Sunday 27 May 2018

Vansoniella chirindensis: A new species of Slug Moth from Zimbabwe.

Slug Moths, Limacodidae, are small, typically hairy, Moths which get their common name from the Slug-like appearance of their caterpillars. They have a global distribution, but are most common and diverse in the tropics, with over 270 species described from sub-Saharan Africa.

In a paper published in the journal Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift on 16 March 2018, Wolfram Mey of the Museum für Naturkunde describes a new species of Slug Moth from Zimbabwe.

The new species is placed in a new genus, Vansoniella, in honour of George van Son (1898–1967), the former Curator of Lepidoptera of the Transvaal Museum (now part of the Ditsong Museums), who collected the specimen from which the species is described, and given the specific name chirindensis, meaning 'from Chirinda' in reference to the Chirinda Forest Mount Selinda, in what is now eastern Zimbabwe. The species is described from a single male specimen collected by van Son in 1937. It has a wingspan of 16 mm and translucent wings, distinctly unusual in a Slug Moth, and is otherwise golden brown in colour, with a body covered in dense fur.

Vansoniella chirindensis, male specimen in dorsal view. Mey (2018).

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