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Volume 59, 1928
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Notes and Descriptions of New Zealand Lepidoptera.

[Read before the Nelson Philosophical Society, 12th September, 1928; received by Editor, 25th September, 1928; issued separately. 16th November, 1928.]

Erebia merula Hew., Ent. Mo. Mag., 12, 10 (1875); Oreina othello Fered., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 8, 302 (1876).

Our largest Erebia is commonly known as E. pluto Fereday, but a study of the literature shows that its proper name is E. merula Hewitson. In a paper entitled “Observations on a Paper read by Mr. A. Bathgate before the Otago Institute, 11th January, 1870, ‘On the Lepidoptera of Otago’” (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 4, 214 (1872), Fereday writes as follows, “I may also mention a black butterfly found on the bare summits of the snowy mountains.… I believe it to be a species of Erebia and have named it E. pluto.” These remarks do not constitute anything more than casual mention and the single word “black,” especially in the absence of a figure, cannot be termed a description. Four years later (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 8, 302), Fereday published a very full description of the butterfly, accompanied by a figure, which bore the legend “Oreina othello n. sp.,” the alteration in the name originally proposed being accounted for by “pluto” being preoccupied. In the meantime, however, Hewitson, the British lepidopterist, had received an example of the species from Herman Strecker of Pennsylvania and had described it as E. merula in the Ent. Mo. Mag. for June, 1875 (p. 10), thus antidating Fereday's othello by nearly a year. In December, 1876, Butler published an article on the butterflies of New Zealand in the Ent. Mo. Mag. (vol. 13, p. 152) and adopted the name “pluto,” giving as a reason for discarding Hewitson's* merula that “although Mr. Fereday only describes this species as black, not mentioning the ocelli, his name will have to stand, since there is no other black Erebia in New Zealand.” Butler, it should be noted, does not give the reference to “pluto” but a full reference to othello, a circumstance which seems to indicate that he regarded the actual describing of the species to date from 1876; and it is the date of such description which alone matters. I do not think there is any reading of the International Rules which could be interpreted as validating a specific name supported only by the words “I may also mention a black butterfly.”


Chrysophanus feredayi Bates, Ent. Mo. Mag., 4, 53 (1867); C. enysii Butler, Ent. Mo. Mag., 13, 153 (1876).

Owing apparently to some confusion on the part of A. G. Butler the name enysii has been commonly adopted for Bates's feredayi. At

[Footnote] * Butler gives the year 1874 as the date of Hewitson's paper; it should be 1875.

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the reference quoted above Bates described his species as differing, among other characters, from C. edna (a synonym of C. sallustius Fabr.) by the colour of the undersides of the hindwings, which he stated were “yellow, with a broad curved discal patch and a wide posterior border (confluent at the apex) violet-brown.” Nine years afterwards Butler (see above reference) described enysii, but his description seems to be only an amplification of Bates's diagnosis of feredayi, a species he treats as separate without further comment. Fereday, who had supplied Bates with the type material, published a paper in 1878 (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 10, 252) in which he figured upper and under sides of C. feredayi, the drawings, though uncoloured, quite satisfactorily showing the characteristic markings. In the same volume (p. 263) Butler had an article in which he redescribed and figured his enysii as well as Bates's feredayi. These figures show that he had confused the species. Figures 4, 5 and 6 (pl. 12) represent C. enysii; 4 is apparently a dark specimen of C. sallustius Fabr., 5 is the unmistakable underside of feredayi, while 6 is the upper-side of the same species. Figures 7, 8 and 9 are devoted to C. feredayi. But none of them at all agrees with Bates's description; it is impossible to reconcile the markings of either upper or under-sides with the characters as given by the describer of the species. A further point which strengthens the conclusion arrived at above is that Butler describes feredayi as having “the whole ground colour of the secondaries brown,” a statement directly at variance with Bates's description. As a matter of fact there is a race of sallustius in which the undersides of the hindwings are uniformly brown, the upper-surfaces of, the forewings being much darker than in the typical form. It seems not improbable that Butler founded his enysii on an example of this race (which may ultimately prove to be a good species) and a specimen of the true feredayi. It should be noted that Longstaff (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 44, 115) pointed out that Bates's name had priority and that the types, which are in the British Museum, were clearly conspecific.

I found C. feredayi very abundant in a lowlying piece of mixed forest on the shores of Lake Rotoroa. This was early in January, and the specimens were all in fresh condition.


