Saturday 13 May 2017

Neopalpa donaldtrumpi: A new species of Twirler Moth from California and Baja California.

The Gnorimoschemini are a group of Twirler Moths, Gelechiidae, are found across much of North America. They are small Moths, with narrow, fringed wings, the larvae of which feed internally on their host plants, sometimes forming galls; many species being considered to be agricultural pests. The genus Neopalpa is known from a single species, Neopalpa neonata, which was originally described from Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California, but has since been found on the North American mainland, as far east as Arizona and south to Baja California Sur.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 17 January 2017, Vazrick Nazari from Ottawa, Canada, describes a new species of Neopalpa from southern California in the US and Baja California Norte in Mexico.

The new species is named Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, in honour of the 45th President of the United States, who was sworn in on 20 January 2017, in reference to a distinctive pattern of enlarged yellow-white scales on the front of the head, which resembles Mr Trump’s hairstyle. Males of this species reached 3.0-4.6 mm in length, with the single known female measuring 4.3 mm. The moth’s are distinguished from the other species in the genus by the orange-yellow colour of the forewings and the absence of an enlarged bilobed vinculum (penis-like structure) on the male genetalia. 

Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, from Imperial County in Mexico. Left: lateral aspect, right: frontal aspect. Scale bar 1 mm. Nazari (2017).

See also...
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.