Friday 14 December 2012

New species of Owlet Moth from Sichuan Province, China.

Owlet Moths (Noctuidae) are the largest group within the Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths). They are typically small, drab, brown Moths, though some species have brightly coloured hind-wings, which are covered by the fore-wings when resting. Almost all Owlet Moths are nocturnal, and few show any visible differences between the sexes. The larvae of Owlet Moths are soil-dwelling herbivores; they are referred to as 'Cutworms', and are considered a serious agricultural pests in many parts of the world.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 15 November 2012, Balázs Benedek of Törökbálint in Hungary and Aidas Saldaitis and Jolanta Rimsaite of the Nature Research Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania, describe a new species of Owlet Moth from Sichuan Province, China, as part of a review of Moths of the genus Harutaeographa.

The new Moth is named Harutaeographa shui, after the ancient Shu Kingdom, now Chengdu, capitol of Sichuan Province. Harutaeographa shui is a 17-20 mm brown Moth with coppery-brown patterns and dark scales on its forewings and yellowish wings. The species is described from six specimens collected from the Siping and Kangding areas of Sichuan Province, on the fringe of the Tibetan Plateau. The Moths were collected in small river valleys in mountain virgin mixed forest dominated by
various broad-leaved trees, rhododendrons and bamboos, at altitudes of 1500-1600 m. They were captured using light traps.

Two male specimens of Harutaeographa shui. Benedek et al. (2012).

The habitat where Harutaeographa shui was found living. Benedek et al. (2012).

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