Wednesday 25 April 2012

New species of moth from Yunnan Province.

In May 1992 entomologist Xue Dayong collected a single moth of an unknown species outside Heinitang village in western Yunnan Province, China, near the border with Myanmar. In the intervening 20 years no further specimens of this moth have been found, while the area has suffered steady deforestation due to slash-and-burn agriculture, leading to a distinct possibility that there are no more of these moths to be found.

The effects of slash-and-burn agriculture near Heinitang village. Li et al. (2012).

In the absence of any further material the species has been described from the single specimen in a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 25 April 2012 by Jing Li, Nan Jiang and Hongxiang Han of the Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution at the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The new moth is (tentatively) placed in the genus Heterophleps, though Li et al. are cautious of making a full taxonomic analysis based upon a single specimen. It is given the specific name inusitata, meaning rare. Heterophleps inusitata is a brown larentiine moth with a yellow underside, with a 17 mm forewing (the only measurement given).

Heterophleps inusitata. Li et al. (2012).

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