Corresponding author: Wolfram Mey ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Academic editor: Jadranka Rota
© 2016 Wolfram Mey, Evgeniy Rutjan.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Citation: Mey W, Rutjan E (2016) Catapterix tianshanica sp. n. – the second species of the genus from the Palaearctic Region (Lepidoptera, Acanthopteroctetidae). Nota Lepidopterologica 39(2): 145-150. doi: 10.3897/nl.39.9882
Based on a single adult male collected in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan) the new species Catapterix tianshanica sp. n. is described and illustrated. The new species differs from related species by details of the male genitalia, especially by the reduction of the medial process of the transtilla and by the structure of the uncus. It is the second species of the genus and family found in the Palaearctic Region so far. The record significantly expands the distribution of Catapterix from Europe to Asia.
In the 1980s the Russian lepidopterists A. K. Zagulaev and S. Y. Sinev collected an unusual micromoth on the Crimean peninsula. The species could not be assigned readily to any of the known families in Europe. As a result of a detailed study of the adult morphology (head, abdomen, wing venation, male genitalia) the collectors were convinced of having discovered a representative of a hitherto unknown evolutionary lineage within the homoneuran Glossata. It was described as Catapterix crimaea spec. nov. and gen. nov. and assigned to the simultaneously established family Catapterigidae (
The concept of Catapterigidae did not gain much acceptance.
The morphological differences between the two families involve head morphology, wing venation, wing coupling and abdominal sternites – strong characters which are usually of significant weight in other lepidopteran taxa, but in light of the shared, unique genital morphology of the males, these characters appear to be homoplasious and of less importance, and thus, are of little value for separating the two families. In this evolutionary lineage even the presence or absence of a frenulum or jugum is obviously of low phylogenetic significance in comparison with other superfamilies. In addition to the male genitalia the corresponding peculiar vestiture of the antennal segments also point to a close relationship of Catapterix Zagulajev & Sinev, 1988 with Acanthopteroctetes Braun, 1921.The two genera make up the family Acanthopteroctetidae Davis, 1978, with Catapterigidae as its junior synonym (following
Acanthopteroctetes was long thought be an endemic genus in western North America. Recent discoveries in South America (
Since 2002 Oleksiy Bidzilia from the Zoological Museum in Kiev has been a regular visitor to the Lepidoptera/Trichoptera collection of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. He has always brought and donated Trichoptera material, which he and the second author collected during field trips in Asia. Among a number of pinned microcaddisflies from Kyrgyzstan, a single, tiny micromoth was found, which in its un-spread state indeed resembled a caddisfly from the family Hydroptilidae. Since the individual did not have eye-caps or other external characters that provided a family identification, the abdomen was removed and the genitalia examined. The specimen turned out to be a second species of the hitherto monotypic genus Catapterix. The surprising finding was immediately communicated to lepidopterists, who have since been collecting in Central Asia in the hope of obtaining further material of this interesting, primitive micromoth species. This hope has remained unsatisfied, and after six years of waiting we have decided to publish the description of the species at this time.
Holotype ♂, labeled: “Kyrgyzstan/ Tian-Shan/ prov. Dzhalal-Abad/ distr.:Kotshkor-Ata/ prope pag. Toskool/ fauc. Alash-Saj/alt. 1100M, 16–17.v.2003/E. Rutjan leg. Lum.[at light]“. Genitalia slide Mey 34/16, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
The external characters and the male genitalia of this new species are similar to C. crimaea. There are, however, some remarkable differences. The head capsule of the latter species is evenly rounded on the dorsal side from eyes to top of vertex, whereas in C. tianshanica sp. n. the head capsule around the eyes is somewhat protruded laterally to form a flattened area on the dorsal and frontal sides next to the eyes. This area is covered by appressed, lamellar scales, which are absent in C. crimaea and replaced by the usual hairlike scales of the head. The male genitalia of both species exhibit a bifid valva with apex of costal margin and sacculus as elongate processes, curved mediad. This form of valva is diagnostic to Catapterix. The valva of Acanthopteroctetes is slender, with slightly expanded sacculus. The medial, sclerotized process of the transtilla is a prominent feature of both genera. In C. tianshanica sp. n., however, this process is reduced and nearly membranous. Another autapomorphic character of the latter species is the enlarged uncus with subapical, triangular processes or spines on the dorsolateral sides.
The two genera of Acanthopteroctetidae can be separated as follows:
|1||Forewing uniformly coloured, or with fascia or fuscous and yellow spots; interocular index 0.75–0.8; medial process of transtilla serrate on ventral margin and tip upcurved; valva simple||Acanthopteroctetes|
|–||Forewing uniformly coloured; interocular index 0.6; medial process of transtilla without serration and tip straight or down-curved; valva bifid||Catapterix|
The hostplant of Catapterix is unknown. The larva of the North American Acanthopteroctetes unifascia Davis, 1975 is a leafminer of Ceanothus (Rhamnaceae). Another species was found to be a miner in leaves of Ribes (Grossulariaceae) (
Due to the arid climate Middle Asia is an impoverished refuge of Tertiary forests, which survived only in favorable places in the mountain chains of the Tianshan. This concerns especially the deciduous trees, which are present in large numbers (
The distance between the known localities of the two Catapterix species is about 3000 km (Fig.
The photograph of the adult moth was taken by Bernhard Schurian, and the English text was corrected by Jason Dunlop for which both colleagues deserve our sincere thanks. We are also grateful to Don Davis and Charley Eiseman for their reviews of the manuscript.