Notes and Descriptions of New Zealand Lepidoptera.
[Read before the Auckland Institute on 16th November, 1932; received by Editor, 10th December, 1932; issued separately, May, 1934.]
Hypolimnas bolina nerina Fabr.
This handsome butterfly, usually considered rare in New Zealand, has been captured in various places and reported from others during the past two years.
Several specimens have been presented to Auckland Museum, their habitats having been Dargaville, Waiotira, Herne Bay, and Lake St. John.
Ichneutica cana Howes.
This rare moth, known formerly from only one specimen taken many years ago by Mr G. Howes in the Garvie Mountains, has now again been captured in the Lake District. The second specimen was discovered at 3000ft on Ben Lomond, near Lake Wakatipu, in December. Superficially the species appears close to Aletia empyrea Huds., but is a smaller insect.
Chloroclystis tornospila Meyr.
In my paper “Lepidoptera of Auckland and the King Country,” Trans. N.Z. Inst., LII., 37, I mentioned capturing a fine unknown Chloroclystis at Waimarino. This I have now identified as the above apparently rare species, since described by Mr E. Meyrick.
Dasyuris octans Huds.
This species was first captured in 1923 by Mr S. Lindsay and myself at about 3500ft. on Flat Top Mountain, south of Lake Manapouri. I again visited the locality in 1928 and took a further series of it. Apparently local, it was captured flying over an outcrop of lichen-covered rocks on a sunny slope surrounded by native grasses and herbs.
Xanthorhoe citroena n. sp. ♂ 32–36 mm. ♀ 28–30 mm.
Forewings moderate, with rounded hind margin; suffused with deep orange; two or three whitish arched fasciae near base, one or two median fasciae, more or less interrupted in middle in some specimens, attenuated in others, partly bordered with brownish which has tendencies to form several indistinct transverse wavy lines; beyond middle a whitish fascia, waved and angulated at about middle; a wavy subterminal line.
Cilia light orange slightly barred with brownish. Hindwings deep orange with lighter suffusion alternating with brownish.
This species is immediately recognisable by its deep orange colour though evidently allied to X. clarata Walk.
I captured several at the edge of the Franz Josef Glacier, Westland, in December, 1928, and I am indebted to the late Mr Alfred Philpott for isolating this species, which he had intended to describe. It is evidently local, no links with clarata having been discovered.
Holotype, allotype, and a paratype in collection Auckland Museum.
Hydriomena harmonica Clarke. Trans. N.Z. Inst., LVI., 417.
I described this beautiful and interesting insect, of which an excellent illustration is given in Hudson's “Moths and Butterflies,” p. XLVIII., 19, as a subspecies of H. callichlora Butl., but since it was discovered at Waitati in 1917 no affinity has been found connecting it with that species. I now consider it of specific rank, not a development of callichlora, but, on the contrary, a reversal to an ancestral form of that species.
The vivid blue and orange fasciae suggest an ancient tropical line of ancestry.
It is interesting to note that the specimen is an excellent example of cyanism. The dorsal surface of the species callichlora has evidently acquired, in the procession of its generations from a fairly archaic type, a most valuable evolutionary development in the arising of the characteristic protective “mossy-surfaced” green-pigmented expanse over body and wings; fusing and merging of fasciae of the two pigments that blend to produce this secondary green is well exemplified in the almost homogeneous effect produced.
Harmonica is a species most conspicuous to its enemies the birds, but callichlora exhibits protective resemblance in an extremely specialised manner.
Holotype in collection Auckland Museum.
Diptychophora planetopa Meyr.
This species, one of the rarest of the genus, I found occurring rather sparingly on the mountains at Arthur's Pass, above the Otira River, at about 3500ft. in January. I have never captured it elsewhere.
The type, however, was primarily taken in the Routeburn River Valley, Otago, by Mr G. V. Hudson.
Crambus malacellus Dap.
On my first two collecting tours to Whangarei and the North Auckland Peninsula (1921 and 1924), I did not meet with this introduced species.
It is now, however, rapidly becoming plentiful in the Auckland Province. I first captured it in company with Mr Arthur Richardson, at night, Whangarei township, in 1927. By the year 1931 it had become plentiful. This year, 1932, it is very abundant at Lake Takapuna, near Auckland.
Gauna aegalis Walk.
Aglossa cuprealis Hubn.
Almost similar remarks apply to these two species as to the foregoing.
The first specimens I had seen were captured about 1926 by Mr Arthur Richardson, at Papakura. By this year, 1932, both species had become remarkably plentiful at Lake Takapuna and Castor Bay, and at other localities near Auckland city. These insects are notable examples of the rapidity with which certain of the introduced fauna can become established in New Zealand.
Gelophaula aridella n. sp. 15 mm.
Antennae dark-fuscous. Palpi fuscous. Head, thorax, and abdomen dark fuscous. Forewings sub-oblong, costa moderately arched, termen rather oblique, rounded at tormus; dark fuscous, obscurely darker along costa and greyish externally; cilia greyish fuscous. Hindwings fuscous; cilia grey-fuscous. Two specimens on Flat Top Mountain, Lake Manapouri, in January. This species is probably nearest palliata Philp, but distinct in several particulars, especially in size and in the almost unicolorous appearance of the hindwings. It is the smallest Gelophaula known to me.
Holotype in collection Auckland Museum.
Tortrix tigris Philp.
Ctenopseustis fraterna Philp.
