Pseudothyretes, Dufrane, 1945

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 : 52

publication ID 10.1111/zoj.12198

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Our combined molecular and morphological approaches shed new light on the complex taxonomy of the genus Pseudothyretes . The molecular analysis helped to identify females, which are very uniform in terms of their external and genital morphology. Females are common in collections but their determination was until now impossible, and not only because of the extreme sexual dimorphism. We used molecular data to associate males and females and to analyse their similar- ities. The tree obtained allowed us for the first time to match the females and males. The best results were obtained for P. kamitugensis , P. obscurus sp. nov., and P. perpusilla , for which we had the highest number of molecular samples. Pseudothyretes carnea and P. mirus sp. nov. were represented by a smaller number of samples, but we obtained positive results in matching males and females nevertheless. In P. erubescens and P. nigrita the available material was too old, and despite our attempts we did not procure sufficient results. The clusters obtained gave us the opportunity to describe the small, but stable morphological characters separating the females of five species ( P. carnea , P. kamitugensis , P. mirus sp. nov., P. obscurus sp. nov. and P. perpusilla ). A pair of P. perpusilla observed and conserved in copula confirmed the designation of its female sex. We discovered the precise characters of the individual wing patterns and genitalia now allowing the determination of females; however, we did not prepare a determination key for the females, as they are not yet known for all species.

Crucial to our study was the collection of fresh material sufficient for molecular study. Two species ( erubescens and nigrita ) are still known only from males, despite the fact that several dissected Pseudothyretes females differ clearly in their genitalic morphology from the females attributed to named males. The confirmation of their specific affinity can only be made with the help of molecular data; however, this requires the sampling of suitable additional fresh material. Unfortunately, the morphological homogeneity of females makes their determination in the field very imprecise, and so all collected females should preferably be preserved in a mode sufficient for molecular studies, or at least one or several legs. Of special interest are specimens from East Africa ( Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda), among which the yet undescribed females of P. nigrita and P. erubescens might be discovered. The future molecular analysis of such material will ultimately explain the morphological diversity of all Pseudothyretes females.