Date of this Version
Robbins RK, Faynel C, Hall JPW, Busby RC. 2022. A segmented and clawed male foreleg in a newly described genus and species of eumaeine butterfly (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Insecta Mundi 0922: 1–6.
Grishinata Robbins and Busby, new genus (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Eumaeini), possesses a five-segmented foretarsus with a clawed pretarsus, a trait that differentiates it from all eumaeine genera except Theclopsis Godman and Salvin. Grishinata penny Busby, Hall, and Robbins, new species, differs from all species of Theclopsis (and most Eumaeini) in lacking male secondary sexual organs on the wings or in the abdomen. It is recorded from the eastern slope of the Andes in Ecuador and Peru. We cannot place Grishinata penny in an existing Eumaeini genus based upon its wing pattern, male foreleg structure, lack of male secondary sexual organs, and male genitalic morphology. We propose names for the genus and species to document its leg morphology and to provide a name for a genome sequencing project, which will allow us to place the genus in the eumaeine Linnaean hierarchy.
There are two morphological types of male forelegs in the lepidopteran butterfly family Lycaenidae, each of which is functionally and structurally different from male forelegs in other diurnal butterfly families. The first male foreleg type is superficially similar to that of Nymphalidae and Riodinidae in that the tarsus is unsegmented, lacks a pretarsus, and is not used to groom the antennae (Robbins 1988, 1990). It differs functionally from these families in that it is used for walking. It differs morphologically in that it possesses tarsal alpha and beta trichoid sensilla (terminology from Chun and Schoonhoven 1973), which are lacking in Nymphalidae and Riodinidae with few exceptions (Robbins 1988). This male foreleg type occurs in more than 98% of lycaenid species (Mattoni and Fiedler 1991). The second lycaenid male foreleg type is superficially similar to that of Hesperiidae, Papilionidae, and Pieridae in that the foretarsus is segmented with a clawed pretarsus. It differs functionally from these families in that it is not used to groom the antennae (Jander 1966; Robbins 1990). It differs morphologically in that it lacks the tibial epiphysis of Hesperiidae and Papilionidae or the vestigial remnant of an epiphysis that occurs in some Pieridae (Robbins 1990). Within Eumaeini, this male foreleg type is restricted to some species of Theclopsis Godman and Salvin, 1887 (Godman and Salvin 1887; Robbins 2004). We discovered a species (Fig. 1) belonging to the Eumaeini with a male foreleg that has a clawed pretarsus and a five-segmented tarsus (Fig. 2), but the male genitalia, secondary sexual characters, and wing pattern (Fig. 1, 3) are dissimilar from those of Theclopsis. The males lack secondary sexual organs on the wings or in the abdomen (Fig. 1, 3), which is highly unusual in Eumaeini (Valencia-Montoya et al. 2021). The male genitalia (Fig. 3) lack structures that would be useful in determining its closest phylogenetic relatives. More generally, we find no clear-cut morphological evidence to place this species in an available eumaeine genus. The purpose of this paper is to propose new generic and specific names for this newly discovered taxon. One reason is that we need a name to document its unusual leg morphology. Another is that we are currently sequencing its genome for a phylogenetic project. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequence data will allow us to place the genus in the eumaeine Linnaean hierarchy. We predict that it will show, in accord with the findings of Mattoni and Fiedler (1991), that its male foreleg with a clawed pretarsus and five-segmented tarsus evolved from a tarsus that was fused without a pretarsus.