Elasmia mandela santaana
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Holotype male: “Hidalgo Co. Texas 31-X-83 Santa Ana Refuge leg. E.C. Knudson” “HOLOTYPE USNM Elasmia mandela santaana Metzler & Knudson” [red handwritten label] (USNM). Paratypes: 13 males; 10 females: TEXAS: Harris Co: TX. Houston, Leg. E.C. Knudson, 9-VIII-75. Hidalgo Co. TX. Santa Ana NWR, 6-IX-92, leg. E.C. Knudson. Texas: Uvalde Co. Concan, 15-V-10, B/K. Tarrant Co. Texas Benbrook, 30-IV-78, leg. E.C. Knudson. Terrel Co. Tex. Sanderson, 25-IV-81, leg. E.C. Knudson. Kerrville. Texas, Barnes Collection. Kerrville, Texas. VIII 1904. Kerrville, TX. H. Lacy Collector. Kerrville, 4-23-08, TX. F.C. Pratt Collector. Texas, San Patricio Co. Welder Wildlife Refuge near Sinton, Texas, 14-16-VI-85, leg. E.C. Knudson. Hidalgo Co., TX, Bentsen State Park, 6-VIII-94, E. Knudson coll. Montgomery Co. Tex. Sawdust Rd. & I.S. 45, leg. E.C. Knudson, 20-VI-75. Brownsville, Tex III-10-29, F.H. Benjamin collr, Barnes Collection. Alpine, TX. 8–14 May, 8–14 July, 15–21 Aug. 1926, O.C. Poling, Coll[ector]. TEXAS: Smith Cany., Guadalupe Mountains, Culberson Co., 5750’ May 22, 1973, Douglas C. Ferguson. OK: Caddo Co. Methodist Youth Camp 1 October 1994 J.M. Nelson Coll. OK: Tulsa Co. Sand Springs 145th & W. 19th St. Aug 27 - Sept 1, 2008 J.F. Fisher, Collr. at black light. OK: Tulsa Co. Sand Springs 145th & W. 19th St. September 12, 2008 J.F. Fisher, Collr. at black light. (TLSRC, ORU, USNM).
The name of this subspecies, santaana,refers to its type locality, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. The name is treated as a noun in apposition.
Elasmia mandela santaana is gray overall. The adult resembles a large example of Elasmia packardii; Elasmia mandela santaana has a contrasting dark scale patch in the reniform/subreniform area. Elasmia mandela santaana (mean forewing length = 16 mm) is larger than Elasmia packardii (mean forewing length = 14 mm) and Elasmia mandela santaana’s Barth’s Organ is relatively larger. The lateral margin of the uncus in Elasmia packardii has a slight shoulder immediately below the apex, whereas in Elasmia mandela santaana the lateral margin of the uncus is flared outward. Elasmia mandela santaana is a gray moth, and Elasmia cave is a brown moth. The male and female genitalia of Elasmia mandela santaana are similar to those of Elasmia cave. The costulae of Elasmia cave are abruptly bent and swollen apically (Fig. 15); the costulae of Elasmia mandela santaana may be slightly swollen but not bent apically (Fig. 18).
Adult male (Fig. 9): Head: smoky gray, scales strap-like, erect, a vague fuscous shade between eyes below antennae, a vague fuscous shade behind antennae. Labial palpus erect, extending to base of antenna, smoky brown gray with two dark-brown lateral lines, ventral scales on 1st and 2nd segments long, not shaggy, 3rd segment closely scaled. Haustellum coiled between labial palpi. Antenna narrowly bipectinate for basal 3/4, each ramus tipped with long setae, apical 1/4 ciliate, with short setae, dorsal surface smoky, closely scaled, ventral surface naked. Thorax: pale brown behind head; collar narrow, black, dorsum smoky with blackish brown-tipped scales on disc; tegula pale smoky, edged with black scales, scales strap-like; underside dark smoky gray with pale-tipped scales, smoky laterally, hair-like. Legs: smoky dark gray brown, closely scaled, each segment and each tarsomere apex ringed with pale. Forewing: length 15–17 mm, mean 16 mm, n = 7. Dorsal surface ground color smoky gray; basal line pale at costa, finely lined with black; antemedial line pale, sinuous, finely lined with black; postmedial line sinuous, pale, finely lined with black; subterminal line a series of fuscous black bars; terminal line a fine fuscous line; orbicular spot inconspicuous; reniform spot a black bar outlined with pale, dark blackish shade in lower part; subreniform spot contrasting black and fuscous; costa apex pale gray tan to white; dark line with dark shade from apex oblique to subreniform spot. Ventral surface smoky; terminal line black; fringe smoky. Hind wing. Dorsal surface ground color smoky gray, darker distally; fringe pale. Ventral surface ground color smoky, with scattered fuscous scales; fringe smoky. Abdomen: smoky, basal tuft blackish, underside smoky. Genitalia (Fig. 17): Uncus flattened, flared outward laterally, with narrow shoulders immediately below apex, apex setose, pointed; socii large, setose, bent at approximately 90°, each arm with an ear-like ridge; tegumen flattened; saccus U-shaped, short; juxta shield shaped, dorsal margin a half circular cutout; diaphragma bearing two sclerotized processes (costulae) near bases of valvae costa, bent at 90°, apex slightly swollen (Fig. 18); valve setose, sclerotized dorsally, membranous ventrally, Barth’s Organ robust, with numerous chevron-shaped parallel pleats, cucullus poorly defined with three narrow curved ridges, corona with weak, mesally-directed, curved setae. Aedeagus (Fig. 19) straight, abruptly flared out anteriorly, flattened, spoon shaped; vesica lightly sclerotized, with a patch of deciduous stellate (like a starfish) spicule-shaped cornuti; subbasal diverticulum with a nipple-shaped cornutus; apex lightly sclerotized, one large basal diverticulum with two subbasal lobes.
Adult female (Fig. 10). Similar to male except; antenna filiform without long setae; top of head yellow to orange; collar to disc of thorax yellow to orange. Forewing length = 16–18 mm, mean 17 mm, n = 9. Genitalia (Fig. 22). Papillae anales membranous, setose, hidden from view between sclerotized extensions of ninth abdominal segment; posterior apophyses slender; anterior apophyses slender; ductus bursae short, broad; corpus bursae round, with a single shark tooth-shaped signum; dorsal wall of corpus bursae sclerotized, forming a thumb-like extension, without bulbous terminus; sclerotized ventral wall with a pock-marked, finger-like extension appressed to surface of corpus bursae.
We make this a subspecies of Elasmia mandela because the color of the forewings is different from Elasmia mandela mandela, it is slightly smaller, and it is geographically separated from Elasmia mandela. The male and female genitalia, however, are indistinguishable from those of Elasmia mandela mandela. Some specimens from Oklahoma were previously misidentified as Elasmia insularis.
Distribution and biology
In the U.S., Elasmia mandela santaana has been recorded from Texas and Oklahoma; its distribution in Mexico is unknown. A larval host (R. O. Kendall specimens in TAM) is Unganadia speciosa Endl. (Mexican buckeye) (Sapindaceae). The type locality was selected because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will protect it into perpetuity.
- Metzler, E; Knudson, E; 2011: A new species of Elasmia Möschler from New Mexico and Texas, and a new subspecies of Elasmia mandela (Druce) from Texas and Oklahoma (Lepidoptera, Notodontidae, Nystaleinae) ZooKeys, 149: 51-67. doi