Monday, July 5, 2010

Plectophila discalis

Plectophila discalis (Walker, 1865)

♀ - NSW, Depot Beach, 10 miles NE of Batemans Bay, 31. Dec. 1967, I.F.B. Common leg. (ANIC). [AMO].

♂ - NSW, Wingham, 6. Jan. 1973, J. Stockard leg. (ANIC). [AMO].

 ♀ - K329, Kuranda, collected by David Rentz.

Acontia discalis Walker, 1865, Supplement 3. List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. Vol. 33. 707–1120 pp. [786]. Holotype BMNH ♀, Moreton Bay, Qld.
Plectophila discalis, Walk. Meyrick, 1890, Descriptions of Australian Lepidoptera. Part I. Xyloryctidae. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 13: 23-81 [56].
Lichenaula oxygona Lucas, T.P., 1895. Australian Lepidoptera: thirty new species. Transactions of the Natural History Society of Queensland 1: 103–116 [116]. Holotype SAMA ♀, Brisbane, Qld.
Lichenaula oxygona Lucas. Turner, 1898. The Xyloryctidae of Queensland. Annals of the Queensland Museum 4: 1–32 [17]. 
Lichenaula inscripta Turner, 1898. The Xyloryctidae of Queensland. Annals of the Queensland Museum 4: 1–32 [21]. Holotype ANIC ♂, Brisbane, Qld.
Lichenaula inscripta Turn., 1897. Turner, 1900: New Micro-lepidoptera -- mostly from Queensland. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 24: 6-23 [9].
Lichenaula ombralota Lower, 1901. Descriptions of new genera and species of Australian Lepidoptera. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia  25: 63-98 [84]. Holotype SAMA ♀, Bairnsdale, Vic.
Plectophila discalis, Wlk. Turner, 1902: New Australian Lepidoptera, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia  26, 175-207 [197].
Plectophila discalis. Moore, K.M., 1964, Observations on some Forest Insects, 16, Lepidoptera attacking Pinus spp. in New South Wales, Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 88, 340-360 [351, 357].
Plectopila discalis. Common, 1990, Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press. 227-230 [228].
Plectophila discalis (Walker, 1865). Common, in Nielsen, Edwards, & Rangsi, 1996, Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, 4: i-xiv, 1-529 & CD-ROM [88].
Plectophila discalis (Walker, 1865). 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 26 April 2010].
Xylorycta inscripta (Turner, 1897). 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 26 April 2010]. [Synonymy not noted.]
Plectophila discalis (Walker, 1865). Edwards, E. D. (2003), Xyloryctinae. Australian Faunal Directory. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. [accessed 17 June 2010].

Original decription, Walker 1865
Acontia discalis.
Foem. Argenteo-alba; alae anticae vitta lata fusca dimidio exteriore dilatata, linea submarginali alba angulata antice dilatata liturasque tres fuscas includente, strigis submarginalibus longitudinalibus nigris; posticae aeneo-cinereae.
Female. Silvery while. Fore wings with a broad brown stripe, which extends from the basal part of the interior border, and occupies the whole breadth of the wing from somewhat beyond the middle to the exterior border, near which it includes an angular white line; the latter is much dilated in front and includes three brown costal marks; some slender black streaks between the submarginal line and the border. Hind wings aeneous-cinereous.
Length of the body 5 lines [10.6mm]; of the wings 13 lines [27.5mm].
a. Moreton Bay. From Mr. Diggles' collection.

Subsequent description, Meyrick, 1890
Plect. discalis, Walk.
(Acontia discalis, Walk. Suppl. 786.)
Both sexes 20-25 mm. Head, palpi, antennae, thorax, abdomen, and legs white; anterior and middle legs infuscated. Forewings elongate-oblong, costa moderately arched, apex obtuse, hindmargin sinuate, little oblique, rounded beneath; white; in female a light fuscous suffusion forming a cloudy fascia, its outer edge distinct and rectangularly angulated in middle, from 3/5 of costa to inner margin before anal angle, and occupying entire dorsal 2/3 of wing from base up to this, except a cloudy white spot below middle, sometimes irrorated with dark fuscous longitudinally in disc, and on posterior margin of fascia; in male these markings are largely reduced or nearly obsolete, showing only partial indications of the posterior fascia and a small spot on fold before middle; an irregular suffused fuscous streak along hindmargin, hindmarginal edge dark fuscous: cilia white, with two cloudy fuscous lines. Hindwings pale whitish-ochreous-grey, terminal half suffused with rather dark grey, extreme apex whitish-ochreous; cilia ochreous-whitish.
Sydney, New South Wales; in December and March, five specimens.

