Do leaf-mining Nepticulidae occur in the natural but so threatened Andean Polylepis forests?

Jonas R. Stonis, Arūnas Diškus, Andrius Remeikis, Ole Karsholt

Abstract


Despite the  fact that Polylepis forests constitute the  natural but threatened vegetation in much of the  high Andes and are very important for their ecological functions, no leaf-mining Nepticulidae (Insecta: Lepidoptera, Nepticuloidea) associated with Polylepis Ruiz  &  Pav. as a  host-plant have been recorded previously. In this paper, for the first time, we report on four discoveries of Polylepis-feeding Nepticulidae species in Ecuador and Peru. From the high Andes of Peru, we describe a new species Stigmella polylepiella Diškus & Stonis, sp. nov., whose larvae throughout all instars are leaf-miners in leaves of Polylepis racemosa Ruiz & Pav. and spin a unique shaped cocoon inside the leaf-mine. We also provide illustrations and short descriptions of male genitalia and leaf-mines of two other new Stigmella Schrank species, whose larvae are leaf-miners on Polylepis pauta Hieron. in Ecuador; these two taxa are documented but left unnamed because they are described from dissected developed pupae, not emerged adults. Additionally, we document leaf-mines of an unknown Nepticulidae taxon associated with Polylepis racemosa in the Peruvian Andes.

Keywords


Polylepis; Nepticulidae; Stigmella Schrank; new species; leaf-mines; Peru; Ecuador

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6001/biologija.v62i2.3334

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ISSN 1392-0146 (Print)
ISSN 2029-0578 (Online)