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Genus Scrobipalpuloides

2013.5 Tuta spinosa - Scrobipalpuloides spinosa
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Gelechioidea (Twirler Moths and kin)
Family Gelechiidae (Twirler Moths)
Subfamily Gelechiinae
Tribe Gnorimoschemini
Genus Scrobipalpuloides
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Scrobipalpuloides Povolný, 1987
8 species in our area (1)
The genus to which these eight species belong is uncertain. Pohl et al. (2016) (2) place them in Tuta Kieffer & Jörgensen, 1910, but Lee et al. (2009) (1) place them in Scrobipalpuloides Povolny 1987. The latter is believed to be correct, but requires further investigation.
"The type species of genus Tuta is T. atriplicella Keifer & Jorgenson, 1910 (and not Strand, as some sources would say). The type locality of T. atriplicella is Argentina and the types (two males) are in Zoologisches Museum der Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. We have not examined them yet, although they have been properly illustrated before (e.g. Hodges & Becker 1990, Povolny 1993). From these illustration, it seems (and this remains to be verified) that atriplicella and absoluta Meyrick 1917 (also described from South America [Peru]) do indeed belong together in the same genus. What is also unclear is that what this genus should be, since both of these species show a very close affinity to Phthorimaea Meyrick, 1902 (Type species: operculella Zeller 1873, Type locality: Texas). If it turns out that these three are congeneric, then the name to be applied would be Pthorimaea due to its priority, and Tuta will be a junior subjective synonym. Now what makes this even more interesting is that none of the North American species listed by Lee et al under Scrobipalpuloides are part of the atriplicella+absoluta group: They are a well-defined bunch with a different-looking genitalia in both sexes that fit well with Scrobipalpuloides Povolny 1987 (Type species: S. inapparens Povolny 1987, type locality: Argentina). But uncertainty about generic assignments and constant changes in taxonomy based on poor evidence by past workers without thorough a examination of the whole group have made the waters quite murky. Tuta was synonymized with Pthorimaea by Hodges & Becker in 1990, but resurrected again by Povolny in 1993, who was not sure about the validity of his own genus, Scrobipalpuloides as he synonymized it with Tuta in the same paper, and later proceeded to describe all of the North American species under Tuta. This error was recognized by Lee et al. who moved all of them back under Scrobipalpuloides. So far, the DNA barcode data also support this distinction, although we do not have DNA for the type species of Tuta yet." -- Dr. Vazrick Nazari (CNC) in email exchange to Kyhl Austin, 4.i.2017.
Print References
Povolný, D. (1987) Gnorimoschemini of southern South America III: the scrobipalpoid genera (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Steenstrupia, 20, 1–91.
Works Cited
1.Checklist of Gelechiidae (Lepidoptera) in America North of Mexico
Lee S., Hodges R.W., Brown R.L. 2009. Zootaxa 2231: 1–39.
2.Annotated taxonomic checklist of the Lepidoptera of North America, North of Mexico
Pohl, G.R., Patterson, B., & Pelham, J.P. 2016.