Synonymic description, T.P. Lucas. 1895
Family Xylorictidae.
Lichenaula oxygona, nov. sp.
♀ 26 mm . Head creamy-white. Palpi creamy-white, terminal joint smoky-grey. Antennae golden-cream. Thorax creamy-white, shading into grey posteriorly. Abdomen creamy-fuscous. Forewings elongate, costa gently rounded, hindmargins nearly straight, rich creamy-white finely irrorated with smoky-grey scales; costal line ochreous. beyond costal band of ground-colour from base narrowing at ½ costa, and extending in a narrow line to 1/8 inner margin; a fuscous line ½ costa obliquely shading into grey to median to within one-sixth of hindmargin; thence angled in a recurved outward line to before anal angle of inner margin; this line is bordered posteriorly by a line of ground-colour which runs along veins shaded with grey to hindmargin, these form alternate lines with grey suffused bands; three chocolate fuscous spots beyond on costa, the third giving off two lines, the first bordered posteriorly with white runs nearly parallel with hindmargin to just before anal angle of inner margin; the second, which is parallel, stops short at 1/3 hindmargin. Cilia grey. Hindwings cream-colour, shaded, excepting all borders, with smoky-grey; short marginal fuscous band round apex to 1/6 hind-margin. Cilia white, grey toward apex.
One specimen bred from the caterpillar taken in scrub near Brisbane by Mr. Illidge, 1893.

Subsequent synonymic description, Turner 1898
Lichenaula oxygona, Lucas. Trans. Nat. His. Soc. Q. 1894, 14. Male, 24 mm. Forewings with vein 7 to hindmargin. Head and face white. Palpi white, terminal joint fuscous anteriorly. Antennae ochreous-fuscons. Thorax white, shading into whitish-grey posteriorly. Abdomen grey. Legs whitish. Forewings oblong, somewhat dilated posteriorly, costa slightly arched, apex round-pointed, hindmargin moderately oblique, almost straight; pale whitish-grey irrorated with pale fuscous scales; along costa broadly whitish; costal edge fuscous at extreme base, thence ochreous to 3/5; a short very outwardly oblique ochreous-fuscous streak from costa at 3/5; bounded externally by a white line which is sharply bent in disc, and continued in an inwardly convex line to anal angle; this line is sharply defined anteriorly, beyond it disc is pale whitish-grey; three ochreous fuscous dots on apical ¼ of costa; a narrow blackish line outlining apex, joined by a short narrow longitudinal blackish line from disc; a few blackish scales at anal angle; cilia grey, with a white basal line and an ochreous-fuscous line at 1/3 at apex. Hindwings grey; towards apex whitish; cilia whitish-grey; at apex darker with a fuscous line before middle
Redescribed from the original type. Brisbane: reared by Mr. Illidge from a larva tunnelling the stem of an unknown shrub.

Synonymic description, Turner, 1898
Lichenaula inscripta, n. sp. Male, 20 mm. Antennal ciliations, 1/3. Forewings with vein 7 to Just below apex. Head and face white. Palpi white, terminal joint pale fuscous towards apex. Antennae fuscous, paler towards. base. Thorax white. Abdomen (broken). Legs ochreous-whitish. Forewings elongate; costa arched apex round-pointed, hindmargin slightly sinuate, moderately oblique; white; basal 1/3 of costal edge fuscous; a fuscous dot on middle of fold; faint indications of a line from costa at 2/3 to anal angle, consisting of a fuscous dot on costa, two smaller dots in disc, and a pale fuscous suffusion at anal angle; hind margin suffusedly outlined with fuscous; cilia white. Hindwings and cilia pale-grey.
This species may be somewhat variable in the intensity of markings. Brisbane: one specimen in December.

Subsequent synonymic description, Turner, 1900
Lichenaula inscripta, Turn.
Annals Queensland Mus., 1897, No.4, 21.
Male, 19 mm. Head and thorax white. Palpi white, apex of second joint slightly fuscous-tinged. Antennae dark-fuscous. Abdomen fuscous; first two rings and apices of segments white; Forewings elongate, costa moderately arched, apex rounded, hindmargin sinuate, moderately oblique; white; markings fuscous; costal edge dark-fuscous towards base, thence ochreous-tinged; a dot on fold at two-fifths; two small dots placed transversely in disc at two-thirds, an outwardly oblique line from costa at two-thirds, narrowing in disc, abruptly bent, and continued suffusedly to anal angle; three dots on apical third of costa; a suffused hindmarginal line, leaving hindmarginal edge white; five or six fine blackish lines, parallel to veins, running into hindmargin; cilia fuscous, darker at apex, with an indistinct whitish median line. Hindwings grey, towards base and at apex whitish; cilia whitish.
Female, 26 mm. Abdomen wholly whitish. Forewings with angulated line replaced by a broad fuscous suffusion, prolonged along fold towards base, its posterior edge sharply defined.
Differs from L. oxygona, Luc., by the ground colour not being greyish, and by the numerous longitudinal blackish lines running into hindmargin; also by the dot on fold. Its place in my tabulation should be altered accordingly.
The type was wasted. I have since taken a very perfect male on Mount Tambourine (1,800 ft.), Queensland, in November, and have received a female taken at Brisbane from Mr. H. Tryon.

