Center for Systematic Entomology, Gainesville, Florida


Date of this Version



Hayden JE. 2021. Two new species of palm-leaf skeletonizers (Lepidoptera: Pterolonchidae: Homaledra Busck). Insecta Mundi 0859: 1–24.


Copyright held by the author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial License,


Two species of palm-leaf skeletonizers (Lepidoptera: Pterolonchidae: Homaledra Busck) that are invasive in Florida, USA are newly described. Homaledra howardi new species is described from Florida and the Dominican Republic. Homaledra knudsoni new species is described from Florida, southern Texas, and Mexico. A lectotype is designated for Homaledra sabalella (Chambers). The three are diagnosed and com­pared with other congeners, and Homaledra is compared with other Pterolonchidae. The larvae of the three common species feed on epidermis of palm foliage, causing significant damage.

Se describen dos especies de palomillas de hojas de palma (Lepidoptera: Pterolonchidae: Homale­dra Busck) que son invasivas en Florida, EE. UU. Homaledra howardi nueva especie se describe de Florida y la República Dominicana. Homaledra knudsoni nueva especie se describe de Florida, el sur de Texas y México. Se designa un lectotipo para Homaledra sabalella (Chambers). Las tres se diagnostican y comparan con otros congéneres, y Homaledra se compara con otros Pterolonchidae. Las larvas de las tres especies co­munes se alimentan de la epidermis del follaje de las palmeras, causando daños importantes.

Homaledra Busck (Lepidoptera: Pterolonchidae) comprises five previously described species of gelechioid moths that are distributed in the Neotropics and southern Nearctic. The known larvae of most of the species feed on foliage of palms (Arecaceae) (Howard et al. 2001). Homaledra sabalella (Chambers), the palm-leaf skeletonizer, is a common pest of palms in the southeastern United States (Creighton 1937). The present publication provides descriptions for two congeners that have invaded the State of Florida in recent decades. Descriptions are presently needed because the larvae cause significant damage across wide areas in the state and because Homaledra species are capable of further invasive movement (Penrose 2001).