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Three new species of Fancy Case caterpillars from threatened forests of Hawaii (Lepidoptera, Cosmopterigidae, Hyposmocoma)

Author(s): Akito Kawahara | Daniel Rubinoff

Journal: ZooKeys
ISSN 1313-2989

Volume: 170;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Case-bearing | endemism | Hawaii | conservation | Microlepidoptera | moth | new species

The endemic Hawaiian moth genus Hyposmocoma includes 348 described species and perhaps twice as many that remain undescribed. The genus is unusual within Lepidoptera in that its larvae create distinctive silk cases in which they perambulate while protected and camouflaged. An extraordinary diversity of case types exists, and to date more than ten different types have been identified, each corresponding roughly to a separate evolutionary lineage. In this study, we describe three new species of Hyposmocoma: H. ipohapuu sp. n. from Big Island, H. makawao sp. n. from Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui and H. tantala sp. n. from Mt. Tantalus, Oahu, all of which produce tubular purse cases during their larval stage. We also describe the female of H. inversella Walsingham, which was previously undescribed, and re-describe two closely related species, H. auropurpurea Walsingham and H. nebulifera Walsingham, neither which have been formally described in recent years. We present for the first time, the CAD primer sequences for Hyposmocoma and relatives. The molecular phylogeny based on mitochondrial and nuclear loci demonstrates that all are distinct species. The discovery of a new, endemic species from Mt. Tantalus, an area with many invasive species, suggests that even relatively degraded areas in Hawaii would be worthy of active conservation efforts.
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