Synonymic description, Lower, 1901
Lichenaula ombralota, n. sp.
Female, 24 mm. Head and thorax snow-white (pal pi broken). Antennae fuscous. Legs whitish. Abdomen, greyish, beneath whitish, segmental margins, narrowly dull orange. Forewings elongate, moderate, costa gently arched, apex round pointed, termen sinuate beneath apex, hardly rounded; 2 from two-thirds, 7 to apex; dark fuscous, suffusedly mixed with whitish and black scales; a broad white costal streak from base to apex, attenuated at extremities and broadly interrupted by ground color at two-thirds; a somewhat dot-like fuscous streak, from posterior extremity of ground color interrupted along costa to apex and continued as a fine line along termen to anal angle.; veins towards termen outlined in black and edged with whitish; a suffused ferruginous spot on fold at one-third, edged posteriorly by a similar-sized white spot; a similar white spot beyond extremity of cell; cilia whitish, light fuscous on basal half, and with a very distinct blackish terminal line around apical portion. Hindwings fuscous; cilia as in forewings.
Nearest undulatella, Walk.
Bairnsdale, Victoria; one specimen, in January.

Other references

Plectophila discalis, Wlk.
(Acontia discalis, Wlk., suppI. 786; Pletophila [sic] discalis, Meyr., Tr. R.S. S.A., 1890, 55; Lichenaula inscripta, Turn. Annals Queensland Mus., iv., 21, Trans. Roy. Soc., B.A., 1900, p. 9.) (Turner, 1902).

Fig. 9. Dorsal aspect, pupa of Plectophila discalis.
Fig. 10. Lateral aspect, pupa of Plectophila discalis.
Fig . 11. Lateral portion of head capsule, P. discalis.
(Moore, 1964).

The habits of, and damage by, this species are similar to those of the tortricid species, but the sheltering larval tunnel is of thicker silk and is constructed along the smaller stems at the bases of the foliage rather than among the foliage.
Larvae are similar in coloration to those of I . miserana, being blue-green, opaque, with longitudinal brown stripes and sometimes a pale pink·brown lateral area. The head capsule is brown mottled with black (Fig. 11); prothorax with transverse black markings and a small black triangular area anterior to the spiracle; abdominal segments with two mottled narrow pale brown dorsal longitudinal stripes with a dark brown dorso-lateral stripe each side; a dark lateral verruca with a seta above the spiracles, and four dark spots each with a seta dorso-laterally on each segment with the anterior spots the larger; dorsal plate of posterior segment pale brown with black spots.
Pupae are about 10 mm. in length with prominent vein·like markings forming a network on the dorsal surface (Figs 9 and 10).
Adults have a wing-span of about 20 mm.; forewings are satiny white lightly suffused grey; small dark markings along costa from one-half to apex, and along termen to dorsum; a black spot on dorsum at one-half; hindwings pale grey, shiny, with long white cilia.
A parasite, Meteorus sp. (Braconidae), has been reared from this species. (Moore, 1964).

Pl. 5.6: Common, 1990

Ten described species are referred to Plectophila Meyrick, most of which have delicately patterned, white forewings. P. discalis, (Pl. 5.6) is found in rainforests and wet sclerophyll eucalypt forests from Iron Range, northern Queensland, to Batemans Bay, New South Wales. The larvae feed in a shelter formed by joining adjacent leaves with silk on Syncarpa glomulifera, Eucalyptus scabra, (both Myrtaceae), Cryptocarya glaucescens (Lauraceae), Hibiscus tiliaceus (Malvaceae), and no doubt other trees. (Common, 1990).

Plectophila discalis, ♂ head, K323, Kuranda, Queensland. Collected by David Rentz.

Plectophila discalis, ♂ wing venation


Plectophila discalis, ♂ genitalia. Depot Beach, NSW. ANIC slide no. 1466, dissected by D. Adamski. Photomicrograph taken at ANIC, Canberra.

Plectophila discalis, ♂ genitalia. Depot Beach, NSW. ANIC slide no. 1466, dissected by D. Adamski. Photomicrograph taken at ANIC, Canberra.

Plectophila discalis, ♀ genitalia. Depot Beach, NSW. ANIC slide no. 1465, dissected by D. Adamski. Photomicrograph taken at ANIC, Canberra.

Food plants: Larva in shelter of tied leaves. Larval foodplant: Syncarpia glomulifera, Eucalyptus scabra (Myrtaceae); Cryptocarya glaucescens (Lauraceae); Hibiscus tiliaceus (Malvaceae). (Edwards, 2003).
Flight period:  November, December, January, March.
Distribution: New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria. Endemic. (Edwards, 2003).