Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2008
Publication Date: 7/27/2009
Citation: Pogue, M.G. 2009. Three new cryptic species within the Dargida procinctus (Grote) complex (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Hadeninae) from the Neotropics. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:686-697. Interpretive Summary: Owlet moth caterpillars are serious agricultural pests of crops and many forest trees and annually cause billions of dollars of economic loss worldwide. In this study a single species of owlet moth with a wide distribution in western North American and South America was discovered to be three new species. Male and female genitalia are described and illustrated to provide tools to distinguish the three species. This information will be important to all researchers working with owlet moths of agricultural importance and aid quarantine personnel to identify these species that are often intercepted at US ports on cut flowers.
Technical Abstract: Dargida procinctus (Grote) was found to include three new species: Dargida spinicassida, n. sp., from Mexico; Dargida juxta, n. sp., from Mexico and Costa Rica; and Dargida lilium, n. sp., from Bolivia. Adults and male and female genitalia are illustrated. Dargida grammivora Walker and Dargida meridionalis (Hampson) are closely related species that could be confused with those of the Dargida procinctus complex. Adults and male and female genitalia are illustrated for comparison. A key is provided for differentiation of these closely related species.