Discovery of an unknown diversity of Leucinodes species damaging Solanaceae fruits in sub-Saharan Africa and moving in trade (Insecta, Lepidoptera, Pyraloidea).
The larvae of the Old World genera Leucinodes Guenée, 1854 and Sceliodes Guenée, 1854 are internal feeders in the fruits of Solanaceae, causing economic damage to cultivated plants like Solanum melongena and S. aethiopicum. In sub-Saharan Africa five nominal species of Leucinodes and one of Sceliodes occur. One of these species, the eggplant fruit and shoot borer L. orbonalis Guenée, 1854, is regarded as regularly intercepted from Africa and Asia in Europe, North and South America and is therefore a quarantine pest on these continents. We investigate the taxonomy of African Leucinodes and Sceliodes based on morphological characters in wing pattern, genitalia and larvae, as well as mitochondrial DNA, providing these data for identification of all life stages. The results suggest that both genera are congeneric, with Sceliodes syn. n. established as junior subjective synonym of Leucinodes. L. orbonalis is described from Asia and none of the samples investigated from Africa belong to this species. Instead, sub-Saharan Africa harbours a complex of eight endemic Leucinodes species. Among the former nominal species of Leucinodes (and Sceliodes) from Africa, only L. laisalis (Walker, 1859), comb. n. (Sceliodes) is confirmed, with Leucinodes translucidalis Gaede, 1917, syn. n. as a junior subjective synonym. The other African Leucinodes species were unknown to science and are described as new: L. africensis sp. n., L. ethiopica sp. n., L. kenyensis sp. n., L. malawiensis sp. n., L. pseudorbonalis sp. n., L. rimavallis sp. n. and L. ugandensis sp. n. An identification key based on male genitalia is provided for the African Leucinodes species. Most imports of Leucinodes specimens from Africa into Europe refer to Leucinodes africensis, which has been frequently imported with fruits during the last 50 years. In contrast, L. laisalis has been much less frequently recorded, and L. pseudorbonalis as well as L. rimavallis only very recently in fruit imports from Uganda. Accordingly, interceptions of Leucinodes from Africa into other continents will need to be re-investigated for their species identity and will likely require, at least in parts, revisions of the quarantine regulations. The following African taxa are excluded from Leucinodes: Hyperanalyta Strand, 1918, syn. rev. as revised synonym of Analyta Lederer, 1863; Analyta apicalis (Hampson, 1896), comb. n. (Leucinodes); Lygropia aureomarginalis (Gaede, 1916), comb. n. (Leucinodes); Syllepte hemichionalis Mabille, 1900, comb. rev., S. hemichionalis idalis Viette, 1958, comb. rev. and S. vagans (Tutt, 1890), comb. n. (Aphytoceros). Deanolis iriocapna (Meyrick, 1938), comb. n. from Indonesia is originally described and misplaced in Sceliodes, and L. cordalis (Doubleday, 1843), comb. n. (Margaritia) from New Zealand, L. raondry (Viette, 1981), comb. n. (Daraba) from Madagascar as well as L. grisealis (Kenrick, 1912), comb. n. (Sceliodes) from New Guinea are transferred from Sceliodes to Leucinodes. While Leucinodes is now revised from Africa, it still needs further revision in Asia.