Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Xylorycta heliomacula

Xylorycta heliomacula (Lower, 1894)

Mistletoe stem borer

♂ - Qld, Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island Lat. 25' 25'' S Long. 153' 03'' E, 9. Nov. 1993, I.F.B. Common leg. (ANIC). [AMO].

♀- Qld, Millstream Falls Lat. 17' 39'' S Long. 145' 27'' E, 27. Nov. 1998, E.D. Edwards H. Sutrisno leg. (ANIC). [AMO].


Telecrates heliomacula Lower, 1894, New Australian Heterocera. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia  18: 77–113 [92]. Holotype QM ♂, Brisbane, Qld.
Xylorycta heliomacula, Lower. Turner, 1898. The Xyloryctidae of Queensland. Ann. Qd Mus. 4: 1–32
Xylorycta heliomacula, Lower. Lucas, T.P., 1902, New species of Queensland Lepidoptera. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,  27: 246-251 [251].
Xylorycta heliomacula, Low. Common, 1990, Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press. 227-230 [229].
Xylorycta heliomacula, (Lower, 1894). Common, in Nielsen, Edwards, & Rangsi, 1996, Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, 4: i-xiv, 1-529 & CD-ROM [89].
Telecrates heliomacula Lower, 1894. 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 heliomacula, (Lower, 1894). Edwards, E. D. (2003), Xyloryctinae. Australian Faunal Directory. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. [accessed 19 June 2010].

Original description, Lower 1894
Telecrates heliomacula, n. sp.
Male, 27 mm. Head, palpi, and thorax yellow; anterior half of thorax dark purplish-fuscous; abdomen yellowish-orange, segmental margins broadly fuscous-purple, anal tuft orange. Legs yellow, anterior and posterior tibiae and tarsi fuscous, middle femora infuscated. Antennae fuscous, ciliations one-half. Forewings elongate-oblong, costa slightly arched at base, thence straight, apex rounded; hindmargin obliquely rounded; dark-fuscous, purple shining; markings yellow; an elongate spot immediately beneath costa at one-third; an irregular quadrate spot immediately beneath on inner margin before middle; a large irregular ovate spot just before apex, beneath which is a smaller spot suffused with three or four lines of ground colour; cilia dark-fuscous, with a darker basal line and a fine ochreous hindmarginal line. Hind wings orange-yellow; a narrow fuscous hindmarginal band, broadest at anal angle; cilia as in forewings.
One specimen, Brisbane (Type in Brisbane Museum, Queensland). A very chaste and distinct species.
Other references

Xylorycta heliomacula, Lower. (Telecrates heliomacula, Lower. Proc. Roy. Soc. S. A. 1894, 92.) Antennal ciliations in male, 1. One specimen (Brisbane Museum): the locality is not recorded, but it was probably taken in the neighbourhood of Brisbane. (Turner, 1898).

Xylorycta heliomacula, Lower.
I have bred this species from larvae feeding on a species of mistletoe (Loranthus) in Brisbane. The three or four previously known species were captured at light. (Lucas, 1902).

Pl. 6.1: Common, 1990

A similar species [to X. chrysomela] X. heliomacula (Low) (Pl. 6.1) occurs from Townsville to southern Queensland and Coonabarabran, N.S.W. The larvae bore in the stems of mistletoe, Amyema (Loranthaceae), and have also been recorded on Grevillea striata (Protaceae). (Common, 1990).

Food plants: Larva boring in stem. Larval foodplants: Amyema sp., Loranthaceae, Grevillea striata (Proteaceae). (Edwards, 2003).
Flight period: November.
Distribution: New South Wales, Queensland. Endemic. (Edwards, 2003).

Remarks: Xylorycta heliomacula has a very close relationship, revealed by barcoding, with Philarista porphyrinella. It may be no coincidence that both species feed as larvae on parasitic plants, P. porphyrinella on Exocarpus and X. heliomacula on Loranthus. The close relationship is also revealed by the wing markings that have an underlying structural similarity. I have yet to dissect the genitalia of either species, but I would expect them to be very similar. Perhaps X. heliomacula would be better placed in the genus Philarista.