Ectopatria aspera (Walk.), Cat., 11, 601 (1857); E. provida (Walk. Cat., 15, 1737 (1858); E. canescens (Walk.), Cat., .33, 757 (1865).

It is 70 years since Walker described his provida, the specimen being from Auckland. Seven years later he named another Auckland specimen of the same species, canescens. Both these names are, however, synonyms of his aspera, an Australian species described in 1857. As far as I am aware, no specimens of aspera have been captured since the Auckland examples were secured, but I have now to record the taking of 3 males and 3 females at Nelson during the past season. Three of these were secured by Mr. E. Gourlay and the others by myself, the dates of capture ranging from the last week in October to the third week in March.

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I am indebted to Mr. Meyrick for the determination of the species and for full information as to the synonymy. The species has been described and figured by Hampson (Cat. Lep. Phal. B.M., 4, 654, pl. 77, 27). A brief diagnosis is given below.

♂ ♀. 36–38 mm. Forewings and thorax whitish-grey; basal, 1st and 2nd lines obscure, waved, interruptedly margined with black; stigmata margined with black; claviform elongate, orbicular round or oval, reniform constricted at middle; two or three black dashes in centre of suterminal area. Hindwings in ♂ white with broad fuscous area round apex and termen; in ♀ wholly fuscous.

The ♂ has a dense truncate tuft of hair on the middle tibia, a character which Hampson seems to have overlooked.

Aletia mitis (Butl.), Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1877, p. 383, pl. 42, 5; Aletia gourlayi Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 53, 337.

After re-examination of the type of gourlayi (now in the Canterbury Museum) I believe the above correction to be necessary.

Aletia dentata Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 54, 148.

In his recent finely illustrated monograph, The Butterflies and Moths of New Zealand, Hudson treats this species as a synonym of A. cuneata Philp. I am unable at present to accept this emendation, dentata being a smaller and darker insect than cuneata and, indeed, superficially more nearly approaching panda Philp. Unfortunately, no male of dentata has been available for genitalia examination.

Melanchra pictula (White), Te Ika a Maui, pl. 1, 3 (1855);M. rhodopleura (Meyr.), Trans. N.Z. Inst., 19, 19 (1887); M. rhodopleura Huds., N.Z. M. and B., p. 19, pl. 4, 38; M. rhodopleura Sunley, Trans. N.Z. Inst., 43, 129; M. rhodopleura Meyr., Trans. N. Z. Inst., 44, 100; M. rhodopleura Huds., B. and M. N.Z., p. 63, pl. 7, 32.

M. meyricci (Hamps.), Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist., (8), 8, 421 (1911); M. pictula (Butl.) nec White, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1877, 386, pl. 42, 1; M. pictula (Meyr.) nec White, Trans. N.Z. Inst., 19, 18; M. pictula Huds. nec White, N.Z. M. and B., p. 19, pl. 4, 37; M. pictula Ham. nec White, Trans. N.Z. Inst., 43, 117 and 119; M. pictula Meyr. nec White, Trans. N.Z. Inst., 44, 100; M. pictula Huds. nec White, B. and M. N.Z., p. 63, pl. 7, 33.

The synonymy of these two species hinges on which form White's figure refers to. There cannot be the least doubt that the figure represents the species without the white reniform and with the wholly fuscous hindwings, that is, the rhodopleura of Meyrick. Longstaff (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 44, 110) indicated the correct nomenclature, but did not refer to the synonymy of the two species, and the majority of New Zealand collectors still use the erroneous names.

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M. furtiva Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 55, 663.

Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 66) treats furtiva as a variety of M. mutans Walk., remarking that “specimens of the female (of mutans) from high altitudes are often more silvery than those from the lowlands and this form has been recently described .… under the name of Melanchra furtiva.” It is, however, the male of furtiva which differs most from mutans; the female is often only separable with difficulty. Apart from the ground-colour of the forewings in the males—in mutans dull brown tinged with reddish or ochreous, in furtiva clear pinkish-brown—there are good structural differences in the antennae, furtiva having the ciliations appreciably longer than mutans. The harpes (valvae) of the two species are figured in Trans. N.Z. Inst., 55, 665, and it will be seen that here also the structural differences are sufficiently marked.


Hydriomena praerupta Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 50, 125.

Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 100) considers this to be a variety of H. callichlora Butl. The species are certainly much alike superficially and it is not easy to pick out definite distinguishing characters, but when series of each are compared the difference of facies is apparent. The male genitalia, for the most part, exhibit only slight differences, but the shape of the tegumen, as viewed from above, is sufficiently striking; the absence of a chitinized gnathos in callichlora and the strong basal chitinization of the organ in praerupta is also conclusive for specific separation (see Figs. 1 and 2).

