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Magnolia Press, Zootaxa, 1(4604), p. 141, 2019

DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4604.1.5



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Vallissiana universitaria (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae): a new genus and species of leaf-mining moth associated with Erythroxylum (Erythroxylaceae) in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil

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Vallissiana universitaria Pereira & Arévalo, a new genus and species of leaf-miner moth (Gracillariidae: Gracillariinae) is described and illustrated with the aid of optical and scanning electron microscopy, including adults, larva, pupa and the mine. Its monophyletic status is confirmed within the subfamily based on a DNA barcode CoI tree. The immature stages are associated with Erythroxylum argentinum O. E. Schulz (Erythroxylaceae) and four larval instars are found, all forming a round blotch mine from the beginning of ontogeny. The first two instars are sap-feeders, using only the epidermal cells, whereas the last two are tissue-feeders, mining the parenchyma cells. Pupation occurs inside the leaf mine within a flimsy, silk-made cocoon. This is the third endemic genus of gracillariid moths described from the Atlantic Forest of Brazil and the first associated with Erythroxylum P. Browne. Characteristics found on the forewing and in the last abdominal segments of the adult were determinant for the proposition of the new genus. The CoI tree indicated that it is closely related to Aspilapteryx, while this genus was recovered as polyphyletic in the analyses. Morphological evidence supports this polyphyly. Consequently, Sabulopteryx Triberti, 1985, stat. nov. is considered a valid genus.

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