Noctuidae - Agaristinae






Alypia wittfeldii H. Edwards

Alypia wittfeldii H. Edwards, 1883, Papilio, 3: 34.

Diagnosis: Alypia wittfeldii is the Floridian, coastal Georgia, and South Carolina sister species of octomaculata. Indeed it is not entirely clear if wittfeldii and octomaculata are indeed separate species or two very distinctive populations of the same species. Possible intergrades between these two species exist. The descriptive remarks given below refer specifically to the Florida populations. Alypia wittfeldii has two particularly distinctive features. First the basal yellow forewing patch is horizontal and vaguely rectangular stretching from the costa to the inner margin. The basal yellow forewing patch is more ovate and if at all linear, is oriented in a horizontal position. Secondly, the blue forewing markings in wittfeldii are much stronger than in octomaculata, particularly the postmedial line and a blue patch between the outer yellow patch and the forewing apex. The white basal patch in the male hindwing has a black streak along the second anal vein in wittfeldii, but such a black streak is typically lacking in the male hindwing white patch of octomaculata. The yellow outer forewing patch is usually more elongate and irregular in wittfeldii than in octomaculata. Finally the wing shape of wittfeldii has a slightly more rectangular appearance than that of octomaculata, although I have been unable to put this difference is a numerical or meaningful verbal form. As a substitute compare the figures of the adults. The apical spot on the seventh abdominal segments in male is yellow in wittfeldii, but white in males of octomaculata. I have not found any consistent differences between the male or female genitalia of these two species. Wing length: (males) mean = 13.25 mm, standard deviation = 0.71 mm, n = 10; (females) mean = 14.31 mm, standard deviation = 0.98 mm, n = 10.

Distribution (See Map on Left): Alypia wittfeldii occurs through almost all of Florida except the western panhandle of the state. Specimens identified as wittfeldii have also been collected in coastal Georgia and South Carolina, although within these coastal populations the variability sometimes appears as if the populations are collections of hybrids between octomaculata and wittfeldii. The variability within the coastal populations of South Carolina and Georgia has already been illuded to. In the typical Floridian populations sexual dimorphism occurs in this species. The white hindwing spots are much smaller in the females than in the males. The male abdomen has a large yellow spot on the dorsum of seventh abdominal segment. Such a yellow spot in absent in females. The basal yellow forewing patch commonly has a hook at its dorsal end turning outward along the Sc vein. The conspicuousness of the blue forewing markings is slightly variable and on the whole is more pronounced in males than females.

Adults are diurnal and occur between January to April in southern Florida, but occuring mostly in April along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia.

Identification Quality: Good

Larva: Unknown

Foodplants: Kimball (1965) records "Japanese persimmon" as a foodplant, Diospyros kaki (Ebenaceae). This choice of a foodplant is so atypical of the genera and species of the Agaristinae that it has to be viewed with scepticism until it can be verified.


Alypia wittfieldii

Although specimens of wittfeldii from Florida are distinctively different from octomaculata, material from Georgia and coastal South Carolina is more equivocal. A series from coastal South Carolina, in particular, seems to run the gamut from typical wittfeldii to nearly typical octomaculata. The degree of separation between these two species, if indeed two distinct species are involved, still needs to be resolved. Georgia and South Carolina appear to be the places to study the problem.

Differences between these two species are discussed in the diagnostic section above.

Similar Species

Alypia octomaculata male