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Tipulodes annae Przybyłowicz, 2003 (Lepidoptera, Erebidae): rediscovery in the wild and citizen science



We report here the rediscovery of Tipulodes annae Przybyłowicz, 2003 (Erebidae, Arctiinae), which was originally collected in 1924 and has been unseen and not collected in 84 years, until 2008. We also report this species' first record in Panama and additional localities in Colombia using citizen science platforms. This data is useful information for the conservation of this small moth, and it highlights the importance and utility of citizen science platforms in biodiversity research.
Tipulodes annae Przybyłowicz, 2003 (Lepidoptera, Erebidae):
rediscovery in the wild and citizen science
Julian David Alzate Cano1*, Edwin Alejandro Hurtado Pimienta2
1 Independent researcher, Medellín, Colombia •
2 Independent researcher, Medellín, Colombia •
* Corresponding author
We report here the rediscovery of Tipulodes annae Przybyłowicz, 2003 (Erebidae, Arctiinae), which was originally
collected in 1924 and has been unseen and not collected in 84 years, until 2008. We also report this species’ rst record
in Panama and additional localities in Colombia using citizen science platforms. This data is useful information for the
conservation of this small moth, and it highlights the importance and utility of citizen science platforms in biodiversity
Arctiinae, Colombia, Facebook, iNaturalist, Panama, Polilla diablito
Academic editor: Ricardo Russo Siewert | Received 23 June 2021 | Accepted 24 August 2021 | Published 10 September 2021
Citation: Alzate Cano JD, Hurtado Pimienta EA (2021) Tipulodes annae Przybyłowicz, 2003 (Lepidoptera, Erebidae): rediscovery in the wild and
citizen science. Check List 17 (5): 1255–1259.
Tipulodes Boi sduv al, 1832 is a sm all ge nus of Neot r opic al
moths composed of three species and with a distribution
ranging from Panama to Argentina. It is characterized
by relatively narrow wings and a rusty-red stripe on the
forewings (Przybyłowicz 2001).
This is a very poorly studied genus in the subtribe
Ctenuchina, whose relationships between its species and
within the subtribe remain unresolved (Rabello 1955).
This is probably due to the scarcity of taxonomic infor-
mation as well as the lack of molecular analysis, despite
the review of the genus and the description of Tipulodes
annae Przybyłowicz, 2003. The description of T. annae
was based on specimens in the collection of the Natural
History Museum, London. The specimens were wrongly
identied as belonging to the Zygaenidae since their
collection, in 1924, until the species was described by
Przybyłowicz (2003).
Citizen science has been considered a powerful tool
for improving our understanding of the taxonomy, dis-
tribution, and ecology of many species (Mori et al. 2018;
Maritz and Maritz 2020; Winterton 2020). This is even
more evident since the decline of scientic collections
due to decreased popularity and funding (Fischer et al.
20 21).
One of the most popular citizen science platforms
is iNaturalist, and Facebook is one of the most popular
social networks. iNaturalist was launched in 2008 by
the California Academy of Sciences and has been dou-
bling its number of observations annually since then, and
Irwin (2018) calculated that, up to 2018, scientists have
Check List 17 (5): 1255–1259
© The authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use,
distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
125 6 Check List 17 (5)
used iNaturalist data for more than 150 papers.
The iNaturalist platform has been recognized as a
valuable tool for assessing species populations, mainly
through species distribution (Chandler et al. 2017). In
Latin America, it has been used to track the presence of
the invasive ladybird species Harmonia axyridis Pallas,
1773 in Argentina (Werenkraut et al. 2020) and Central
America (Hiller et al. 2019). But it has also been used to
detect diseases, for example in Rhizophora mangle Lin-
naeus, 1753 (Rossi 2017). In Colombia, it has been used to
report the new presence of a weasel, Neogale felipei Izor
& de la Torre, 1978, in the Cordillera Occidental (Roux
et al. 2019), and it has added data on the natural history
of Coendou rufescens (Gray, 1865) (Ramírez-Chaves et
al. 2020) and Toromys rhipidurus (Thomas, 1928) (Loz-
ano-Flórez et al. 2020). iNatualist has increased its use
among both citizens and scientists.
We have used both platforms in the search for infor-
mation and photographs of T. a nnae with our aim to
identify new localities and collect the greatest possible
amount of information.
iNaturalist. The iNaturalist observations were reviewed
manually, by rst searching and reviewing the sub-
tribe (Ctenuchina) and then the genus (Tipulodes). Our
review was focused on Colombia, Panama, and Venezu-
ela. Records of the target species were corroborated and
rened by sending private messages to the observers. We
also requested permission to use both the photographs
and data.
Facebook. We organized two “buscatón” (intensive
searches) on Facebook. We publicly posted posters with
photographs of Tipulodes annae and our contact infor-
mation on popular Colombian insect Facebook groups.
