New Species of New Zealand Lepidoptera
Four new species and a new subspecies of Lepidoptera are described, two species belonging to the genus Melanchra, one to the genus Bactra, one to the genus Archyala, and the subspecies to Azelina.
Genus Melanchra Hubn.
Melanchra meridiana n.sp. Plate 1, Figs. 1-3.
Expanse of the forewings, 35 mm.
General colouration: a dull rusty-brown on the forewing, medium to dark brown on the hindwings. Head, thorax and patagia rusty-brown intermingled with deep ochreous scales, especially on the top of the head; antennae filiform, dark brown with very fine short ochreous cilia; palps deep ochreous; abdomen medium to dark brown fringed with ochreous or rusty-brown coloured cilia. Thorax, abdomen ventrally, and legs pale rosy-brown, the tarsi ochreous. Forewing sometimes more or less mottled with ochreous towards the base, along the basal half of the costa, and in the region below the reniform; in perfect specimens some greenish-yellow shading along the dorsum, around the edges of the orbicular and the reniform and along the outer edge of the subterminal line; the verns picked out with black scales dotted with white, the costa with 5-7 dull black bars; basal streak absent; claviform, if present, an indistinct shading of black and ochreous scales; orbicular clear, of light ochreous scales usually outlined with a narrow band of black enclosed by a further narrow but broken band of ochreous; reniform large, dark brown or black usually speckled with white and outlined by a narrow ochreous band; apical patch obscure, dull purplish brown speckled with white scales; basal line, first line and second line generally absent though sometimes indicated by irregular dark brown shadings; subterminal line clear, following the outline of the termen as a narrow white or ochreous band often edged with dark brown inwardly and greenish yellow outwardly. Cilia of the forewings either deep ochreous or reddish-brown tipped with ochreous, banded with dark brown; cilia of the hindwings paler ochreous prominently banded with dark brown. Underneath, the forewings are ochreous with a broad median longitudinal shading of dark brown, the hindwings ochreous speckled with dark brown, with a broad line of dark brown extending, in the position of the second line, across both wings.
Type and seven Paratypes in the Dominion Museum Collections.
Locality. Portobello and Dunedin, where it was collected during September, 1940-45 by the late George Howes.
This moth was shown to me by George Howes, who considered it to be new, in 1945, shortly before he died. I can now confirm his view and place the species close to M. morosa. It differs from morosa by having the subterminal line almost straight without any indentations towards the termen, as occurs in morosa, and through the veins being outlined in black, a feature which is not present in M. morosa.
Melanchra boldensis n.sp. Plate 1, Figs. 4-5.
Expanse of the forewings, 41 mm.
General colouration: Reddish ochreous on the forewings very conspicuously banded with black and dark brown lines and spots; dark rosy brown on the hindwings; the body dark purplish brown underneath, paler rosy brown above, with patches of bright orange scales on the sides and top of the head and the top of the thorax; some ochreous shading on the
sides and top of the abdomen, particularly around the basal region; the crest and patagia of the thorax very dark rosy-brown with the shoulders picked out with light reddish ochreous and silver scales; legs dark purplish brown; antennae filiform, dark brown. Forewings with 3-4 broad wavy black lines forming a median shade; the second line black, double outlined, scalloped between the veins and swept back towards the wing base, below the reniform. To turn again towards the tornus just before it reaches the dorsum; subterminal line parallel to the termen, ochreous enclosed inwardly by broad black shading and outwardly by a narrow black line; the space between the subterminal line and the cilia especially towards the tornus shaded with dark purple-brown spotted with patches of ochreous or orange coloured scales; a conspicuous oval-shaped black patch on the dorsum near the base; basal streak, basal and first lines absent, though the inner line edging the median shade may represent the first line; orbicular rather indistinct, pale in colour, edged with a narrow band of black but obscured by the lines of the median shade; reniform conspicuously shaded with pale ochreous or white scales and outlined with a narrow band of black; apical patch obscure, undifferentiated; veins outlined with black; cilia of the forewings dark reddish-brown barred with darker brown; cilia of the hindwings pale rosy-ochreous banded basally with dark brown.
