SPHINGONAEPIOPSIS ASIATICA Melichar & Řezáč, 2013.

GB: Kopet Hawkmoth

Sphingonaepiopsis asiatica Melichar & Řezáč, 2013, European Entomologist 4(4): 167.

Type locality: 55km NW Darregaz, Kopet-Dagh Mountains, Khorasan area, Iran, 37°34'N, 58°37'E, 1100m, 14.iv.2010.


BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

Holarctic; western Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- Kopet-Dagh Mountains. Probably a pleistocene relict which evolved from an isolated population of Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades (Hübner, [1819]).


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan: 34 mm. In general, slightly larger than Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades. The forewing colour is grey-brown with grey predominant. At the base of the forewings is a kidney-shaped dark brown patch. More distally is a central band approximately 2mm wide, which switches direction around 1mm wide discal spot. From the apex of R2, a wavy line runs to Cu2; the end of this wavy line is not always evident because it merges into a darker sector on the edge of the wing between veins 1A and Cu2. All these pattern elements are dark brown on a grey background. The hindwings are light yellow with grey colouring. The edge of the wing from 3A to R has a distinctive grey coloured band that gradually widens from 3A to 2mm beyond R and Sc. The hindwings also have two central parallel lines 1-1.5 mm apart, a constant feature that contrasts with Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades where these lines are convergent towards the anal angle. The body is 15mm to 18mm long, with light grey hairs. On each side of the abdomen, there is a pair of white patches on the last three, rarely four, segments. As in Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades, the colour and pattern are highly variable so with the exception of the parallel bands on the hindwings, it is not possible to give unambiguous diagnostic pattern elements (Melichar & Řezáč, 2013).

In the male genitalia the uncus is triangular with a rounded apex, the gnathos with imperceptible crenulations. Valvae oval with longitudinal veining. The main diagnostic trait is the shape of the harpes on the valvae. Those of Sphingonaepiopsis asiatica are significantly different from those of Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades in being more massive, with a coarse, dense clump of conical protuberances. These protuberances were found in all specimens in which the genitalia were studied and were the primary reason that the population from this area was described as a new species (Melichar & Řezáč, 2013).


ADULT BIOLOGY

The biotope is identical to that of Sphingonaepiopsis gorgoniades, i.e. mountainous steppe with a very poor flora at 400-2000m (Melichar & Řezáč, 2013).


FLIGHT-TIME

Mid April to mid May, with a few as late as early June (Melichar & Řezáč, 2013).


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Unknown.

LARVA: Unknown.

Hostplants. Unknown.

PUPA: Unknown.


PARASITOIDS

Unknown.


DISTRIBUTION

At present this species has been recorded from only a very small area in Central Asia, namely the Kopet-Dagh Mountains running along the border of northern Iran and southern Turkmenistan (Melichar & Řezáč, 2013).

Extra-limital range. None.


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