Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/23/2007
Publication Date: 7/15/2008
Citation: Solis, M.A., Metz, M., Zachariades, C. 2008. Identity and generic placement of Phestinia costella Hampson (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae: Phycitinae) reared on the invasive plant Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob. (Asteraceae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110(3):292-601. Interpretive Summary: Although many Pyraloidea or snout moths are pests, some are investigated for the biological control of noxious invasive weeds causing enormous economic worldwide. Siam weed, a native of tropical America, has become a serious noxious weed in South Africa, India, China, Indonesia, East Timor, and the Philippines. Exploratory biological control efforts by South Africa resulted in a snout moth stem gall producer. We provide the identity, descriptions and illustrations of this species, and describe the previously unknown male, larva, and pupa. Its biology, rearing, and use as a biological control agent is discussed. This information will be essential to biological control researchers working to control the invasive Siam weed, and to quarantine identifiers and regulatory personnel at U.S. ports.
Technical Abstract: We provide descriptions and illustrations for identification of Phestinia costella Hampson, a stem gall producer on the invasive plant Chromolaena odorata (L.) R. M. King & H. Robinson (Asteraceae) that has been investigated for biological control measures. Specimens collected from C. odorata on Trinidad and Tobago and reported in the literature as Mescinia sp. nr. parvula Zeller were reexamined and identified as P. costella, except for two females identified as an undetermined species of Mescinia Ragonot. We subjected P. costella to comparative examination with species in related genera and concluded that its current circumscription should remain until a broader cladistic treatment of these genera. We diagnose the species; describe the previously unknown male, larva, and pupa; and expand the distribution.