Type and Paratype in the Dominion Museum Collections.
Locality. Collected by the author on Bold Peak, Lake Wakatipu, in mid-February. Captured at sugar at the upper limit of the bush line late at night.
This species is near to M. ochthistis but its markings are much more distinct and heavier. The subterminal line is more heavily indented than in ochthistis and returned towards the tornus instead of passing straight to the dorsum as in M. ochthistis. Further, the orbicular in ochthistis, even in the darkest specimens, is not covered by lines of the median shade, as occurs in this species.
Genus Azelina Guen.
Azelina gallaria Walker, subsp. venustula nov. Plate 2, Fig. 1.
Expanse of the forewing, 31 mm. Forewings with pale cream base colour suffused with greenish brown and orange-brown scales giving an overall general colour of iridescent pale creamy grey; costa near base bright yellow banded with crimson, remainder of costa white turning to pink towards apex and with five broad bars of mixed black and crimson scales; basal streak suggested by a shading of pink and dark grey scales; basal line absent or possibly included in the grey shading; first line of mixed orange-brown and greenish brown scales, sharply indented towards the apex, after which it zigzags across the wing with two broad but smaller indentations towards the termen; median shade arising from broadest bar on the costa, but soon petering out to a thin wavy line of chestnut coloured scales; orbicular faintly suggested by a group of pale pink scales; reniform very faintly suggested by a shading of very pale grey and pink scales; second line almost straight passing diagonally from costa to dorsum, narrow, of bright chestnut coloured scales, darker where the veins are crossed, and bordered along the outer edge with a narrow line of white scales; apical patch dark greenish grey with basal area very dark reddish brown and sprinkled with dark brown and black scales; there is a small black dot just external to the median shade and level with the reniform; alongside the second line just above the tornus there are two very conspicuous rounded black patches; subterminal line absent; all veins, especially towards the termen, picked out with white scales; cilia, from apex to dorsum, of elongated club-shaped scales but along dorsum these are more attenuated passing into true cilia: along apical patch cilia are reddish-brown basally, yellow distally: just below apical patch cilia are yellow, after which they change to greyish fawn basally, pale cream or white distally. Hindwings deeper cream than forewings, suffused with crimson, black and whitish scales giving an overall colour of yellowish to greenish grey: the crimson suffusion is concentrated around the apex and termen giving a beautiful crimson glow to this area of the wing: whitish scales concentrated more in the basal posterior region, which is also speckled with groups of black and crimson scales; the hindwing is bisected by a dark line passing from a point about two-thirds along the costa to the tornus: near the costa this line is deep crimson, changing to chestnut about halfway along its length and again to crimson just before the tornus is reached; just above the centre of the wing a broad shaded line of crimson sprinkled
with chestnut brown scales runs from the costa to the dorsum; basal area with occasional spots of black or crimson scales; cilia of club-shaped scales as in forewing, near apex ochreous shaded basally with crimson, but towards tornus becoming paler, almost white shaded with pink, along the dorsum consisting entirely of long ochrcous hairs.
All wings on lower surface ochreous heavily speckled and blotched towards aprces with deep crimson-brown.
Head ochreous in front, becoming greenish brown on top; labial palpus medium brown with scattered ochreous scales and patches of deep crimson; patches of deep crimson also occur around the borders of the eyes, especially posteriorly; antennal bases covered by a shield of oatmeal to whitish coloured scales with a median cluster of pink scales at the base; antennae with the dorsal edge light oatmeal coloured, lateral and ventral edges with many short golden hairs: some deep crimson scales scattered amongst the oatmeal coloured scales towards the base of each antenna; thorax oatmeal coloured above with a broad [ unclear: ] est of mixed hairs and scales; abdomen pale ochreous with a suffusion of deep crimson sprinkled with black scales; terminal tuft pale crimson; head and body below mostly deep ochreous; legs deep ochreous basally, the tibiae and tarsi irregularly banded and spotted with deep crimson and black.
Type. In the author's collection.
Locality. Little Barrier Island, amongst leaf mould in the bush; collected by the author, late February, 1953.