We intended to reach other users who had additional
records of the species (Fig. 1). We have also reviewed the
Figure 1. Poster used for the “buscatón” and shared on Facebook. With this poster we encouraged people to contacted us when they saw
T. annae individuals or visually similar moths.
Alzate and Hurtado | Tipulodes annae rediscovered in the wild 1257
photographs obtained from Facebook contacts to corrob-
orate these records. We requested permission to upload
these species photographs as observations on iNatural-
ist, using the CC BY-NC 4.0 license (https://creative, which is accepted by
GBIF for the incorporation of the data from iNaturalist
(GBIF 2021a).
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility). We
reviewed the Tipulodes records on GBIF, using “Tipu-
lodes’’ and “Tipulodes annae as search terms. When
photographs were available, we conrmed that they rep-
resented T. annae (GBIF 2021b).
Climate analysis. Climate data were gathered, wherever
possible, for the localition of each record of T. a nnae .
We reviewed the available data provided by the Insti-
tuto de Hidrología, Meteorología y Estudios Ambien-
tales (IDEAM) for monthly and annual precipitation in
Colombia between 1981 and 2010. Due to the lack of cli-
matic stations above 50 m a.s.l. in the Panamanian region
of the Darien, we only use the meteorological informa-
tion provided by Inrenare and Ancon (1988). Similarily,
the municipality of Campamento, Colombia, also lacks
of meteorological stations, but we used the nearest sta-
tion, which was at Anorí 20 km northeast. Anorí and
Campamento are both within the Premontane Wet Forest
life zone (Pm-wf) (Holdridge 1967). All climatic infor-
mation was lacking from El Banco and Chiriguana during
the 1920s when the species was collected there. Neverthe-
le ss, according to Et t er et al. (2008), the region was already
highly transformed at that time, and since then it did not
suer major changes. Therefore, we assume that the cli-
mate did not change signicantly until after the 1920s .
New records. COLOMBIA – Antioquia department
Campamento; 06.9777, −075.2955, 1700 m a.s.l.,
5.X.2019, Julián Alzate obs.; under a streetlight; 1 indi-
vidual ♀ • as previous but 26.I.2020; 1 individual ♀ • as
previous but 30.I.2021; 1 individual Car epa 07.7575,
−076.6613; 33 m; 27.VII.2021; Camilo Zambrano
obs.; resting on a wall; 1 ind iv idual♀ Medellín 06.2573,
−075.5376; 2000 m a.s.l.; 15.I.2021; Edwin Hurtado
obs., resting on a wall; 1 individual ♀ Peque; 07.0262,
−075.9346; 1500 m a.s.l., 26.I.2019; Anderson Mesa
Correa obs.; resting on a wall; 1 individual, sex undeter-
mined Puerto Nare; 06.0526, −074.6645; 146 m a.s.l.,
22.III.2021; Santiago Mejía Dugand obs.; resting on
a wall; 1 individual ♂ – Caldas department • Norca-
sia; 05.6707, −074.7766; 200 m a.s.l., 26.XII.2008; Ana
Jaramillo obs., resting on a wall, 1 individual ♀ • as pre-
vious but 02.II.2009.
PANAMA – Darien province • 07.9965, −077.7120,
675 m a.s.l., 10.II.2015; John MacDonald, in a light trap,
1 individual ♀, Mississippi Entomological Museum
(MEM) 340217 • as previous but 03.II.2017; 1 individual
♀, MEM 340216.
Published records. COLOMBIA – Cesar Department
Lake Sapatoza region [sic], Chiriguana District; VIII–
IX.1924; C. Allen leg.; 1 ♂, holotype, The Natural History
Museum, London, UK (BNHM) NMHUK010920603, 3
♀, parat ypes, NHM U K010920604, NHMUK010920607,
NHMUK010920608 (Przybyłowicz 2003) Magdale-
na department Magdalena Valley, El Banco; 1924; C.
Allen leg., 3 ♀,paratypes, BNHM NMHUK010920605,
NHMUK010920606 (Przybyłowicz 2003).
Identi cation. We identied the species using the de-
scription, key, and gures by Przybyłowicz (2003). This
species is easily recognized by the red mesonotum and
the red basal portion of the costae. In the two other Tipu-
lodes species, both the mesonotum and the entire cos-
tae are dark ochraceous. Tipulodes annae also seems
to be the only species of its genus with a trans-Andean
Geographical distribution. Our searches have uncov-
ered 11 records; most are from Colombia, but two are
from Panama, and these are the rst records of the spe-
cies from that country, and the rst time that the genus
Tipulodes has been shown to be in Central America. In
Colombia, T. annae is now known from the Andean (n
= 5), Uraba Gulf (n = 1), and Magdalena Valley (n = 3)
regions. In Panama, it is now known from the Choco-
Darien region (n = 2) (Fig. 2).
