Pseudotinea eiselei Callaghan and Hall

HALL, JASON P. W. & CALLAGHAN, CURTIS J., 2003, A revision of the new riodinid butterfly genus Pseudotinea (Lepidoptera: Riodinidae), Journal of Natural History 37 (7), pp. 821-837: 830-831

publication ID 10.1080/00222930110096771

persistent identifier

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scientific name

Pseudotinea eiselei Callaghan and Hall

sp. n.

Pseudotinea eiselei Callaghan and Hall   , sp. n.

(figures 2A, B, 12)



Fore wing length: 12 mm.

Wing shape and pattern. See figure 2A, B.

Head. Labial palpi brown, second and third segments elongate; eyes brown and bare, cream scaling at margins; frons brown with pale brown at margins; antennal length approximately 60% of fore wing length, segments brown with prominent white scaling at base, clubs brown, long and flat.

Body. Dorsal surface of thorax and abdomen brown, ventral surface dirty grey; legs brown with some white scaling.

Genitalia (figure 12). Papillae anales blade-like, rounded and setose with a small point dorsally between lobes; ostium bursae not sclerotized dorsally, ductus seminalis joins ductus bursae near ostium bursae; corpus bursae round with two small, peg-like signa.

Male Unknown.


H  : X, Argentina: Jujuy, Río Lozano, Morro de Alizar , 2100 m, 31 January 1970 ( R. Eisele)   (to be deposited in the Allyn Museum of Entomology, Sarasota , FL, USA)   .

Etymology This species is named for its discoverer, Rev. Robert Eisele.


The female of Pseudotinea eiselei   sp. n. is similar to those of P. volcanicus   and P. hemis   , and will also undoubtedly be similar to the female of P. gagarini   , but dorsal orange extends from the wing base to the submargin on both wings instead of being confined to the postdiscal area, and there are no submarginal orange crescents on the dorsal hind wing. On the ventral surface, P. eiselei   differs by having larger dark brown spots on the fore wing, no submarginal spots on both wings, a more uniform brown ventral ground colour without prominent paler flecking, and an entirely brown distal fore wing fringe. The female genitalia of P. eiselei   do not differ significantly from those of the other known females, P. volcanicus   and P. hemis   .


Since P. eiselei   is known only from the unique female holotype, no additional specimens having been discovered during searches of the Tucumán and other Argentine museums, little is known about its biology, except that the holotype was captured in open ‘campo’ habitat at 2100 m (R. Eisele, personal communication). This is the highest recorded altitude for any species in the genus. Interestingly, the aposematic orange dorsal pattern and cryptic mottled brown ventral surface of P. eiselei   are very similar to those of many Andean Argentine and Chilean lycaenids, especially females, in the thecline genus Strymon Hübner   and the polyommatine genus Pseudolucia Nabokov   (e.g. see d’Abrera, 1995; Benyamini and Johnson, 1995; Peña and Ugarte, 1996). Benyamini (1995) hypothesizes that the common lycaenid Pseudolucia chilensis (Blanchard)   , which flies in Chile at altitudes up to 3000 m, might be unpalatable, since its larvae feed on Cuscuta   parasites ( Convolvulaceae   ) of Colliguaja odorifera   ( Euphorbiaceae   ) which contain toxic alkaloids (Horvat et al., 1973; Wink and Witte, 1993; Benyamini, 1995), and therefore act as a mimetic model for other sympatric lycaenids, and certain Satyrinae and geometrid moths (Larentiinae and Ennominae). It seems likely that P. eiselei   is also part of the aforementioned mimicry ring, although the toxic model in northern Argentina is certainly different, and it is perhaps the great similarity in flight of P. eiselei   to common sympatric lycaenids that has led to its being overlooked in the past.


This species is currently known only from the type locality in northern Argentina, but it may also occur in southern Bolivia (see figure 14)   .

Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile