Research Article
Research Article
Description of the female of Ethmia cribravia Wang and Li 2004 (Lepidoptera, Elachistidae, Ethmiinae)
expand article infoDmitry F. Shovkoon, Tatiana A. Trofimova§
‡ Laboratory of Biogeography and Monitoring of Biodiversity of Steppe Institute, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Orenburg, Russia
§ Laboratory of Animal Systematics and Faunistics, Samara State University, Samara, Russia
Open Access


The previously unknown female of Ethmia cribravia Wang & Li, a species known from Yunnan, China, is described and illustrated with colour photographs of the habitus, as well as images of genitalia mounted on slides. The species is sexually dimorphic, with the male having prominent androconial scales on the hindwing.


В статье приводится описание ране неизвестной самки Ethmia cribravia. Впервые даны цветные иллюстрации бабочек, так же даны черно-белые фотографии генитальных структур самца и самки.


Ethmia cribravia was described by Wang and Li (2004) ten years ago, based on three male specimens from Yunnan Province of China. In the collection of the Hungarian Natural History Museum (Budapest) we found two male and two female specimens of this little-known species. E. cribravia is peculiar as it displays remarkable sexual dimorphism. The male has a tuft of long, piliform androconial scales on the anal margin of the hindwing (Fig. 1). A similar degree of sexual dimorphism is known from only one other Ethmia species – the male of the African species Ethmia melanocrates Meyrick, 1923 has similar androconial scales on the anal margin of the hindwing (Mey and Shovkoon in press: fig. 14).

Figures 1–4. 

Ethmia cribravia. 1. Male, China, Yunnan Diqing Tibetan (HNHM). 2. Female, China, Yunnan Diqing Tibetan (HNHM). 3. Male genitalia: a general view and b phallus; Shovkoon praeparavit, prep. № 219 (HNHM). 4. Female genitalia: a general view, b bursae, c signum; Shovkoon praeparavit, prep. № 220 (HNHM).


HNHM – Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest.

Ethmia cribravia Wang & Li, 2004

Figs 1–4


2♂, 2♀ China, Yunnan Diqing Tibetan Auf. Pref. Tiger Leaping Gotge, SE Slope at Sean’s Guesthouse, 2000-2500 m N 27°16.113’, E 100°10.233’, leg. B. Benedek. (HNHM).

Description of female

(Fig. 2) Length of forewing 29.5–30.5 mm. In general coloration and pattern of forewing essentially as male. Hindwing lacking the dark field in the centre and piliform androconial scales on anal margin of hindwing, typical of male.

Female genitalia (Fig. 4). Papillae anales elongated, setose. Eighth tergite medially with membranous incision. Posterior apophyses slender, as long as papillae anales; anterior apophyses wedge-shaped, distally pointed (Fig. 4a). Posterior part of antrum sclerotized with armed sclerotized thorns. Ductus bursae as long as abdomen, with 5–7 coils, bursa copulatrix spherical (Fig. 4b). Signum very large, cruciform, evenly covered with small teeth (Fig. 4c).


The collecting site of the specimens examined by us is only 20 kilometers north-east of the type locality, both sites in Yunnan Province of China.

Taxonomic notes

The moth habitus and the structure of the male (Fig. 3) and female genitalia (Fig. 4) suggest a close relationship with E. dehiscens Meyrick, 1924, and the species is therefore placed in the dehiscens species-group sensuSattler (1967).

The similarity in the appearance of the androconial scales of E. cribravia and the African species E. melanocrates is puzzling. The two species do not belong in the same species-group sensuSattler (1967). Based on the morphology of the genitalia of E. melanocrates (Mey and Shovkoon in press: figs 17, 18), this species belongs to its own independent species-group, the members of which are known only from Kenya, Namibia, and South Africa and are not present in the Palaearctic region.

Additionally, these two species differ in their external appearance. The costal half of the forewing of E. melanocrates is suffused with yellow scales, and the basal half with a complex pattern formed by dark and light fields; tiny black marginal dots are present; the cilia are pale grey, with black scales at the tip of the forewing; the hindwing is yellow with yellow cilia; and the abdomen and thorax are grey-yellow (Mey and Shovkoon in press: figs 14, 15).

It is very interesting that, in spite of such differences in morphology and distribution, the androconial scales of these two species are similar to such an extent. In both species the piliform androconial scales are located on the anal margin of the hindwing starting from the An1 vein and they are as long as the width of the hindwing.


We are very grateful to Dr. Zsolt Bálint (Budapest) for his help in studying museum collections of Hungarian Natural History Museum.


  • Mey W, Shovkoon DF (in press) Synopsis of the Ethmiinae (Lepidoptera, Gelechioidea: Depressariidae) of the Afrotropical Region and descriptions of new species. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 157.
  • Sattler K (1967) Ethmiidae. In: Amsel HG, Gregor F, Reisser H (Еds) Microlepidoptera Palaearctica 2 (1+2). Georg Fromme, Wien, xviii + 185 pp., 106 pls.
  • Wang S, Li H (2004) Two new species of Ethmia Hübner from China Lepidoptera: Elachistidae: Ethmiinae. Entomological News 115(3): 135–138.
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