Precipitation. We found a correlation between observa-
tions of T. an nae and drier seasons at almost all local-
ities. Four records were found during the transition
period between dry and wet seasons at Campamento
(October, January), Chiriguana, El Banco (August–Sep-
tember), and Carepa (July). The rest of the observations
were made during the dry season. We did not nd any
observations of T. annae during the peak wet seasons.
We found six individuals of Tipulodes annae using iNat-
uralist (n = 2) and Facebook (n = 4). These citizen science
and social network records are the rst observation of this
species in over 80 years. Two individuals were found via
GBIF in the collection of the Mississippi Entomological
Museum where they had been identied as Tipulodes sp.
The rediscovery in the wild of T. anna e is a step for-
wards in the knowledge and conservation of the species,
bringing new information on its distribution. The dis-
covery of seven new localities for the species means that
its distribution is wider than previously known. Remark-
ably, almost all of the individuals were found by citizen
scientists, here meaning users of both the iNaturalist
and Facebook platforms. This demonstrates that these
tools can be very complemental to the distributional data
available from natural history collections, as mentioned
by Hochmair et al. (2020). The occurrence of T. ann a e
near human populations was expected, as iNatural-
ist and Facebook would be expected to induce this bias
125 8 Check List 17 (5)
(Maritz and Maritz 2020). Those lack of museum records
of T. annae may be due to the tiny size of this moth, not
because it has a small geographic distribution
Most of the previous records of Tipulodes species are
from lowlands, and we thought that T. anna e could have
a similar pattern of distribution. However, at least half of
the new records were from mountainous regions above
1000 m, and one of them is near 2000 m a.s.l. These
records expand the altitudinal distribution of T. annae
and indicate that this species inhabits a wider variety of
ecosystems than previously known. The Medellin record
from the second largest city in Colombia suggests that
this species may be tolerant to human disturbance. The
Panamanian record opens the possibility of a Chocoan–
Centro American distribution, but we need further infor-
mation to corroborate this.
Based on what data we have, T. anna e seems to have
two broods annually. Adults emerge in the transition
period between wet and dry seasons and remain alive
until the start of the next wet season. Studies focused on
the species’ life cycle are needed.
Despite its tiny size, this moth could be an emblematic
species due to its jazzy colors. We propose the Spanish
common name, “Polilla diablito” (“Little-devil moth” in
English), which has strong implications in Latin Ameri-
can folklore due to regional religious traditions and the
fundamental role that the devil plays in Christian culture
(Taus sig 2010).
Even though citizen science can be a very helpful tool,
it cannot replace museum collections and more informa-
tion is needed, including its seasonality, geographic dis-
tribution, and morphological characteristics (some male
genital characters remain unknown). We suggest further
exploration in the mountainous regions of the Cordillera
Oriental, the Pacic Coasts of Colombia and Ecuador,
and the wet forests of Panama. Entomological collections
in Colombia require extensive curation and revisionary
work, especially among the noctuoids, and anticipate that
more specimens of T. annae exists in these collections.
We acknowledge Łukacz Przybyłowicz for his assis-
tance throughout this study and for his amiability and
Figure 2. Localities where Tipulodes annae has been recorded. The new observations (red) and the type locality (black). Photographs
are of a single voucher specimen from each locality. A. Darien National Park, Panama (photo: Mississippi Entomological Museum. B.
Campamento, Colombia (photo: Julian Alzate). C. Type locality, Chiriguana, Colombia (photo: Łukasz Przybyłowicz). D. Carepa, Colombia
(photo: Camilo Zambrano). E. Peque, Colombia (photo: Anderson Mesa). F. Puerto Nare, Colombia (photo: Santiago Mejia). G. Medellín,
Colombia (photo: Edwin Hurtado). H. Norcasia, Colombia (photo: Ana Jaramillo).
Alzate and Hurtado | Tipulodes annae rediscovered in the wild 1259
friendship. We also acknowledge Ana Jaramillo for her
contribution and collaboration in the Facebook “bus-
catón”. We especially thank Corporación Salvamontes
de Colombia and Santiago Chiquito García for the poster
design which was used in the citizen science campaign.
We also want to acknowledge John MacDonald, Missis-
sippi Entomological Museum, Geo Martin, and Natu-
ral History Museum, London for allowing us to use their
photographs and data. We acknowledge Felipe Quiceno
for his help in the rst steps of this project. Finally, we
would like to thank everyone who has accompanied us in
this project, especially Daniel Bocanumenth Echeverry,
Yenny Correa Carmona, and Nick J. Dowdy.
This work is dedicated to the memory of William
Alexander Zapata Restrepo. Thanks for all the inspira-
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