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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Early Stages of the Enigmatic Prodidactis Mystica (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Prodidactidae) with Comments on Its New Familial Assignment

Authors
item Epstein, Marc - SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
item Brown, John

Submitted to: Tropical Lepidoptera
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The moth families Limacodidae (slug caterpillars) and Tortricidae (leafrollers) are of considerable economic importance because their caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants, including crops, ornamentals, and forest trees. Hence, their accurate identification, early detection, and control or management are critical. The genus and species discussed in this paper historically was considered a member of Tortricidae, but over the past 36 years has been considered a member of Limacodidae. The discovery and unequivocal association of caterpillars with adults of this species provide characters that convincingly contradict assignment of this species to either of these important families. A new family is proposed to accommodate this highly aberrant genus and species. The larvae, pupae, and adult are described and illustrated. This information will be useful to those interested in the identification of Lepidoptera pests and understanding the higher classification of the order

Technical Abstract: Prodidactis Meyrick is a monotypic genus restricted to southern Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe). The early stages of P. mystica (Meyrick) are described and illustrated for the first time; the larval host is Nuxia congesta (Loganiaceae). The genus previously has been assigned to Tortricidae, Yponomeutidae, and Limacodidae; however, an examination of larval, pupal. and adult characters contradict these placements. Although evidence from the larval stage places Prodidactis in Crambidae (Pyraloidea), features of the adults convincingly contradict this assignment. As an interim solution, we propose Prodidactidae, new family, to accommmodate this unusual genus.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014