The identity of Argyrialacteella (Fabricius, 1794) (Lepidoptera, Pyraloidea, Crambinae), synonyms, and related species revealed by morphology and DNA capture in type specimens

Zookeys. 2023 Feb 7:1146:1-42. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.1146.96099. eCollection 2023.


In this study the aim was to resolve the taxonomy of several species of Argyria Hübner (Pyraloidea, Crambinae) with previously unrecognised morphological variation. By analysing the DNA barcode (COI-5P) in numerous specimens, the aim was to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships between species, to provide better evidence for synonymies, and to circumscribe their geographical distribution. Using an innovative DNA hybridisation capture protocol, the DNA barcode of the lectotype of Argyrialacteella (Fabricius, 1794) was partially recovered for comparison with the 229 DNA barcode sequences of Argyria specimens available in the Barcode of Life Datasystems, and this firmly establishes the identity of the species. The same protocol was used for the following type specimens: the Argyriaabronalis (Walker, 1859) holotype, thus confirming the synonymy of this name with A.lacteella, the holotype of A.lusella (Zeller, 1863), syn. rev., the holotype of A.multifacta Dyar, 1914, syn. nov. newly synonymised with A.lacteella, and a specimen of Argyriadiplomochalis Dyar, 1913, collected in 1992. In addition, nine specimens of A.lacteella, A.diplomochalis, A.centrifugens Dyar, 1914 and A.gonogramma Dyar, 1915, from North to South America were sampled using classical COI amplification and Sanger sequencing. Argyriagonogramma Dyar, described from Bermuda, is the name to be applied to the more widespread North American species formerly identified as A.lacteella. Following morphological study of its holotype, Argyriavestalis Butler, 1878, syn. nov. is also synonymised with A.lacteella. The name A.pusillalis Hübner, 1818, is considered a nomen dubium associated with A.gonogramma. The adult morphology is diagnosed and illustrated, and distributions are plotted for A.lacteella, A.diplomochalis, A.centrifugens, and A.gonogramma based on slightly more than 800 specimens. For the first time, DNA barcode sequences are provided for the Antillean A.diplomochalis. This work provides a modified, improved protocol for the efficient hybrid capture enrichment of DNA barcodes from 18th and 19th century type specimens in order to solve taxonomic issues in Lepidoptera.

Keywords: Argyriacentrifugens Dyar; Argyriadiplomochalis Dyar; Argyriagonogramma Dyar; COI barcodes; Crambidae; historical DNA; hybrid enrichment; species delimitation.