Matters requiring investigation in regard to the genus Xyroptila

As noted in this post, Kovtunovich & Ustjuzhanin 2006 greatly expanded the list of described species in the genus Xyroptila. Unfortunately, several matters are left unclear in their treatment.

I am using this post to collect notes on points requiring clarification.

Description of genus Xyroptila

As noted by Gielis & de Vos 2007, the paper includes no definition for the genus and therefore does not justify the set of included species or give others the opportunity to determine whether new species should be placed in it.

Generic placement for [Xyroptila] caminites

The species originally named Oxyptilus caminites had been placed within Xyroptila. The paper excludes this species (without detailed justification) but does not propose a new generic placement.

Spelling of Xyroptila naivasha/naiwasha

The name of one of the species newly described in the paper is variously spelled as Xyroptila naivasha and Xyroptila naivasha. Until the first revision of this species, the name has no established spelling.

External abdominal characters

At least some proportion of the species can clearly be separated based on colouration and patterning of the abdomen. This feature is not described in the paper for any species.

Improved external descriptions

The external descriptions supplied in the paper for head, thorax, wings and legs are formulaic and lacking sufficient detail to be of use in diagnosis.

Forewing shapes

The paper suggests that different species vary in whether the termen of one or both forewing lobes is concave. This information does not match other descriptions or the illustrations of some of the species.

Assignment of materials to Xyroptila africana and Xyroptila ruvenzori

The paper states that Bigot's female allotype for Xyroptila africana is in fact the female for the new species Xyroptila ruvenzori. This would leave X. africana with no described female. The paper does not illustrate the female genitalia for X. ruvenzori, although these are described and presumably match Bigot's illustration of female genitalia provided for X. africana. The paper gives no reason for the claim that any of these females are to be associated with either male form. In particular, there is no sign of DNA verification. This means that the females in question may be for either species or a mixture (undiagnosed using genitalic characters). Bigot's male and female were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kovtunovich & Ustjuzhanin refer to both male and female specimens from localities in both Ghana and Uganda. In other words, locality alone does not determine the case. The only conceivable justification for the pairing in the paper seems to be the matching geographic extent including wide ranges either side of Bigot's core locations. Note also that the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen holds two female specimens collected in the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania on 18 July 1981 - the genitalia for these perfectly matches those illustrated by Bigot for X. africana and presumably therefore match the materials identified by Kovtunovich & Ustjuzhanin as the female for X. ruvenzori. See map of localities for males of each species and females.

Posted on 13 de dezembro de 2016, 09:43 PM by dhobern dhobern


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