Xanthorhoe eupitheciaria Guen., Ent. Mo. Mag., 5, 95.

Referred by Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 113), with some doubt, to X. cinerearia Dbld. Examination of the male genitalia shows that the species is more widely separated from cinerearia than from X. semisignata Walk. and X. plumbea Philp. (see Figs. 3, 4, 5 and 6).

X. obscura Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 53, 338.

Originally I described this form as a subspecies of X. helias Meyr., but I am now prepared to admit it to full specific rank.

Notoreas zopyra Meyr., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 16, 89.

Hudson (M. and B. N.Z., p. 126) has united this with N. brephos Walk., at the same time very accurately pointing out the distinctions between the two forms. The male genitalia, however, show many pronounced differences. The uncus is apically blunt in brephos, sharp in zopyra; the lobes of the juxta (cristae) are quite different in the two species, while the harpes (see Figs. 7 and 8) exhibit several distinguishing features.

Dasyuris austrina Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 58, 359.

An excellent figure of this species (as a var. of D. hectori Butl.) is given by Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., pl. 15, 20).

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Selidosema fluminea Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 56, 389; S. productata Walk. var., Huds., B. and M. N.Z., p. 139, pl. 48, 26.

Both productata and fluminea are subject to considerable variation, but I have not met with any examples which could not be referred to one or the other species without hesitation. The antennal pectinations of fluminea are slightly shorter than those of productata and the male genitalia offer good distinguishing features (see Figs. 9, 10, 11 and 12).


Homoeosoma farinaria Turner, Proc. Roy. Soc. Q. (1903) 128.

I am indebted to Dr. A. Jefferis Turner for the determination of this species, which has long been confused (in New Zealand) with H. vagella Z. Dr. Turner informs me that though originally described from Tasmania it occurs also in Queensland and New South Wales. In New Zealand the species is not uncommon, though apparently somewhat local. It has been taken in both Islands and records extend from Invercargill in the South to Cambridge in the North. It is seldom found by day, but is a frequent visitor to lighted windows, under which circumstances it occurs from early November to the beginning of May. Recently the moth has been bred out freely in the Cawthron Insect Laboratory from larvae found feeding on the ragwort (Senecio Jacobaea) at Cambridge, N.I. The true vagella Z., which is a smaller and more obscure insect, is comparatively rare, though it has been known to occur in New Zealand for about 30 years.


Platyptilia indubitata new name.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

I propose the above name for P. ferruginea Philp. (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 54, 150) preoccupied by ferruginea Walshingham Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1897, p. 35). Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 207) considers indubitata to be a synonym of falcatalis Walk., but apart from coloration, the species are easily distinguished by structural characters. In falcatalis there is always a prominent tooth of black scales in the fringes of the forewings at 2/3 and a similar patch in the hindwings just beyond the middle; these scale-patches are not present in indubitata.

Platyptilia pulverulenta Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 54, 149.

This species is also treated by Hudson (at previous reference) as a synonym of falcatalis; it differs, however from that species in the same way as does indubitata. It is possible, however, that pulverulenta and indubitata are the same species, in which case pulverulenta has page priority.

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Picture icon

Fig. 1.—Hydriomena praerupta Philp. Dorsal view of upper part of tegumen.
Fig. 2.—H. callichlora Butl. Dorsal view of upper part of tegumen.
Fig. 3.—Xanthorhoe eupitheciaria Guen. Harpe, from within.
Fig. 4.—X. cinerearia Dbld. Harpe, from within.
Fig. 5.—X. plumbea Philp. Harpe, from within.
Fig. 6.—X. semisignata Walk. Harpe, from within.
Fig. 7.—Notoreas zopyra Meyr. Harpe, from within.
Fig. 8.—N. brephos Walk. Harpe, from within.
Fig. 9.—Selidosema fluminea Philp. Juxta.
Fig. 10.—Selidosema fluminea Philp. Aedeagus.
Fig. 11.—S. productata Walk. Juxta.
Fig. 12.—S. productata Walk. Aedeagus.
Fig. 13.—Borkhausenia sinuosa Philp. Male genitalia, lateral view.
Fig. 14.—Borrkhausenia sinuosa Philp. Harpe, from within.

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Epichorista fraudulenta (Philp.), Trans. N.Z. Inst., 58, 363. Originally described as an Eurythecta.

