Hidden jewels of Malaysia
Hidden jewels of Malaysia: two new genera and species of remarkable clearwing moths (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae: Osminiini)
Marta Skowron Volponi, The European Zoological Journal, 2022, Volume 89, 2022 – Issue 1
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Bright red colouration is rare in butterflies and moths. Several years ago in Malaysia, a stunning scarlet clearwing moth (belonging to the lepidopteran family Sesiidae) caught my eye as it was mud-puddling on a riverbank. I had never seen anything like it! Due to its colouration, it seems to be a mimic of assassin bugs rather than wasps or bees like other sesiids. After analysing the details of its morphology I was confident that a new genus had to be established. I named the new genus Scarlata, described the new species as Scarlata nirvana Skowron Volponi, 2022, and transferred also a previously described species, S. ignisquamulata Kallies, 2018, into it. From the rainforests of Malaysia, I went to the priceless collections of the Natural History Museum in London and discovered that one of their Sesiidae specimens is in fact a new species also belonging to the genus Scarlata. I named it S. guichardii Skowron Volponi, 2022, in honor of Kenneth Guichard, a wasp specialist who collected the holotype in 1973. During my visit in NHMUK I found additional interesting specimens which confirmed my hypothesis from 2015 that Heterosphecia pahangensis Skowron, 2015 belongs to a distinct, new genus, and not Heterosphecia. I named the second new genus described in this article Malayomelittia. The name derives from Malaysia, the country of origin of representatives of this genus, and the Greek “melitta” (bee), due to the type species’ splendid mimicry of Trigona bees. The new genus now includes two species, M. pahangensis and M. ruficrista, Rothschild, 1912.