Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Xylorycta argyrota

Xylorycta argyrota Lower, 1908

Xylorycta argyrota, syntype. South Australian Museum, Adelaide. © SAMA.

Xylorycta argyrota Lower, 1908. New Australian Lepidoptera. No. XXV. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia  32: 110–120 [116]. Syntype(s) SAMA 15♂♀, Henley Beach, SA.
Xylorycta argyrota Lower, 1908. Common, in Nielsen, Edwards, & Rangsi, 1996, Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, 4: i-xiv, 1-529 & CD-ROM [88].
 Xylorycta argyrota Lower, 1908. Beccaloni, G. W., Scoble, M. J., Robinson, G. S. & Pitkin, B. (Editors). 2003. The Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex). World Wide Web electronic publication. [accessed 5 May 2010].
Xylorycta argyrota Lower, 1908. Edwards, E. D. (2003), Xyloryctinae. Australian Faunal Directory. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. [accessed 19 June 2010].

Original description, Lower 1908
Xylorycta argyrota, n. sp.
♂, 16 mm.; ♀, 20 mm. Head, palpi, antennae, and thorax silvery-whitish, palpi internally whitish. Abdomen greyish ochreous, beneath broadly banded with fuscous. Legs silvery-whitish, posterior pair ochreous. Forewings elongate, moderate, costa gently arched, termen obliquely rounded; silvery- whitish, almost white in some specimens; a moderately clear white costal streak, from base to ¾, posteriorly attenuated; veins towards termen obscurely outlined with pale fuscous; cilia whitish, faintly ochreous tinged. Hindwings grey; cilia pale greyish-ochreous.
Henley Beach, South Australia. Fifteen specimens; in March and November. Bred from stems of Juncus sp. The larva form ball-shaped masses of grey flocculent down on the seed heads; sometimes there are three of these masses on one stem, in others they are formed at the base of the stem, and there become much larger.

Food plants: Larva boring in stems. Larval foodplant: Juncus sp. (Juncaceae). (Edwards, 2003).
Flight period: March, November.
Distribution: South Australia. Endemic. (Edwards, 2003).

Remarks: The larval habitus is reminiscent of Scieropepla spp., and barcode results confirm this assumption by placing X. argyrota in the assemblage of Scieropepla orthosema, q.v., and I conclude that these moths are probably synonymous. In my opinion this species is S. orthosema.