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Holotype ♂: [label 1] “USA: CA: Imperial Co. | Algodones Dunes – Niland- | Glamis Rd. 7.4 km NW Glamis”, [label 2] “33°02N 115°08.3W | 21-25 April 2009 AL173 | Bohart Museum Team”, [label 3] “UC BME | P 0201628”, [label 4] “Barcode of Life Project | Leg(s) removed | DNA extracted”, [label 5] “genitalia slide | VNZ240 ♂.” Condition of specimen: double mounted, wings partly spread, left antenna and part of right antenna missing, left hind- and all right legs missing, partly removed for DNA barcoding. Deposited at UCBME.
Paratypes. 5 males, 1 female. 1 ♂ same data as for holotype, specimen # UCBMEP0201629 (CNC); 1 ♀ USA: CA: Imperial Co., Algodones Dunes, Mammoth Wash, Niland-Glamis Rd., 29 km N. Hwy 78, 2008AL20, 6-9.II.2008, Malaise trap, S.L. Heydon & T.J. Zavortnik, specimen # UCBMEP0201482, slide VNZ241 (UCBME); 1 ♂ CA: Riverside Co., P.L. Boyd Desert Research Center, 3.5 miles S. Palm Desert, 13–18.VI.1969, Malaise trap, Saul Frommer & R. Worley, specimen # UCREM 18373, slide VNZ580 (UCR); 1 ♂ ibid, 16–17.8.1970, P.L. Boyd, specimen # UCRC ENT 461717 (UCR); 1 ♂ CA: Imperial Co., Deep Canyon, Coyote Creek, 5.IV.1975, J.B. Tucker, specimen # UCIS 313268, slide VNZ556 (UCR). 1 ♂ Mexico: Baja California Norte, Arroya Catavina, Hwy 1, 35 mi S Progresso, 1.IV.1976, Blacklight, P.A. Rude, specimen # EMEC408498, slide VNZ327 (EMEC).
The new species can be easily distinguished from Neopalpa neonata by its external appearance, the yellowish-white scales covering the frons of the adult head, and the distinctive orange-yellow coloration on the forewing dorsum. In the male genitalia, the valvae are strongly curved, the saccus has an acute tip, and the highly-developed bilobed processes of the vinculum, characteristic of Neopalpa neonata, are absent. In the female genitalia, the subgenital plate is simpler than in Neopalpa neonata and much less sculptured with microtrichea, and the signum wings are smooth.
Adult (Figs 1g–j, 2c, d). Forewing length: male 3.0–4.6 mm (mean 3.6 mm, n=6); female 4.3 mm (n=1). Head and thorax off-white, tegula greyish brown to brown, scales on vertex and frons yellowish white, often rough, converging towards middle. Labial palpi strongly up curved, annulated, segment 3 slender and acute, about ⅔ size of segment 2; antenna about ⅔ length of forewing, with more or less distinct dark and light rings, scape covered with yellow and light-brown scales. Forewing upper surface with costal region dark brown with sparse, lighter speckles; dorsal region and discal fascia orange yellow to pale buff, the sinuous margin with two or three scallops; apical area and fringes dark brown heavily mottled with lighter suffusion. Hindwing pale buff, unmarked, with slightly darker fringe. Sexes similar.
Male genitalia (Figs 3e–h, 4b) (four preparations examined). Tergum 8 subpentagonal, weakly sclerotized and concave anteriorly; sternum 8 more than 2× the width of tergum 8, subquadrate, broader than long, posterior margin broadly rounded, anterior margin bilobate with a protruded anterolateral corner. Genitalia comparatively smaller than for Neopalpa neonata, tegumen slender and parallel sided, anterior margin laterally notched, uncus long and narrow with a round tip; gnathos a short spine with distinct V-shaped arms about same width; culcitula weakly developed. Valva sigmoid, parallel sided, with a short spine at about ⅔ length towards tip; sacculus parabasally located, short and cone shaped; vinculum with lateral projections spine shaped and about the same size as sacculus, vinculum posterior margin weakly developed with a shallow anteromedial incision; saccus elongate, nearly as long as tegumen, narrowing towards an acute tip; phallus elongate with a subovate caecum and a distinct subterminal spine.
Female genitalia (Fig. 5b, d) (1 preparations examined). Segment 8 with almost evenly sclerotized subgenital plate, with ventromedial zone membranous and moderately sculpted with microtraechia; ostium bursae subtriangular, distinctly edged anterolaterally; 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 about same width and 2× length of antrum, lightly sculpted with wrinkles; corpus bursae clearly deliniated, bulbous, lightly sculpted; signum aviform with a central spine and two smooth subtriangular wings.
The new species is named in honor of Donald J. Trump, to be installed as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. The reason for this choice of name is to bring wider public attention to the need to continue protecting fragile habitats in the US that still contain many undescribed species. The specific epithet is selected because of the resemblance of the scales on the frons (head) of the moth to Mr. Trump’s hairstyle. The name is a noun in the genitive case.
So far only known from Riverside and Imperial counties in southern California and Baja California in Mexico.
Specimens collected at mercury-vapour light, black-light or Malaise trap in February, April, June and August, in dry or sandy habitats. Life history and host plant unknown.
- 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