Table of Contents:
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………… 3
Materials and Methods ..………………………………………………………………… 5
Results ……………….…………………………………………………………………… 6
Genus Gnorimoschema ....………………………………………………………………... 7
Genus Scrobipalpa ………………………………………………………………………... 13
Genus Scrobipalpula ………………………………………………………………………15
Feautures of the Yukon Gnorimoschemine fauna ...…………………………………… 16
Acknowledgements ………………………………………………………………………. 17
Literature cited .………………………………………………………………………….. 19
Additional references…………………………………………………………………….. 20
Plates …..………………………………………………………………………………….. 21
Appendix 1. NJ tree of DNA barcodes …………………………………………………… 29
Appendix 2. List of barcoded specimens ……………………………………………........ 30
The tribe Gnorimoschemini Povoln!, 1964 (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) includes over 40
genera with nearly 900 described species worldwide. The majority of these (about 550) occur in
the Palaearctic region (Povoln! 2002a), reflecting denser collecting and a longer taxonomic
history. A large number of undescribed species is estimated to exist. The Nearctic fauna
comprises 176 described species in 17 genera, among which the genus Gnorimoschema with 96
species is the most diverse (Lee et al. 2009) (Table 1). More than a third of the known Nearctic
species occur in California.
Gnorimoschemine diversity is prevalent in dry, scrubby, sandy, well-drained, and
halophytic habitats. Many species occur in xeromontane, steppe or prairie zones. The
evolutionary center of the tribe has been hypothesized to be the xeric habitats of South America
such as the Patagonian cold steppes and xeromontane Andes (Powell & Povoln! 2001). Many
species are sand dune specialists. Inventories of coastal sand dunes in California recently revealed
a great diversity of previously unknown Gnorimoschemini (Powell & Povoln! 2001) and their
study has been motivated by growing concern about conservation of these fragile habitats and
their denizens. The known diversity in similar habitats in other regions of North America is
comparatively low but none of these has been subjected to the same extensive and focused
sampling and collecting efforts as the California coastal dunes. Thus discovery of significant
unknown Gnorimoschemine diversity may be expected when dune habitats elsewhere are
In a survey of Yukon moths, Schmidt (2005) reported the presence of six species of
Gnorimoschema, of which five were found in the Carcross and Takhini sand dunes. However, he
was unable to name any and noted that poor taxonomic resolution impeded knowledge of their
biology and distribution. Lafontaine and Wood (1997) reported two undetermined species of
Gnorimoschema from the Carcross dunes but noted that no species of Lepidoptera in the Yukon
was known to be restricted to dunes.
Gnorimoschemine species exhibit a diversity of larval habits and are mostly concealed
feeders: free living in sand where they form silken tubes attached to leaves buried by the active
sand; leaf mining (dominant among Palearctic species); borers or creating gall-like deformities in
growing tips of foliage; causing soft or non-persistent stem galls in which the larvae feed; and/or
causing hard, persistent stem galls (Powell & Povoln! 2001). Nearctic stem-gall making species
are specialized on various Asteraceae (for example, the Gnorimoschema gallaesolidaginis
complex; see Miller 2000). A few species of Gnorimoschemini are economically important and
have become pests of cultivated Solanaceae.
Many species of Gnorimoschemine, particularly dune-dwelling ones, have diurnal adults.
Although attracted to light, many moths can be collected during daytime by sweeping the low
vegetation in suitable habitats.