These two usually rare species were not uncommon in Wayby Gorge in January. The latter insect was at first thought to be a variety of C. obliquana Walk., but after capturing a series, it was obvious, on subsequent examination, that the species is constant and distinct.
Sitotroga cerealella Ol.
Another introduced species, of which I have only taken a single example in North Auckland; formerly reported from Levin by Mr G. V. Hudson. This insect in all probability will also become well established throughout New Zealand.
Tinea granella Linn.
This apparently unrecorded species I captured in Dunedin city. It is also an injurious introduction; an established pest in the granaries of Europe, America, and North Africa.
Gelechia calaspidea n. sp. 14 mm.
Head pale brownish-ochreous. Palpi whitish; antennae fuscous. Thorax fuscous; abdomen greyish towards extremity; legs fuscous mixed with whitish. Forewings with costa very slightly arched, apex slightly pointed, termen oblique; brownish fuscous, a darker distal dot, and dark suffusion on extremity of apex; cilia light fuscous. Hindwings and cilia light fuscous.
At 4000ft., Flat Top Mountain, Lake Manapouri, in January.
Holotype in Auckland Museum.
Perhaps nearest G. contraria Philp, but immediately seen to differ by the lack of the light bar along dorsum and other details, and to be distinguished from schematica by the absence of the grey streak along costa and the dark irroration, etc.
Izatha phaeoptila Meyr.
In my paper “Lepidoptera of Auckland,” Trans. LII., 36, I included Coridomorpha stella Meyr. in error for this species, which I have captured at Hikurangi, Kauri Gully, Northcote, and Lake Takapuna. It is an uncommon insect.
Mallobathra memotuina n. sp. ♂ 12 mm. ♀ 14 mm.
Head and palpi purplish and fuscous brown. Antennae dark fuscous with admixture of ochreous; ciliations in ♂ 2.
Thorax and abdomen dark purplish brown; legs purplish brown mixed with ochreous and annulated on tibia and tarsi.
Forewings elongate; costa moderately arched, apex rather acutely rounded, termen strongly oblique; purplish fuscous with 5 to 6 ochreous white fasciae from costa. Basal one is at about ⅙ outwardly oblique, second at ⅓ inwardly oblique, the third at ½ broken in centre of wing after waving outwardly, then inwardly to dorsum, the fourth at ⅔ more straight to dorsum, but sometimes broken and spotted with purplish, fifth and sixth close together before apical patch, outwardly oblique; cilia dark fuscous.
Hindwings dark fuscous; cilia fuscous, apically pale.
Not close to any other species. Holotype and allotype in Auckland Museum. Anderson's Bay, Dunedin, on the face of the Vauxhall cliff, in November and early December, 1928 and 1929; both captured shortly after daybreak.
Mallobathra cataclysma n.sp. ♂ 9 mm.
Head and palpi grey ochreous. Thorax grey fuscous, abdomen fuscous. Antennae grey fuscous, ciliations 2. Forewings elongate, costa arched, apex acutely rounded, termen oblique; very pale ochreous with fuscous markings and irroration, the most distinct at about ½ on costa, others at ⅔ broken and irrorated, distinct on dorsum; others across from near edge of termen. Cilia pale. Hindwings grey; cilia pale grey.
A much larger and more robust species than M. metrosema Meyr. and more pale in shade. Differs from M. globulosa Meyr. in its smaller size, more pale shade, shape of markings, and length of antennal ciliations. This is the most lightly-shaded Mallobathra known to me.
One only, discovered actively walking on the bark of Nothofagus: Harris Saddle, upper Routeburn River, in January.
Holotype in Auckland Museum collection.
Sabatinca abyssina n. sp. ♂ 12 mm.
Head and thorax aeneous. Antennae dark fuscous, base aeneous. Abdomen dark fuscous. Forewing ovate, rather blunted at apex; very pale aeneous with fasciae of dark purple; an irroration of purple dots on base to ⅓ of costa, where a wide outwardly oblique fascia of dark irrorated purple crosses to dorsum, another sub-parallel at beyond ½, and another also sub-parallel, more or less bifurcated, towards apex, some loose irroration between fascias, of purple dots. Cilia ochreous-aeneous. Hindwings dark purplish grey. Cilia pale ochreous-aeneous.
This is the largest species of Sabatinca known to me. It was taken on the rough, iceworn rocks at the north-eastern side of Franz Josef Glacier, Westland, in January.
Holotype in collection Auckland Museum.
Sabatinca lucilia Clarke.
Since my discovery of this strangely beautiful moth, the most archaic of the Micropterygidae, and, indeed, of all our Lepidoptera, as demonstrated by its venational reticulation (see Philpott's drawings, Trans. N.Z. Inst., LIV, 161), no other collector seems to have met with the species.
I, however, have again captured it, in the Wayby Gorge, North Auckland Peninsula. In December, 1931, I discovered a colony of about 30 specimens in the shelter of an arching cliff, among moss
and fern-clad rocks. All were captured within a radius of about five feet, diligent search disclosing no more individuals in the neighbourhood.
Later, however, I found an isolated one also at the Waipu Caves, in late December. The type I netted, in 1915, at the Waitomo Caves. The occurrence of this primitive Lepidopter is noteworthy, as it is most interesting from an evolutionary standpoint, being a close link with the Trichopterygidae, and with that order exhibits affinities with the extinct Aristopsyche and Archipanorpa of the Paratrichoptera, as demonstrated by Dr Tillyard.