Sunday, 8 September 2013

A new species of Leafroller Moth from Costa Rica.

Leafroller Moths (Tortricinae) are a group of Tortrix Moths that get their name from the habit their caterpillars have of building shelters by rolling up the leaves of their host plant and binding them with silk. They are a widespread and numerous group, many of which are considered to be pests for the damage they do to crop plants, though some species have also been used as biological controls of invasive plant species.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 21 May 2013, John Brown of the Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and  Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs of the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, describe a new species of Leafroller Moth from the Área de Conservación in northwestern Costa Rica.

The new moth is given the name Sparganocosma docsturnerorum, where 'Sparganocosma' means to scatter or throw around the universe and 'docsturnerorum' honours Doctors John and Nancy Turner of Ardmore, Tennessee. Sparganocosma docsturnerorum is an 8.8-13 mm buff Moth with darker markings and pale grey hind wings. It was found living on the forest understory plant Asplundia utilis, and appears only to feed on plants of the genus Asplundia. It also appears to be the host animal for the parasitic Wasp Sphelodon wardae, which was not previously known. 

Sparganocosma docsturnerorum, male (top) and female (bottom). Brown et al. (2013).

Sparganocosma docsturnerorum, caterpillar (top) and pupa (bottom). Brown et al. (2013).

The approximate location of the site where Sparganocosma docsturnerorum was discovered. Google Maps.

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