Journal archives for December 2021

December 28, 2021

New Paper on a Catabenoides (Noctuidae)

Vitor O. Becker, a Lepidopterist in Brazil, just published a revision of the Noctuid genus Catabenoides in the J. Lep. Soc. (JLS 75(4):259-279, Dec. 2021). The paper substantially revises the taxonomy of the genus including some important corrected synonymy. He also describes nine new species from South America. The paper affects species occurring in Texas.

From Becker’s research, two species of Catabenoides occur in Texas, C. vitrinus and C. divisa. This is where the synonomy gets complicated. Most previous records in this genus in Texas and the Southwest were assigned to C. terminellus (with synonym C. candida)(iNat, MPG, BG, etc.). Becker synonymizes terminellus, candida, and a Florida species insularis under C. divisa. His expanded concept of divisa ranges from the British Virgin Islands, through Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and Cuba, to south Florida, and from Texas to Arizona south into Mexico.

Importantly, Becker also offers an expanded concept of C. vitrinus, stating that it is “sympatric throughout” the range of divisa, and not just confined to Florida and the Caribbean as indicated in other sources (e.g. MPG). He maps vitrinus from Hispaniola, Jamaica, and south Florida, as well as from Texas and Arizona south into Mexico.

Taking his concepts of vitrinus and divisa at face value, the issue facing us in Texas is where each occurs and how we might tell them apart. A distribution map in Becker’s paper is unfortunately flawed and certainly incomplete. He indicates he examined 11 Texas specimens of vitrinus (but no genitalic slides) and 24 Texas specimens of divisa (including 3 genitalic slides). His map (Fig. 31, p. 264) has some misplaced symbols for divisa so it is somewhat unreliable for a detailed examination of the ranges. That said, if we take as a starting point that both species occur and overlap broadly in Texas, his map suggests that both species occur in South Texas and the Hill Country. He lists records of divisa in the Trans-Pecos but none there for vitrinus.

Here is another case where the utility of iNaturalist could be demonstrated: iNat presently contains 314 observations of this genus in Texas including at least 216 Research Grade observations (all RG assigned to “terminellus”). We have accumulated records of the genus as far north as I-20 in such locations as Palo Pinto SP, Maddin Prairie, Big Spring, and Midland. The challenge now is to be able to distinguish and assign photographic observations to one or the other of Becker’s species. It will not be possilbe to put a species name on all of them. But Becker offers one little tidbit which might help distinguish the two in photos:

The patagia are the “epaulets” which flank the middle of the thorax on most moths. On C. vitrinus, there is a “diffuse ochreous [pale orange] line across the middle of the patagia”, whereas in divisa there is a thin black line in the middle of the patagia. These marks might be tricky to see in dorsal views, but can be judged in clear lateral views of unworn moths. The primary image of “Catabenoides vitrina” on MPG shows the dull orange on the patagia:
http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges=10036
Here is an example of mine (dorsal view) at Timberlake Biologocal Station (Mills County) from October 2019 which seems to show the diffuse dull orange color on the patagia which would place this in the revised vitrinus:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/34161132
Note that the long black stripe on the FWs is not related to species discrimination; it is found on females of both species, absent on males of both species.
But another of my examples from Timberlake seems to show both a dull orange color and a thin dark line on the patagia:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/34161133 (2nd image)
So it is not going to be easy to separate these two in Texas.

I am NOT going to attempt reidentifying a lot of Catabenoides in Texas just yet. For one thing, “Catabenoides divisa” isn’t in the iNat taxonomy. For another, Jim Troubridge and other researchers may still have different concepts of the species of Catabenoides occurring in the U.S. So as informative as Becker’s brand new paper is, it may not be the final word.

If you want to dive into this further, here is a link to all 314 observations of Catabenoides in Texas on iNat:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=18&taxon_id=330406
and on BugGuide (total 55 images but none assigned to vitrinus):
https://bugguide.net/node/view/169895/bgimage?from=0

Posted on December 28, 2021 17:26 by gcwarbler gcwarbler | 2 comments | Leave a comment

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