is distributed along equatorial Africa. The first one represents the western element whereas the second one is the East African equivalent. None of them is recorded from Angola. Pseudothyretes perpusilla and P. rubicundula are the most widely distributed species. Both were recorded as far west as Guinea and their ranges spread through central Africa up to the Rift Valley. Pseudothyretes perpusilla is recorded even from west Kenya and southern Ethiopia. Both of these taxa are also recorded from north-west Angola. Thus, the distributional data strongly suggest that the female holotype of P. carnea is either P. perpusilla or P. rubicundula .


Despite its age and partial damage the holotype female of P. carnea still possesses a well-preserved colora-

tion. The wing scales are not detached or faded, which makes a comparison possible with females of the other species. The holotype of P. carnea is characterized by a uniformly rusty red background on both wings, without brown, tawny buff, or blackish scaling. This is characteristic for females of most of the species except P. kamitugensis and P. perpusilla . The females of P. kamitugensis have distinctly more tawny forewings than hindwings. In P. perpusilla both pairs of wings are more tawny than rusty, although the females from the westernmost part of the whole range ( Ghana) are more rusty, and may resemble the P. carnea holotype. The coloration of the holotype of P. carnea is identical with that of the only available female of P. rubicundula collected in Angola (Canzele, Prov. Nordcuanza). Thus, the coloration of the holotype of P. carnea strongly suggests that this specimen is conspecific with the more widely known P. rubicundula .

Forewing pattern

The general forewing pattern of the female holotype of P. carnea is typical for the genus; however, the details of the size and arrangement of the particular blotches are informative and much more resemble the pattern of P. rubicundula than P. perpusilla . Blotch m 2 is comparatively small, rounded, and does not reach the dorsal margin of the discal cell. The same blotch in P. perpusilla is larger, with straight margins, and usually reaches the dorsal margin of the discal cell (often occupying the entire distal part of the cell). Blotch m 3 is rather small and divided into two rounded parts: a minute am 3 and a larger m 3. This situation is typical for P. rubicundula and exceptional in P. perpusilla , where, if at all visible, am 3 and the much larger m 3 constitute one blotch divided by a dark, narrow line. Blotch am 4 is not the largest of all blotches of the forewing, which is the opposite of the situation found in P. perpusilla , where am 4 is the largest blotch.

All these arguments strongly suggest that P. carnea and P. rubicundula in fact represent the same species, which, in accordance with the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), should bear the name Pseudothyretes carnea ( Hampson, 1898) .














Pseudothyretes rubicundula

Przybyłowicz, Łukasz & Tarcz, Sebastian 2015


Dufrane 1945

Anace perpusilla

Walker 1856