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- Neopalpa Povolný, 1998a: 141, figs 1, 6.
Neopalpa neonata Povolný, 1998b (by original designation).
Neopalpa can be defined by the combination of the following genitalia characters: male tegumen long and parallel sided, gnathos a short and delicate spine with distinct V-shaped arms, uncus tall and rounded, valvae sigmoid with antler-shaped tip, saccus narrow and nearly as long as tegumen, phallus nearly as long as longitudinal axis of genitalia, with a subovate caecum and a sub-terminal projection. Female with a well-developed antrum and an aviform signum.
Povolný (1998a) did not provide a differential diagnosis for Neopalpa neonata; instead he emphasized the “extremely characteristic” male genitalia, “… mainly reflected in the form of the curious bilobate paired process arising from the sacculus, in the shape of slender parallel-sided sigmoid valva with its curious tip, and in the long slender aedeagus with the specialized tip.” As for the adult, he commented, “The moth shows the monotonous forewing coloration with indistinct blackish stigmata characteristic of the tribe.” With the discovery of a new species of Neopalpa described here, none of these characters holds up as a synapomorphy for the genus. While comparable structures occur in other Gnorimoschemini (e.g., some species in Ephysteris or Keiferia), the “curious bilobate paired process arising from the sacculus” is significantly reduced in the new species. Also, the sigmoid bifurcating valve is not unique in Gnorimoschemini (present in some species of Keiferia, Scrobipalpopsis and Symmetrischema), and the new species does not show a highly-specialized phallus. In addition, the adults of the new species show a highly-contrasting wing pattern that is very distinct from Neopalpa neonata.
Head. Scaled with light-yellow frons, scales on the vertex converging towards middle, often with darker tips, ocelli present, small, located behind the base of antenna. Labial palpi strongly up-curved, segment 3 acute, about 2/3 length of segment 2; antenna with more or less distinct dark and light rings.
Thorax. Grey to brown; wingspan 7–12 mm; forewing slender, discal and apical areas dark brown, termen with black-tipped white scales. Hindwing off-white to greyish with a well-developed tornal lobe and a pointed tip.
Abdomen. Male tergum 8 subtriangular, equilateral, weakly sclerotized and concave anteriorly; sternum 8 more than twice the size of tergum 8, subrectangular, broader than long, posterior margin broadly rounded, anterior margin bilobate with a deep ventral emargination. Female segment 7 trapezoidal, tergum 7 approximately twice the length of other abdominal segments; apodemes in both sexes well developed. Coremata absent.
Male genitalia. Characterized by elongate shape, long parallel-sided tegumen and slender, well-rounded uncus; gnathos a short spine; culcitula weakly developed; valva sigmoid, parallel sided with a bifurcating antler-shaped tip; sacculus parabasally located, short and cone shaped; vincular processes variously developed; saccus elongate, nearly as long as tegumen; phallus elongate with a subovate caecum and a distinct subterminal spine.
Female genitalia. Segment 8 with almost evenly sclerotized subgenital plate, moderately to strongly sculpted, ventromedial zone membranous; ostium bursae distinctly edged; antrum wide, tubular and weakly sclerotized, nearly ¾ length of apophysis anterioris; apophysis anterioris thin and parallel sided, about same length as segment 8; ductus bursae same width as antrum and same length as apophysis anterioris; corpus bursae clearly delineated, bulbous; signum aviform with a central spine (hook) and two wide subtriangular lobes.
Western USA (California and Arizona) and Baja California, Mexico.
Key to species of Neopalpa
- Nazari, V; 2017: Review of Neopalpa Povolný, 1998 with description of a new species from California and Baja California, Mexico (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae) ZooKeys, (646): 79-94. doi