Wrong taxonomy leads to a wrong conclusion on a putatively ‘invasive’ species to Europe: the case of Pseudacrobasis nankingella (Lepidoptera Pyralidae).


In this paper the current distribution, biology and ecology of Pseudacrobasis tergestella (Ragonot) was revised in the light of the new synonymy with Pseudacrobasis nankingella Roesler. The synonymy, established in 2014, falsified the hypothesis of a recent biological invasion of P. nankingella in European countries. Furthermore, new records for the Italian Peninsula are provided after 113 years from its description for the type locality near Trieste. Males and females were dissected and their genitalia compared to illustrations in literature for warranting a correct identification. This species is polyvoltine and feeds on seeds of Quercus but adults are reported to emerge also from cones of Pinus. It was usually found in mild and humid forested habitats, in coastal areas and along rivers. The currently known range of P. tergestella includes the westernmost and the easternmost regions of the Palearctic, with a very large disjunction. We plan to submit specimens from as many as possible populations of this species to DNA barcoding analysis in order to investigate the diversification of genetic lineages.


Pseudacrobasis tergestella; Pseudacrobasis nankingella; taxonomic changes; forest insects; Italy; invasive species

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