Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Malta (2009) Vol. 2 : 9-11
Eteobalea thaumatella (Walsingham, 1907) a new moth for the Maltese Islands (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) Paul SAMMUT1 & Sjaak KOSTER2 ABSTRACT. Eteobalea thaumatella is recorded for the first time from the Maltese Islands. Notes on the distribution, and times of flight are included. KEY WORDS. Lepidoptera, Cosmopterigidae, Cosmopteriginae, Eteobalea thaumatella, Maltese Islands, new record. INTRODUCTION The genus Eteobalea has a mainly Holarctic distribution while in Europe most species occur in the Mediterranean Region. From Europe, Koster & Sinev (2003), listed 12 species, while Eteobalea klisieckii (Reidl, 1966) is to date known only from Morocco. In the Maltese Islands two species of Eteobalea have so far been recorded, E. dohrnii (Zeller, 1847) known from a single specimen collected from Gozo (Seguna & Sammut, 2007), and the relatively common and widely distributed E. intermediella (Riedl, 1966) (Koster & Sammut, 2006). The present work provides information on a third species collected recently from Malta.
Eteobalea thaumatella (Walsingham, 1907) Material examined: MALTA: Mellieħa, 28.x.2008, 1 ex., leg. M. Zerafa; Naxxar, 4.xi.2008, 4 exs., leg. A. Seguna; Rabat, 4.xi.2008, 3 exs., leg. P. Sammut; Żebbug, 5/6.xi.2008, 11 exs., leg. A. Catania (material is deposited in the private collections of the respective collectors. Besides, one specimen from Żebbug has been deposited in the National Museum of Natural History, Mdina, Malta and a specimen from Rabat has been deposited in the National Museum of Natural History, Leiden, The Netherlands).
Short description: Wingspan 8 - 15 mm long and adult as in fig. 1. Head yellowish white, mixed with ochreous posteriorly. Antennae shining dark brown, apical third with five white annulations. Forewings shining dark brown, dorsal and apical part more or less mixed ochreous brown; three large white costal spots, the one nearest to the wing base slightly oblique outwards, the middle one, almost square, more or less in the centre of the wing, and the third, elongate, situated midway between the middle spot and the apex. A series of tubercular golden brown metallic spots connect to the costal spots posteriorly. Hindwings shining white. Abdomen pale brown with white anal tufts (Koster & Sinev, 2003).
137, ‘Fawkner/2’, Dingli Road, Rabat RBT 9023, Malta. E-mail: email@example.com National Museum of Natural History Naturalis, PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The NETHERLANDS, E-Mail: Sjaak.Koster@planet.nl
P. SAMMUT & S. KOSTER
Distribution: The species is known from North Africa, Canary Islands and eastwards to the Arabian Peninsula and Iran (Koster & Sinev, 2003). This record from Malta constitutes the first record also for Europe and the northernmost extension range of the species.
Figure 1 - Eteobalea thaumatella. Biology: Unknown. Adults have been collected from early March to early May and also in October (Koster & Sinev, 2003). All the examined material, except the specimen recorded from Mellieħa has been recorded at light [18W - Actinic tube]. The Mellieħa specimen was observed resting on a wall underneath a street light. Notes: All specimens of Eteobalea thaumatella, except the specimen from Mellieħa, have been recorded between the 4th and the 6th of November. Immediately prior to, and during this period of time the Maltese Islands experienced strong southerly winds and it is reasonable to assume that the species has reached us from North Africa by migration. Whether the species will successfully establishing itself in Malta is still to be seen. It is interesting to note that during the same period, a specimen of Cerocala algirae Oberthür, 1876, was recorded from Rabat and another from Mellieħa (Zerafa pers. comm.), while a few specimens of Agrotis haifae Staudinger, 1897 and numerous specimens of Agrotis herzogi Rebel, 1911 were also recorded at light. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank Mr Aldo Catania of Żebbug, Mr Anthony Seguna and Mr Michael Zerafa, both of Naxxar, for providing data regarding this species and other species mentioned in the text. REFERENCES Koster, C.J. & Sammut, P. (2006) Faunistic notes on Momphidae, Batrachedridae, Stathmopodidae and Cosmopterigidae from the Maltese Islands. Nota lepidopterologica, 29 (1/2): 49-63.