Melanis caatingensis ( Callaghan & Nobre, 2014 ),

Dias, Fernando Maia Silva, Dolibaina, Diego Rodrigo, Mielke, Carlos Guilherme Costa, Mielke, Olaf Hermann Hendrik & Casagrande, Mirna Martins, 2015, Description of two new species of Pheles Herrich – Schäffer, [1853] and notes on the taxonomic position of two species hitherto included in the genus (Riodinidae: Riodininae), Zootaxa 3981 (2), pp. 275-283: 282

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Melanis caatingensis ( Callaghan & Nobre, 2014 )

comb. nov.

Melanis caatingensis ( Callaghan & Nobre, 2014)  comb. nov.

( Figs 17 –20View FIGURES 1 – 20, 31–32View FIGURES 21 – 32, 36View FIGURES 33 – 36, 40View FIGURES 37 – 40)

Callaghan & Nobre (2014) expressed their doubts about the generic placement of this recently described species, indicating a number of divergent characters from those observed in typical Pheles  . Nevertheless, Callaghan & Nobre (2014) provisionally described this species in Pheles  until its proper generic placement could be ascertained. Closer examination reveals several characters that support its placement in Melanis Hübner  , [1819], as defined by Stichel (1911) (i.e. Lymnas  Blanchard, 1840 sensu Stichel (1911); see Hemming (1967 )). Stichel (1911) divided the genus in two sections and a number of cohorts, and he noted that the general conformation of the male genitalia is similar among them, differing only in specific characters. These characters includes the ventral arm of the tegumen dorsally horizontal and projected anteriorly, connecting ventrally to the strap –like saccus (“L –shaped vinculum” sensu Callaghan & Nobre 2014); valve comparatively very large, ventrally tapering to a point and projected dorsally; transtilla developed and lobed; and aedeagus strongly curved ventrally and posteriorly tapering to a point, with the anterior end enlarged and bulbous. The shape of the distal end of the fultura inferior, described by Callaghan & Nobre (2014) as a “fork serving as a guide for the aedeagus”, were described by Stichel (1911) as “saddle –shaped” (“Sattelförmig” and “Selle” sensu Stichel 1911), and is identical between M. caatingensis  comb. nov. and species of Melanis  . In females, the ductus bursae sclerotized near to the ostium, the pear-shaped corpus bursae and the slit-shaped signa, one dorsal and other ventral, also occurs in Melanis  . The following taxa were examined for further comparisons and similar general characters were observed: M. smithiae smithiae (Westwood, 1851)  (dissected, male DZ 32.045, female DZ 31.892), M. xenia xenia Hewitson  , [1853] (dissected, male DZ 32.047), M. electron auriferax (Stichel, 1910)  (dissected, male DZ 31.978), M. cinaron C. Felder & R. Felder, 1861  ( Stichel 1911: pl. 13, Fig. 53 e), M. aegates araguaya (Seitz, 1913)  (dissected, male DZ 32.034), M. aegates albugo (Stichel, 1910)  (dissected, female DZ 31.993). Other characters commonly observed in species of Melanis  , such as the wing pattern with white subapical bands (although the yellow color is more frequent in the genus), lighter colored scales over the veins (instead of lighter colored lines radiating from the base of the wings between veins observed in Pheles  ) and blotches of reddish scales on the base of the wings, thorax and pleura of the abdomen ( Callaghan & Nobre 2014: Fig. 6View FIGURES 1 – 20), further support the proposed combination. Nevertheless, only a comprehensive phylogeny for the Riodinini  could ascertain if M. caatingensis  comb. nov. is a highly derived species nested within Melanis  or if it is sister or closely related to the genus. The sickle shape of the tip of the aedeagus and the corresponding sclerotized curled ductus bursae appear to be unique to M. caatingensis  comb. nov.; the orange color of the gena, labial palpus and prothorax distinguish this species from any known species of Melanis  .