Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A new snout moth: Minooa acantha

The family of Snout Moths, also referred to as Pyralid Moths, is named for the fact that many members have big snouts indeed, especially the Grass Moths, but not all of them.  In rest they immediately stand out among all other micro moths, for they keep their antennae over their wings. So any moth in rest having their antennae fully exposed belong to this group. 

Most of these small moths are inconspicuous and of no particular significance to humans. Some are more notable, however. Perhaps the most familiar are waxworms, which are the caterpillar larvae of the greater (Galleria mellonella) and lesser (Achroia grisella) wax moths (subfamily Galleriinae). They are pests of beehives, but are bred commercially as live food for small reptile and bird pets and similar animals. They are also used as fishing bait for trout fishing.

The new species belongs to a genus that had only one species so far. The name of the new species is derived from the Latin acanthus (spinose) which refers to some thornshaped structure at the male genitalia.

For the experts: The genus Minooa Yamanaka, 1996 was monobasic with Minooa yamamotoi Yamanaka, 1996 as the type species. Previously, the genus was only recorded from Japan (Yamanaka 1996; Yamanaka & Yoshiyasu 2013). The diagnostic characters of this genus are as follows: antenna of male ciliated ventrally, simple in female; forewing M1 stalked with R3+4+5 for short distance, M2 and M3 stalked for 1/4 length; hindwing with Rs and M1 stalked, M2 and M3 stalked for 1/4 length; male genitalia with a long process arising from base of sacculus; aedeagus with several thorn-shaped cornuti; female genitalia with ductus bursae broadened and wrinkled posteriorly; signum formed by minute sclerites.

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