Art. XXI.—On some New Species of Lepidoptera (Moths) from Southland.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 18th November, 1902.]
Melanchra grandiosa, n. sp. Plate XXXII., fig. 1.
♀, 44 mm. Antennæ and legs brownish-ochreous. Palpi brown, terminal joint ochreous. Face greyish. Thorax bright orange-brown, between patagia brownish-yellow; slight anterior and strong double posterior crest. Abdomen dull-brownish, anal segment tipped with pale-yellow. Fore wings slightly sinuate on costa, apex subacute, termen crenulate, purplish-brown, base suffused with ochreous. An indistinct pale irregular line near base; a small elongate yellow spot above middle at about ⅕; an ochreous patch below middle from base to ⅕; below this a broad elbowed black line to ¼; dorsum broadly suffused with pale-ochreous; an irregular V-shaped pale purplish-brown line from near costa at about ¼, shortly bent towards base, thence obliquely to near dorsum at ½, again slanting upwards to reniform; space within V-shaped line much darker. Near centre of wing, above middle, a large bell-shaped ochreous blotch, the base towards costa. Reniform faintly outlined in pale purplish-grey. A sharply defined oblique line from costa near apex to dorsum at ⅔, dentate near apex and broadly projecting below middle beyond this line the colour is ochreous-brownish densely irrorated with dark-brown. A waved subterminal line. Cilia brownish-ochreous on termen, pale-ochreous on dorsum. Hind wings dull brownish; cilia brown, greyish towards tornus.
Perhaps the most handsome New Zealand species of the genus yet described. It is not likely to be confused with any other form.
West Plains. Taken at “sugar” in May. Mr. George Howes, of Invercargill, secured a male at about the same time, but, as it was not in very good condition and differs very little from the female, I have described from the latter sex.
Melanchra exquisita, n. sp. Plate XXXII., fig. 2.
♂, 32 mm. Head and palpi greenish; tips of palpi and outward surfaces blackish; two linear black marks on crown of head. Antennæ brownish, shortly bipectinated. Legs
greenish, annulated with black. Thorax with moderate bifid anterior and posterior crest; green, with black irregular V-shaped mark, the apex towards head. Abdomen dull-yellowish, anal segments black; also blackish on sides of segments, and dorsal series of black spots. Fore wings: Costa almost straight, apex rounded; termen not crenulate, obliquely rounded, bright-green, black suffusion from base-obliquely towards dorsum, terminating in oblique black white-margined upwardly bent projection at ¼; distinct white irregularly black-margined line from costa near base to black suffusion, irregular interrupted white - margined black line from about ¼ of costa to before ½ of dorsum, several irregular projections at middle of wing, and upper half of line forked; irregular black outwardly white-margined band at ½, out-wardly oblique to middle of wing, thence inwardly oblique to dorsum, on which broadly and irregularly clavate; costa with alternate black and white dots; reniform spot obscurely outlined in black, edged with white; dentate black line beyond reniform, indentations filled with white; strong subterminal black line interrupted above and below middle, broadly and suffusedly white-margined. Cilia green, barred with black, and with an indistinct darker line. Hind wings pale greenish-yellow, with brownish suffusion on apical portion; an irregular line at ⅔, and discal spot of same colour. Cilia pale-green.
Very handsome and distinct.
West Plains, at “sugar,” in December.
Tatosoma topea, n. sp. Plate XXXII., figs. 3 and 4, ♂ and ♀.
♂, ♀, 28 mm. Head and thorax dull-greenish, with many black scales. Antennæ greenish - brown. Legs yellowish-grey, anterior pair annulated with dark-brown. Abdomen grey, with segmental divisions marked with dark rings. Fore wings dull-green, thickly sprinkled with black and white scales. A reddish suffusion occurs in most examples; in some barely a trace is discernible, while in others the greater part of the wing is so coloured. Veins outlined in black, in most Specimens interrupted with linear white spots; a broad white fascia from costa at ⅗, obliquely towards dorsum for short distance, then abruptly bent towards termen; an indistinct double waved dark subterminal line. Cilia brownish. Hind wings cinereous. Cilia paler.
The female differs in having a distinct, almost straight, double dark line from costa at ⅔ to dorsum at ¾ . The white costal fascia is not so distinct.
Easily distinguished from the other species of Tatosoma by its smaller size and the white costal fascia.
West Plains. Fairly common during November and December at flowers of the white rata (M. scandens).
Xanthorrhoe occulta, n. sp. Plate XXXII., fig. 5.
♂, 28 mm. Head and thorax dull yellowish - brown. Legs and abdomen paler. Antennæ shortly bipectinated. Fore wings dull yellowish - brown, sometimes with reddish tinge, more pronounced near base; a white dot posteriorly black-margined on vein 1 at ⅓; a similar dot near origin of vein 2; a chain of similar dots, black-margined anteriorly, from ¾ costa to ¾ dorsum. Cilia reddish-brown. Hind wings very pale whitish-yellow. Cilia same colour.
My three specimens are all males. I have a moth which is probably the female of this species; it differs in having the fore wings-bright ochreous-brown. The cilia of the hind wings are also ochreous-brown.
This species differs from X. œgrota, which it resembles most, in the shorter pectinations of the antennæ and the presence of the subterminal chain of white spots.
West Plains, October and November, at light.
Xanthorrhoe oraria, n. sp. Plate XXXII., fig. 6.
♂, 20-25 mm. Whole insect pale dull-yellow. In some examples indications of a dark line across fore wings at ⅓, and a more pronounced irregular thin line at ⅔, beyond which the colour is paler, but very few specimens have even these markings. All specimens have, however, a dark spot near costa, before ½.
An obscure and dull-looking species differing from other species of the genus in the almost total absence of markings. I found the male plentiful during November at New River amongst the tussock-grass on the sandhills, but have not yet met with the female.
Selidosema fascialata, n. sp. Plate XXXII., fig. 7.
♂, ♀, 35–38 mm. Head and thorax dull-brownish. Abdomen pale-yellow. Fore wings rich dark-brown irrorated with darker; a yellowish-white convex band at ¼, anteriorly somewhat suffused; space from ¼ to ⅔ occupied by a broad blackish - brown band, posteriorly deeply indented above middle, and broadly margined with an irregular yellowish-white suffusion; a subterminal serrate white line, interrupted in middle, broadly and irregularly margined with blackish-brown; a subapical triangular patch margined below with blackish-brown; a row of minute black spots on termen. Hind wings yellow, with a few scattered dark scales, and sometimes a row of black dots on termen.
The female is rather paler in colour, but otherwise does not differ.
From productata, its nearest ally, this species differs in its more pronounced markings and the deep indentation in the posterior margin of the median band. While hardly two specimens of productata are alike, examples of this species, except in depth of colouring, exhibit no variation.
West Plains, Haldane, Clifton, and probably throughout Southland. During February and March, at flowers of ragwort (S. crucifolius).