Oxyteninae Jordan, 1924: first confirmed Paraguayan records (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)

Oxyteninae Jordan, 1924: primeros registros confirmados del Paraguay (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)

P. Smith
S. D. Ríos
Museo Nacional de Historia Natural del Paraguay, Paraguay
O. N. Petko
Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca Santa Rosa del Aguaray, Paraguay
I. J. Kitching
History Museum Cromwell Road, Reino Unido

Oxyteninae Jordan, 1924: first confirmed Paraguayan records (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)

SHILAP Revista de lepidopterología, vol. 44, núm. 176, 2016

Sociedad Hispano-Luso-Americana de Lepidopterología

Recepción: 31 Octubre 2015

Aprobación: 28 Enero 2016

Publicación: 30 Diciembre 2016

Abstract: The first confirmed records of Oxyteninae (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae) from Paraguay are presented herein. Two specimens from Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca (San Pedro) are assigned to Oxytenis modaustralisBrechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Saturniidae, Oxyteninae, Oxytenis, Laguna Blanca, Paraguay.

Resumen: Los primeros registros confirmados de Oxyteninae (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae) de Paraguay se presentan aquí. Dos especímenes de la Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca (San Pedro) son asignados a Oxytenis modaustralis Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014.

Palabras clave: Lepidoptera, Saturniidae, Oxyteninae, Oxytenis, Laguna Blanca, Paraguay.


The Oxyteninae Jordan, 1924, had for a long time been considered to be a family (JORDAN, 1924, MICHENER, 1952), but the current consensus is that they are best placed as a subfamily of Saturniidae within the superfamily Bombycoidea (MINET, 1994, LEMAIRE & MINET, 1998, NIEUKERKEN et al., 2011). For much of this time, the group had comprised around 35 Neotropical species placed in three genera: Homoeopteryx C. Felder & R. Felder, 1874, Oxytenis Hübner, [1823] and Therinia Hübner, [1823] (LEMAIRE & MINET, 1998). Recently, however, based on studies of adult morphology and DNA barcode sequence data, 36 further species have been described by BRECHLIN & KÄCH (2014), BRECHLIN & MEISTER (2014) and BRECHLIN et al. (2014), six each in Homoeopteryx and Therinia, and 24 in Oxytenis, bringing the current total number of species in the subfamily to 65.


Adults are medium to large (45-98 mm wingspan) nocturnal moths with triangular, usually falcate wings. Most species are dull-coloured, with a brownish or white ground colour, with various darker maculations, and vertical or horizontal lines (HEPPNER, 2008). The larvae, many of which mimic snakes or faeces, are leaf-feeders (NENTWIG, 1985, AIELLO & BALCAZAR, 1997) and all recorded host plants are Rubiaceae (HEPPNER, 2008). The subfamily is known from Mexico, south to Bolivia, southeastern Brazil (Santa Catarina) and northeastern Argentina (Misiones), (JORDAN, 1924, BRECHLIN & KÄCH, 2014, BRECHLIN & MEISTER, 2014, BRECHLIN et al., 2014, PASTRANA, 2004), but has not been previously confirmed from Paraguay.

There are two female Therinialactucina (Cramer, 1780) in the collection of the Natural History Musuem, London with accession number “92-125” that were collected by Mr. Spencer Moore and bear the locality data “Paraguay”. These were cited by JORDAN (1924: 149), thereby contradicting a statement in the same work (JORDAN, 1924: 136) in which he excluded Paraguay from the distribution of the family. However, these specimens were in fact collected during the Percy Sladen Mato Grosso Expedition (1891-1892) on the “Upper Paraguay River” and are actually from Brazil. Consequently, there are indeed no confirmed records of any species of Oxyteninae in Paraguay, as JORDAN (1924) surmised.

– Oxytenis modaustralis
Fig. 1
– Oxytenis modaustralis

Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014 (CZPLT-i-2555) from Laguna Blanca, San Pedro, Paraguay.

However, on 24 October 2014 at 21.30 h, a specimen of an Oxytenis species was collected in a light trap at the Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca (S 23º 48’, W 56º 17’), Departamento de San Pedro, Paraguay by Olga N. Petko. This moth, with specimen number CZPLT-i-2555 (Fig. 1), was collected at a light trap, is deposited in the Colección Zoológica Para La Tierra housed at the reserve. A second specimen, with specimen number CZPLT-i-2472, was taken on 3 November 2014 at 23.20 h at the same light trap by the same collector. They were initially identified as Oxytenismodestia (Cramer, 1780). However, this species was recently divided into a number of closely related taxa by BRECHLIN et al. (2014) and Oxytenis modestia is now restricted to those populations inhabiting the Guiana Plateau west to the eastern slopes of the Andes (Colombia to Bolivia) (R. Brechlin pers. comm. to IJK, 29-V-2015). Three new species were described: Oxytenis modoccidentalis Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014 (Costa Rica to northwest Ecuador along the Andes Occidentales, with a second subspecies, O. modestia modhondurana Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014 from southern Mexico and Honduras), O. modbahiana Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014 (Brazil, Bahia state) and O. modaustralis Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014 (Brazil, Minas Gerais and Santa Catarina states, Argentina, Misiones province). No specimens were reported from Paraguay and so those reported here represent the first confirmed records of the subfamily from Paraguay. The habitat within the small 804 ha reserve in which they were captured is a mosaic of Cerrado and Atlantic Forest, with areas of transitional semi-deciduous, semi-humid gallery forest bordering a freshwater lake of 157 ha. This is similar to those of the localities from which the type series of O. modaustraliswas collected and so we provisionally assign the Paraguay moths to this species. However, final confirmation must await study of the male genitalia and preferably also DNA barcode analysis.


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