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Nychiodes in the Iberian peninsula

Teresa Farino
01/12/2009 07:21:07

The eminent British lepidopterologist Colin Plant has just informed me of a taxonomic update for this genus of Geometrid moth.

Posted in: Butterflies and Moths | Cantabria | Mainland Spain


According to the recent revision of the genus Nychiodes that appears both in Patrice Leraut's newly published Moths of Europe, volume II - Geometrid Moths (N.A.P. Editions, 2009) and Geometridae Ibericae (Redondono, V. M. et al. (Apollo Books, 2009), the taxon notarioi Expósito, 2005 (Swarthy Annulet) is now accepted as a full species rather than a form of N. andalusiaria Millière, 1865 (Alhambran Annulet). It is also clear that N. hispanica Wehrli, 1929 (Spanish Annulet) only occurs in the extreme south of Spain, while, records of N. obscuraria (Villers, 1789) (Dusky Annulet) from south-west France are also now considered to pertain to N. notarioi.

With this in mind, Colin Plant dissected the specimen previously thought to be Nychiodes hispanica, collected in Pesaguero, Cantabria on 5 July 2008, which I mentioned as being a new species for the Picos de Europa in a previous blog. He found that it was clearly N. notarioi, but says that it is highly likely that N. andalusiaria occurs in the Picos de Europa as well, and urges me to collect all Nychiodes species for further investigation.

I have thus amended my records to reflect this correction, as well as the blog entitled Summary of the Picos de Europa Lepidoptera Study, 2008.

The fourth member of this genus to occur in Spain is Nychiodes atlanticaria Schwingenschuss, 1936 (Castilian Annulet; including N. torrevinagrensis Expósito, 1984), which apparently is confined to a small area on the borders between Andalucía, Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha.

Redondo states that because the genital differences between the four Iberian Nychiodes species are very small and the wing pattern is so variable, but essentially similar, as well as the fact that their ranges do not overlap, it may well be the case that they are simply different forms of just one species. Further investigation is clearly necessary.

NB - The English common names of these moths given here are also according to Leraut.



Related Information:
Teresa's next butterflies and moth tour in the Picos de Europa runs from 30 June to 7 July 2010


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