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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Resolution of the Elaphria Festivoides (Guenee) Species Complex (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).

Authors
item Saluke, Sandra - DEPT. ENTOMOL.SMITHSONIAN
item Pogue, Michael

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 19, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Cutworm moths in the family Noctuidae are major agricultural pests causing billions of dollars of damage annually. In this paper, we report our findings that what was thought to be one species, Elaphria festivoides, is 2 species that were difficult to differentiate if not dissected. A new species was described, Elaphria cornutinis. The geographical range of each species was not known because of this inability to easily tell them apart. There are numerous nomenclatural problems associated with this complex as well. The results of this paper will be important to scientists, ecologists, biodiversity surveys and economic entomologists. Also, APHIS, PPQ inspectors and identifiers will use this information.

Technical Abstract: A new species, Elaphria cornutinis, of the Elaphria festivoides Guenee species complex is described and illustrated. E. festivoides is redescribed and variation within the species discussed. E. cornutinis can be distinguished from E. festivoides by the darker ground color of the forewing and more distinct orbicular and claviform spots. Males have an abdominal hair pencil, valves narrow gradually, and uncus is narrower than in E. festivoides. E. festivoides is widely distributed from southern Canada to south Texas and Florida, west to eastern British Columbia, Colorado, and New Mexico. E. cornutinis overlaps the distribution of E. festivoides from Maryland south to Alabama and Louisiana, west to Oklahoma and Missouri. A total of 796 specimens were studied, with 41 specimens of E. festivoides and 15 specimens of E. cornutinis dissected for genitalic examination.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014