Original description of Oxyptilus vaughani Fletcher, 1909

Since Fletcher described the species now known as Xyroptila vaughani in a volume of the journal Spolia Zeylanica which is not currently among those included in BHL, here is a transcription of his original description.

Fletcher, 1909, The Plume-moths of Ceylon. Part 1. — The Pterophoridae. (Spolia Zeylanica 6: 1-39, Plates A-F), pages 23-24:


♂. Expanse 10.5 mm. Palpi long, slender, curved, sickle-shaped, smooth ; white, irregularly mottled with fuscous ferruginous ; terminal joint acute, longer than second. (Antennae wanting.) Head dark ferruginous fuscous, vertex covered with a loose tuft of elongated erected scales which do not form a regular cone. Thorax dark ferruginous fuscous ; pectus pale sulphur-yellow. Abdomen ; first segment and base of second segment pale sulphur-yellow, second, third, and fourth segments deep chestnut-bronze-brown, apical margin of fourth segment edged with a narrow transverse band of brilliant white scales, fifth segment thickly irrorated with white scales so as to form a distinct broad transverse bar across the abdomen, terminal segments deep reddish-purple ; anal tuft long, apex yellowish-white. Legs dark ferruginous-fuscous, narrowly banded transversely with white ; spurs long, equal ; posterior tibiae with small clusters of short dark fuscous spines near base and on origin of spurs. Fore wing cleft from 3/5 ; elongated, narrow at base, broadly expanded outwardly ; first segment rather narrow, apex acute, termen concave, oblique, anal angle distinct ; second segment posteriorly dilated, apex produced (not extending beyond anal angle of first segment), termen concave, oblique ; deep chestnut-brown, thickly irrorated with ferruginous and thinly sprinkled throughout with minute patches of lilacine-whitish scales ; costal edge dark fuscous ; a small whitish dot on costa at ½, a small whitish transverse costal spot at ½ of first segment, and a small white sub-apical spot ; second segment with a small whitish dot on anterior margin at 3/4 ; cilia ochreous-white, with blackish patches at angles of both segments suffused with blackish within cleft, with black bars on dorsum at 3/4 and 7/8 and a black dorsal scale-tooth at ½. Hind wing cleft firsly from 2/5, secondly from near base, segments very narrow and linear ; dark ferruginous fuscous, third segment with a white bar at ½ and a minute apical dorsal scale-tooth just beyond it ; cilia ochreous-white, fuscous on first segment and towards apex of second, those of third segment very long and delicate.

Type ♂ (No. 6,459) in Coll. Bainbrigge Fletcher.

Locality.—Ceylon, Province of Uva, Madulsíma, Cocogalla estate (4,000 feet) ; February, 1907, at light (W. Vaughan).

I have much pleasure in naming this species after Mr. Wm. Vaughan, to whom I am indebted for this and many other "plumes."

Oxyptilus vaughani seems closely related to O. peltastes, Meyr. (T. E. S., 1907, 479), but differs in the distinct band on the abdomen and the white-banded legs. Both these species seem to approach very nearly to the members of the lately-described genus Xyroptila, Meyr., and will probably have to be removed from the genus Oxyptilus ; but until the exotic Oxyptilids are better known it seems to me that no good purpose will be served by separating the group.

Since writing the above I have examined a specimen collected by Dr. A. Willey at Trincomalee on October 4, 1908, and have also received an example taken by Mr. W. Ormiston at Haldummulla in November.

On September 10 Mr W. Vaughan obtained a second specimen at Aráwa, and a few days later bred a third from a pupa found suspended from the upper surface of a leaf of Dimorphocalyx glabellus in the same locality. Furnished with this information, and thanks to Mr. Vaughan's kind assistance, I was able to visit Aráwa on several occasions during December and found the moths quite common. They were at first obtained rather sparingly by beating D. glabellus, but later on I found them in abundance flying in the bright morning sunshine (about 10 to 11 A.M.) around the flowers of Leea sambucina (Sinh. "Bouroula"). In several cases I noted that the moths were actually feeding on the flowers, their tongues unrolled and thrust violently into the flower in search of food. In other cases they were settled on the leaves, when they hung down freely suspended by the first two pairs of legs, the wings folded and held out at right angles, the tip of the abdomen strongly curved upwards, and the posterior legs with the tibiae extended at an angle between the wings and the abdomen, and the tarsi curved inwards until the distal tarsal joint nearly touched the apex of the abdomen.

An examination of a long series shows that O. vaughani may differ from the type, as described above, in the following points:— (1) The white spots on the first segment of the fore wing are sometimes developed into distinct, though narrow, transverse bands. (2) The white bands on the hind legs are sometimes very indistinct. (3) The fifth abdominal segment is usually less suffused with white scales. The narrow white bar on the fourth abdominal segment, however, is always very distinct and characteristic.

The larva will probably be found to feed inside the fruit of Dimorphocalyx glabellus (Sinh. "Weliwenna"), from which I also beat an example of O. vaughani at Alutnuwara on December 16, 1908.

Posted on 10 de dezembro de 2016, 09:25 PM by dhobern dhobern


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