This really beautiful moth is protectively coloured to resemble a decaying leaf. It was resting amongst leaf mould and noticed only as it moved when I disturbed the leaf mould during my search for Collembola. It flew very lazily but owing to its cryptic colours was not easily captured. It is known only from the type specimen which, although I am satisfied belongs to the species A. gallaria, is quite distinct and unlike any recorded specimen of that species. It is one of the most beautiful moths I have ever seen, and I consider it of subspecific rank.
Genus Bactra Steph.
Bactra flammea n.sp. Plate 2, Figs. 2-3.
Expanse of the forewings. 2 [ unclear: ] mm; the costa strongly arched, the termen only slightly oblique, faintly sinuate.
General colouration: Forewings, head and thora [ unclear: ] bright flame coloured, in life, becoming bright orange-red after mounting; hindwings and abdomen silvery white; anal tufts yellowish; palps and bases of legs orange-red, tarst ochreous, antennae o [ unclear: ] hreous, filiform, and finely ciliated.
The forewings have a conspicuous dark purplish brown dot in the disc and covering the apex of the cell; there is a broad area of purplish leaden shading along the costa and down the termen to the tornus, this varies somewhat in intensity and extent from specimen to specimen and usually commences about one-third along the costa from the wing base; there are two groups of rather indefinite, small purplish coloured dots, one group of 4-3 more or less below the discal spot, the other group also of 4-5 dots towards the upper half of the termen; hindwings irregularly covered by small indefinite pale purplish brown blotches. Cilia of the forewings bright orange red, broadly banded along their base with deep leaden purple; cilia of the hind wings ochreous suffused with pale leaden purple.
Type and seven Paratypes in the Dominion Museum Collections.
Locality. Homer Forks, Upper Hollyford Valley, 3,000ft altitude, collected by the author about mid-January. This moth came freely to light during the early part of the night only when very heavy rain was falling. It was never seen on a fine night and was about for less than one week. Its brilliant colour made it readily recognisable whenever it appeared.
This species would appear to be closest related to B. sideritis, from which it differs in the arrangement of the leaden-purple shading and the colour of the hindwings.
Genus Archyala Meyr.
Archyala homerica n.sp. Plate 2. Figs. 4-5.
Expanse of the forewings, 21 mm; costa strongly arched, apex receding, tornus rounded. Venation of the hindwing corresponds with the less common form of Archyala in which the veins run straight through without forming a cell; venation of the forewings is normal for the genus.
General colouration: Dark brown and white with bronzy reflections; the body dark brown with silvery white patches on top of the head, and narrow transverse silvery white bands across the abdomen; basal segment of palp dark brown, terminal segment silvery; antennae filiform, ochreous or silvery speckled with dark brown; legs dark brown. Forewings silvery white overlaid by irregular broad dark brown transverse bands passing from the costa to the dorsum. There are three conspicuous broad dark brown bars on the distal half of the costa, a central paler bar forming part of the median shade and 7-10 narrow dark brown bars across the basal half of the costa; apical patch always white, bisected by a dark brown apical bar; dark brown shading along the termen below the apical patch, and inside this a very conspicuous “V”-shaped or “U”-shaped silvery white patch; the tornus white and marked by a fringe of long silvery white cilia; the dorsum marked by 3-5 broad dark brown bars; hindwings grey with silvery reflections. Cilia of the forewings bronzy brown, banded basally with dark brown except on the tornus; cilia of hindwings pale silvery grey.
Type and twelve Paratypes in the Dominion Museum Collections.
Locality. Homer Cirque, near mouth of Homer Tunnel, early February, at light between midnight and 2 a.m. on warm, still nights.
This beautiful little moth comes between Archyala paraglypta and A. pentazyga, being bigger than either of these and much more conspicuously marked and characterised by its distinct apical patch and silvery white “V” or “U”-shaped mark inside the termen.
Dr. J. T. Salmon, F.R.S.N.Z, F.R E.S.Zoology Department
Victoria University College
P.O. Box 196,
Wellington, New Zealand.