E. abdita Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 55, 664.

Considered by Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 238) to be a synonym of E, emphanes Meyr. Reference to the figures of the male genitalia (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 55, 665) will show markedly different structural peculiarities.

Tortrix incendiaria (Meyr.), Trans. N.Z. Inst., 54, 164.

As intimated in “The Male Genitalia of the New Zealand Tortricidae” (published elsewhere in this volume) I propose the removal of this species from Ecclitica to Tortrix.

Gelophaula vana n. sp.

♂. 26–29 mm. Superficially extremely like G. siraea Meyr., but a larger and less bright insect. The yellow median stripe of the forewings is not so bright as in siraea and tends to be more suffused, not infrequently occupying nearly all the lower half of the wing. The fringes of the hindwings are usually yellowish tinged, not white as in siraea.

♀. 29–32 mm. Forewings pale yellow sprinkled with fuscous, the venation clearly marked in a paler tint. Hindwings white, dusted with grey except apically.

Hunter Mountains. Abundant at about 4,000 feet in December and January. For figures of the male genitalia see an article in this volume dealing with the New Zealand Tortricidae. Holotype (♂), allotype (♀) and a series of paratypes in coll. Cawthron Institute.

Ecclitica torogramma (Meyr.), Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1897, 388.

Reference to an article on the male genitalia of the Tortricidae, to be found elsewhere in this volume, will show that I have thought it necessary to transfer this species from Tortrix to its present position.

Cnephasia fastigata Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 48, 442.

Originally described as a Tortrix; J now place it in this genus.


Raumatia n. g.

Antennae in male minutely ciliated. Palpi moderate, second segment thickened with scales above and beneath, terminal segment short. Thorax without crest. Forewings, in male with costal fold; smooth; termen very oblique; 3, 4, 5 equidistant at origin, 11 from before middle of cell, 10 much nearer 9 than 11 (in trimaculata only slightly). Hindwings with 7 veins, 5 absent, 6 and 7 approximated towards base, cubital pecten very slight. Male genitalia with harpes

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large, neck incurvation strong, spines absent or very small; uncus feeble, simple or bifid; socii plate-like; gnathos absent; aedeagus rather small, nearly straight, apex scoop-shaped.

Genotype.—Eurythecta potamias Meyrick.

The genus is erected for the reception of the following three species.

R. potamias (Meyr.), Trans. N.Z. Inst., 41, 11.

R. varia (Philp.), Trans. N.Z. Inst., 48, 421.

R. trimaculata (Philp.), Trans. N.Z. Inst., 47, 198.

The last-named species does not well agree with the others generically and it may yet have to be separated therefrom.


Borkhausenia xanthodesma Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 54, 151.

A species treated by Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 261) as a synonym of B. compsogramma Meyr. There can, however, be no doubt as to the distinctness of the two, the male genitalia being widely different (see Figs., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 56, xanthodesma p. 409, compsogramma p. 410).

B. melanamma Meyr., Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1905, 240.

Under this species Hudson includes, with a query, B. sabulosa Philp. and B. terrena Philp. There is little doubt as to the validity of terrena (compare genitalia figures of terrena, (Trans. N.Z. Inst., 56, 392) with those of melanamma (ib. 56, 412). In the case of sabulosa no examination of the genitalia has been made, but the species is superficially unlike melanamma.

B. sinuosa n. sp.

♂. 17–19 mm. Head and thorax clear yellow. Palpi yellow, second segment mixed with fuscous without. Antennae greyish-fuscous, ciliations in ♂ ½. Abdomen greyish-white, and tuft ochreous. Legs ochreous-white, anterior pair strongly infuscated. Forewings clongate, costa well arched, apex rounded, termen obliquely rounded; clear yellow; costa at base narrowly edged with brown; fringes concolorous with wing. Hindwings and fringes whitish-grey.

Superficially hardly separable from B. enodis Philp., though the costa is rather more arched and the apex more rounded. The male genitalia, fortunately, offer good differentiating characters, the shape of the uncus being, as far as I am aware, unique among New Zealand members of the genus (see Figs. 13 and 14 of this article for sinuosa and Trans. N.Z. Inst., 58, 85, Fig. 3, for enodis.

Wellington, in December. Two males taken in the Botanical Gardens. Holotype (♂), paratype and a slide of male genitalia in coll. Cawthron Institute.

Locheutis pulla n. sp.

