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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344273

Research Project: Systematics of Moths Significant to Biodiversity, Quarantine, and Control, with a Focus on Invasive Species

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Review of Lophomyra Schaus species newly associated with ferns and the transfer of Lophomyra commixta (Schaus) NEW COMBINATION (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

item Goldstein, Paul
item JANZEN, D. - University Of Pennsylvania
item HALLWACHS, W. - University Of Pennsylvania
item Proshek, Benjamin
item DAPKEY, TANYA - University Of Pennsylvania

Submitted to: ZooKeys
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/8/2018
Publication Date: 10/18/2018
Citation: Goldstein, P.Z., Janzen, D.H., Hallwachs, W., Proshek, B.T., Dapkey, T. 2018. Review of Lophomyra Schaus species newly associated with ferns and the transfer of Lophomyra commixta (Schaus) new combination (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). ZooKeys. 788:135-165.

Interpretive Summary: Ferns occupy a uniquely important role in understanding how insect diets evolve. Fern-feeding insects are sometimes thought to be rare in nature or at least occur in low numbers because ferns possess a unique combination of toxic chemical defenses. This presents a challenge not only for understanding how herbivores overcome plant chemistry but also for discovering biocontrol solutions to problems with invasive fern species, such as the highly destructive Old World Climbing Fern. For these reasons, the discovery and documentation of fern-feeding species among multiple groups of moths is an important consequence of ongoing caterpillar surveys in the tropics. Using a combination of molecular and genetic data, we revise the taxonomy of a genus of owlet moths whose caterpillars are recently discovered fern-specialists. This work is of interests to chemical ecologists and biocontrol specialists as well as ecologists and plant-insect scientists.

Technical Abstract: Lophomyra is the smaller of two related noctuine genera originally described by Schaus and to include species recently associated with ferns (Pteridophyta), specifically Polypodiaceae, as larval host plants. Following examination of type material and reared specimens accompanied by DNA barcode data, Lophomyra is revised to include L. tacita Schaus, L. santista (Jones), and L. commixta NEW COMBINATION, which we transfer from Chytonidia. The genus is. characterized based on adult and larval morphology, especially male and female genitalic architecture. Structures associated with the valvae are discussed with reference to slide-mounted and in situ images; diagnoses and a key to species are provided. Larval images and recorded hosts of L. commixta and L. tacita are presented and discussed in the context of known New World noctuid pteridivores.