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Composition and origin of the geometrid fauna (Lepidoptera) of the Sneeuberge, Eastern Cape, with descriptions of new taxa

  • Journal Title: Annals of the Transvaal Museum
  • Volume: Volume 44
  • Issue: 
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 25  - 66
  • Authors:  Martin Kruger;
  • ISSN: 00411752
  • Abstract:  A survey of the moth fauna of parts of the Sneeuberge (Eastern Cape, South Africa) carried out intermittently between September 2001 and April 2006 recorded 147 species of Geometridae, corresponding to approximately 14% of the southern African fauna of this family. A total of approximately 1500 specimens was examined, collected mostly using portable light traps. One genus, Proaethiopodes gen. nov. (Ennominae), and 15 species are described as new: Idaea consectatrix spec. nov., I. enteucha spec. nov. (Sterrhinae), Entephria muscosa spec. nov. (Larentiinae: Larentiini), Eupithecia niticallis spec. nov. (Larentiinae: Eupitheciini), Aethiopodes olivacea spec. nov., Proaethiopodes pallididiscus gen. et spec. nov., Psilocerea krooni spec. nov. (Ennominae: Ennomini), Acrasia modesta spec. nov.,Drepanogynis fumosa spec. nov., D. instabilis spec. nov., D. aglaochroa spec. nov., Pseudomaenas microgyne spec. nov. (Ennominae: ?Nacophorini), Parectropis aemula spec. nov., P. rotundipennis spec. nov. (Ennominae: Boarmiini), and Obolcola luteograpta spec. nov. (Ennominae, unassigned as to tribe). Three new combinations are proposed: Piercia artifex (Prout, 1925) comb. nov. (Larentiinae) (from Perizoma Hübner, [1825]), Pseudomaenas rubidivenis (Prout, 1922) comb. nov. (Ennominae) (from Hemerophila Stephens, 1829), and Parectropis atelomeres (Prout, 1922) (Ennominae) (from Ectropis Hübner, [1825]). Comibaena coryphata (Felder and Rogenhofer, 1875), previously treated as a junior subjective synonym of C. leucospilata (Walker, [1863]), is reinstated as a distinct species. With exception of one species reared previously (O. luteograpta, see below), the early stages of the other new taxa are unknown. The nine trapping sites were distributed between the Nama Karoo (993-1250 m) and Grassland biomes (1605-1618 m). Both their combined faunas, as well as the fauna of Eastern Mixed Nama Karoo viewed in isolation, provide a close reflection of the composition of the southern African geometrid fauna at the subfamily level, whereas the fauna associated with South-eastern Mountain Grassland is characterized by a strong reduction in the number of Geometrinae and Sterrhinae and a concomitant increase in the number of Larentiinae. With regard to Ennominae, the fauna of the latter veld type is characterized by a decrease of Macariini and an increased representation of Ennomini and ?Nacophorini. The affinities of the fauna of South-eastern Mountain Grassland with adjoining high-altitude grassland veld types and with the Fynbos biome are discussed, and comments are provided on its historical biogeography.
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