♂. 13–14 mm. Head fuscous, neck ochreous. Palpi fuscous, second segment mixed with ochreous. Antennae fuscous, ciliations

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in ♂ 2. Thorax bronzy-fuscous. Abdomen leaden-fuscous, bronzy-fuscous dorsally. Legs leaden-fuscous mixed with ochreous, tarsi obscurely annulated with ochreous. Forewings moderate, costa moderately arched, apex obtuse, termen oblique; brownish-fuscous; costal edge ochreous; stigmata obscure or absent, plical at about ½: fringes concolorous with wing. Hindwing fuscous, fringes paler.

A darker species than vagata Meyr. and at once distinguished by the shorter antennal pectinations.

One male taken at Lake Rotoroa about the middle of January and two others secured on Mount Cedric at an elevation of 4,000 ft. Holotype (♂), paratypes and a slide of male genitalia in coll. Cawthron Institute.


Protosynaema matutina n. sp.

♂. 10 mm. Head and thorax purplish-brown. Palpi ochreous white. Antennae purplish-brown with some white scales, in ♂ strongly thickened with scales, to near apex. Abdomen greyish-fuscous. Legs purplish-fuscous, tarsi annulated with white. Forewings with costa moderately arched, apex rectangular, termen slightly rounded, oblique; purplish-fuscous mixed with bright brown and purplish-white; a broad metallic green striga from costa near base, outwardly oblique and reaching to fold, anteriorly and posteriorly broadly margined with dark purplish-fuscous; a similar striga at ½, reaching across wing, outwards curved, anteriorly broadly margined with bright brown mixed with black on median portion, posteriorly more narrowly margined with bright brown; an irregular striga of same colour from tornus to middle of wing, margined with brown; a metallic green line round termen, anteriorly margined with blackish: fringes bright brown. Hindwings greyish-fuscous, darker apically; fringes greyish-fuscous.

Differs structurally from P. steropucha Meyr. in the unindented termen of the forewing and from P. quaestuosa Meyr. in the much more extensive thickening of the antennae.

Mount Arthur Tableland, early in November. A single male taken at about 4,500 ft. Holotype in coll. Cawthron Institute.


Archyala opulenta Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 56, 398.

Considered by Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 341) to be identical with A. terranea Butl. The resemblance between the two is fairly close, but the male genitalia disprove specific identity (see Figs. Trans. N.Z. Inst., 58, 94).

Mallobathra angusta n. sp.

♂. 20 mm. Head and palpi tawny. Antennae brown mixed with ochreous, ciliations in ♂ 2. Thorax and abdomen purplish-brown. Legs purplish-brown mixed with ochreous, tibiae and tarsi annulated with ochreous. Forewings elongate, narrow, costa moder-

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ately arched, apex rounded, termen strongly oblique; ochreous; strigulated throughout with dark purplish-fuscous; a blotch of purplish-fuscous on costa at middle and a similar one on dorsum beneath; fringes fuscous-grey. Hindwings dark fuscous; fringes fuscous-grey, paler apically.

The largest of the genus yet described. The long but narrow wings sufficiently separate it from any other species.

A single male taken in November at about 3,000 ft. on the Mount Arthur Tableland track. Holotype in coll. Cawthron Institute.

M. strigulata Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 55, 214.

This species is considered by Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., 352) to be synonymous with M. crataea Meyr. The members of the genus are often superficially much alike, but in the case under consideration there exist good genitalia characters for differentiation (see Figs., Trans. N.Z. Inst., crataea, p. 98, strigulata, p. 100). M. fenwicki Philp. (ib. 55, 214) is also treated by Hudson (same reference) as equal to crataea, but in this instance material for dissection has not been available. I should, however, consider this form to be more nearly related to M. homalopa Meyr. than to crataea.


Mnesarchaea similis Philp., Trans. N.Z. Inst., 55, 667.

This species is treated by Hudson (B. and M. N.Z., p. 367) as a synonym of M. hamadelpha Meyr., but as noted in the original description of similis, there are good differentiating characters in the male genitalia. The colour and markings of the two forms, though similar, are by no means identical. The basal fuscous stripe on the costa of the forewing is apically pointed in hamadelpha, but blunt or suffused in similis; also, the thorax is ochreous in similis, white in hamadelpha. For figures of the genitalia see Trans. N.Z. Inst., 55, 666 and ib. 57, 714, pl. 57, 22 and 23. It is possible, however, that similis Philp. may really be hamadelpha Meyr. which would leave the insect usually regarded as that species without a name. Steps will be taken to ascertain the position.