Larval and pupal biology of a new sun moth in southern California; novel host use strategy in the evolution of Heliodinidae (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutoidea)

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The biology of immatures of an undescribed heliodinid moth, Embola powelli, NEW SPECIES (type locality: California, San Diego County), was studied in southern California. The name Embola Walsingham was resurrected from synonymy to accommodate this new moth. As is true of an allied species, 'Heliodines' ionis Clarke, the larva feeds as a stem borer. Modifications in larval behavior and morphology of the pupa are associated with the obligate endophagous life style. In contrast, the only heliodinid outside of Embola with larval stem-boring behavior is Lamprolophus lithella Busck, which does not show morphological modifications in response to the borer life style and should be regarded as a facultative borer. Consequently, obligate endophagous behavior is considered a uniquely derived feature specific to the Embola lineage in the evolutionary history of Heliodinidae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalPan-Pacific Entomologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jan 1



  • Embola
  • Evolutionary history
  • Immatures
  • Insecta
  • Larval stem borer behavior
  • Mirabilis
  • Nyctaginaceae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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