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Micropterix elegans Stainton, 1867

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Micropteryx elegans Stainton, 1867: 42
Type locality: Hunen [?Wadi Hunayn, near Jerusalem, Israel]
Type: Holotype : "Hunen, Palestine", in coll. BMNH

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Micropteryx octopunctella Amsel, 1935: 276. Type locality: Tabgha, See Genezareth [Lake Tiberias, Israel]. Junior subjective synonym.

Habit:

: Israel, near Jerusalem, En Hemed, 1998.05.01, leg. Renate Hausenblas, coll. Christof Zeller : Israel, near Jerusalem, En Hemed, 1998.05.01, leg. Renate Hausenblas, coll. Michael Kurz : Israel, near Jerusalem, En Hemed, 1998.05.01, leg. Renate Hausenblas, coll. Christof Zeller : Israel, northern Galilea, Adamit, 1998.04.29, leg. Renate Hausenblas, coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     
: Lebanon, east of Saida, 1963.05.13 ± 4 d, leg. Kasy & Vartian, coll. NHMW      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     

Scheme of wing pattern:

Description of adults: Examined: 19 [incl. slide of a paratype of M. octopunctella], 15 . Forewing length: 2.5 - 3.1 mm, 2.7 - 3.3 mm. Head dark brown, vestiture of hair-like scales on the head dirty to brownish yellow; antennae dark brown, bronzy golden shining, 4/5 (), respectively, slightly more than 1/2 () of forewing length; thorax bronzy golden, tegulae silvery, bronzy golden distad; forewings bronzy golden, more or less reddish along costa and outer margin with silvery white, sometimes diffuse markings; at 1/5 an irregular diffuse spot in the middle of the wing, sometimes enlarged to a complete narrow fascia across the whole wing width; at 1/2, two spots at costa and inner margin each, not precisely opposite to each other; at 3/4, an inwardly oblique spot from costa to the middle of the wing; fringe bronzy golden, purple at the base, withish outwards; hindwings bronzy golden, especially at the apex with a purple tinge; fringe bronzy golden, outwards brighter; abdomen and legs brown, golden shining.

Distribution:

Meyrick (1912) records M. elegans from "Syria" (most likely the type locality lies in the nowadays Israel). The examined specimens were collected in Israel (Jordan valley, Lake Tiberias, near Jerusalem, northern Galilea and Mount Carmel) and also in Lebanon (east of Saida). The vertical distribution is known to reach from near sea level up to 220 m a.s.l. only (Kurz et al. 2010).

Biology:

   
Biotope of M. elegans Imagines feeding on Cistus salviifolius    
Picture from: © Zeller et al. 2009
Detailed view
Picture from: © Schwartz-Tzachor in Zeller et al. 2009
Detailed view
   

At Mount Carmel, M. elegans has been observed to be one of the most important pollinators of Cyclamen persicum, besides Micropterix berytella de Joannis, 1886 and thrips (Schwartz-Tzachor 1998, Schwartz-Tzachor et al. 2004, Schwartz-Tzachor et al. 2006). Nevertheless, the species is not specialized on that plant and has also been found feeding on Cistus salviifolius. M. elegans inhabits the Mediterranean forest types "garrigue" and "batha", often syntopically with M. berytella. The adults appear between January and April (Kurz et al. 2010).

Stages in development:

The early stages are unknown.

Anatomy:

, cuticule, scheme -genitalia, prep.-no. 776, M. Kurz: Israel, Mount Carmel, Ramat Hanadiv, 2001.02.12, leg. Schwartz-Tzachor Racheli, coll. Michael Kurz -Genitalia, prep. no. 528, M. Kurz: "Tabgha; See Genezareth; 15.3.[19]30; leg. H.G.Amsel", coll. Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien -Genitalia, prep. no. 528, M. Kurz: additional lobe and tip of an accessory clasper in higher magnification: "Tabgha; See Genezareth; 15.3.[19]30; leg. H.G.Amsel", coll. Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
 
-genitalia, preparation in caustic potash, prep.-no. 964, M. Kurz: Israel, Mount Carmel, Ramat Hanadiv, 2001.02.12, leg. Schwartz-Tzachor Racheli, leg. Michael Kurz -genitalia, permanent preparation, prep.-no. 964, M. Kurz: Israel, Mount Carmel, Ramat Hanadiv, 2001.02.12, leg. Schwartz-Tzachor Racheli, leg. Michael Kurz -genitalia, receptaculum seminis in higher magnification, prep.-no. 964, M. Kurz: Israel, Mount Carmel, Ramat Hanadiv, 2001.02.12, leg. Schwartz-Tzachor Racheli, leg. Michael Kurz  
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
 

Genitalia. Uncus moderately long, slender, tip broadly rounded; accessory claspers relatively long and slender; near their tips 3 strongly modified, stout and thickened seate at the inner surface; about 8 moderately long, more or less bent, stout and thickened setae at the anterior margin; additional, strongly irregular lobes beyond the accessory claspers, often folded, bearing a single, bent, stout and thickened seta; valves moderately long, stout, constricted in the middle, the distal third spatulate and somewhat bent upwards; postbasally 2 - 3 thickened as well as many normal setae at the inner surface; the distal third at the inner surface with a row of long setae as well as 1 - 2 irregular rows of short, straight, stout and thickened setae.

Genitalia. Tergite IX missing; sternite IX much reduced, narrow, with somewhat indistinct lateral margins; segment X with two sclerotized platelets, broader centrally; receptaculum seminis moderately long, inflated in proximal half, with distinct striation.

Diagnosis:

M. elegans : Israel, near Jerusalem, En Hemed, 1998.05.01, leg. Renate Hausenblas, coll. Christof Zeller M. berytella : Lebanon, Beirut, 1961.03.10, leg. Vartian, coll. Michael Kurz M. cypriensis Heath, 1985 : Cyprus, near Paphos, 1995.03.26 - 1995.04.02, leg. Josef Wimmer, coll. Christof Zeller M. elegans, -genitalia, prep.-no. 776, M. Kurz: Israel, Mount Carmel, Ramat Hanadiv, 2001.02.12, leg. Schwartz-Tzachor Racheli, coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
M. berytella -genitalia, prep.-no. 816, M. Kurz: Without data M. cypriensis -genitalia, prep.-no. 675, M. Kurz: Cyprus, near Paphos, 1995, leg. J. Wimmer, coll. Michael Kurz M. elegans -genitalia, prep.-no. 964, M. Kurz: Israel, Mount Carmel, Ramat Hanadiv, 2001.02.12, leg. Schwartz-Tzachor Racheli, leg. Michael Kurz M. berytella -genitalia, prep.-no. 965, M. Kurz: Libanon, Beirut, 1961.03.10, leg. Vartian, coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     
M. cypriensis, -genitalia, prep.-no. 672, M. Kurz: Cyprus, near Paphos, 1995, leg. J.Wimmer, coll. Michael Kurz      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     

M. elegans is well characterized by its colouration and wing markings. Some forms of Micropterix berytella de Joannis, 1886, lacking the silvery spots near the tip of the forewing, are separable with certainty only by genitalia examination. The male genitalia are very distinctive, the female genitalia are less so.

Phylogeny: Based on the male genitalia, M. elegans, M. berytella and Micropterix cypriensis Heath, 1985 form a well defined group of closely related species. Characteristic for this group are not only the more or less enlarged accessory claspers with reduction of strongly modified setae, but especially the additional, partly folded lobes between accessory claspers and valves, which, in contrast to a group of relatives around Micropterix sicanella Zeller, 1847, bear also modified setae.

Worth knowing:

Sources:

Amsel, H.G. 1935. Weitere Mitteilungen über palästinensische Lepidopteren; Veröffentlichungen des Deutschen Kolonial- und Übersee Museums, Bd. 1, Hft. 2: 276 - 277
Kurz, M. A., M. E. Kurz & H. C. Zeller-Lukashort 2000–2010. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 12 April 2010].
Meyrick, E. 1912. Adelidae, Micropterygidae, Gracilariadae. – In: H. Wagner (ed.), Lepidopterorum Catalogus, pars 6, Berlin.
Schwartz-Tzachor, R. 1998. Pollination and seed production in two populations of Cyclamen persicum. MSc. Thesis at Tel Aviv University (in Hebrew).
Schwartz-Tzachor R., D. Eisikowitch & A. Dafni 2004. Non syndromic pollination of Cyclamen persicum in Israel. – Medecos, 10th International Conference on Mediterranean climate ecosystems, Rhodes island, Greece, 25 April – 1 May, 2004.
Schwartz-Tzachor, R., A. Dafni, S. G. Potts & D. Eisikowitsch 2006. An ancient pollinator of a contemporary plant (Cyclamen persicum): when pollination syndromes break down? – Flora 201: 370–373.
Stainton, H. T. 1867. The Tineina of Syria and Asia Minor. – London, Van Voorst, 1867. 84pp.

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2006.01.27
Kurz Michael: 2006.03.21
Zeller Christof: 2008.02.29
Kurz Michael: 2008.12.23
Kurz Michael: 2010.01.09
Kurz Michael: 2010.04.12
Kurz Michael: 2012.05.05
Kurz Michael: 2012.05.07
Kurz Michael: 2012.07.10
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2012.07.10
Document released by:
Kurz Michael: 2012.07.10

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