Although past phylogenetic studies have been inconclusive (e.g. Povoln! & !ustek 1988),
the tribe is deemed to be monophyletic (Povoln! 2002b). However, it is remarkably difficult to
extract from the literature unique defining autapomorphies that would support this assertion. In
his many publications (but mostly in 2002b which is a synopsis summarizing his lifelong work on
the group), Povoln! described at length trends in external and genitalia characters within the
tribe, as well as the exceptions that diverge from the general patterns, but he did not explicitly
articulate which character states are uniquely shared by all members of the tribe. The strong
hook-like signum of the female genitalia appears to be the main uniting feature of the tribe
(Huemer 1988). Male genitalia have a rather distinctive overall aspect with several genera
possessing obvious synapomorphies, but we were unable to determine if these structures contain
unifying character states for the tribe. Huemer and Karsholt (1999) mention the presence of a
“small sclerotized apical arm [in the male genitalia], perpendicular to the main axis of the
aedeagus [=phallus] that probably assists in everting the vesica during copulation” but we are not
sure what structure this refers to.
Pronounced individual variation in external coloration and appearance of the moths makes
it extremely difficult to recognize species of Gnorimoschemini on external characters. In any
population the forewing pattern can vary from unicolorous to a highly mottled, contrasting and
colorful pattern. In the latter case, a triad of dark stigmata in the center of the forewing and a row
of sub-marginal spots can often be observed, although the deviation of pattern and colour from
these basic elements can be significant.
From a morphological standpoint, taxon delineation and identification in the
Gnorimoschemini at both generic and specific level depends almost entirely on detailed
examination of the genitalia. For species whose biology is unknown (the majority of the species),
the primary task of sorting species and correctly associating conspecific sexes presents a
challenge. This problem is compounded by the fact that several species can be collected together
as their flight period and microhabitat coincide.
The taxonomy of the group has been studied by few modern authors. The Czech
entomologist Dalibor F. Povoln! (1924-2004) was the dominant taxonomist studying the world
Gnorimoschemini over the past 40 years and is responsible for describing nearly half of the
known North American species (Table 1), either alone (Povoln! 1967, 1998) or in collaboration
with J. Powell (Powell and Povoln! 2001), with particular focus on the Californian fauna.
Povoln!’s works are very difficult to use due to the uneven quality of the descriptions,
lack of identification keys, and lack of clear diagnoses. Publication of Povoln!’s new species in
hard-to-access or unusual journals (for insect taxonomy) further hampers dissemination of the
knowledge. The most remarkable example of the latter is the description of 14 new species of
Gnorimoschema (12 from Canada) and 5 new North American records of Palearctic species
(Povoln! 1998) which are included in a special issue (dedicated to a deceased entomologist) of
the botanical journal Stapfia published in Austria! This publication is the most critical one for
understanding Yukon Gnorimoschemini because 9 of the treated species are recorded from the
Yukon, including 5 new species described from the territory, of which 4 are from the Carcross
Povoln!’s genitalia illustrations consist exclusively of line drawings which display a
confusing amount of preparation artifacts. As a result many subtle species differences are
obscured whereas distortion-induced differences are apparent. Male genitalia are mounted and
illustrated in a ventral, unspread (unopened) position which result in parts overlapping in a
confusing way; the phallus is illustrated in inconsistent orientations which affect its aspect
(curvature, dentation). The technique of “unrolling” complex male genitalia of Microlepidoptera
(Pitkin 1986) maximizes the display of characters and has been used effectively to illustrate
Gnorimoschemini (for example, Huemer 1988, 1996; Huemer and Karsholt 1998; Huemer &
Karsholt 1999; Elsner et al. 1999) but it was never adopted by Povoln!. Female genitalia are
shown only in part, usually the 8th sternum and sterigma (sclerotization surrounding the genital
opening or ostium bursae), and the signum. While these structures afford good specific
characters, additional features are also present in other parts of the female genitalia such as the
ductus, corpus bursae and ovipositor, contributing to the overall aspect (gestalt) which is
important in species identification. The male genitalia of Gnorimoschemini are usually more
character-rich, although a few species (e.g. G. alaskense) are best characterized by their female
These problems with Povoln!’s descriptions and illustrations have made it incredibly
difficult to interpret and verify his species and generic assignments.
Table 1. Summary of North American Gnorimoschemini diversity.
Valid species Specific
Agonochaetia 1 1 0 0
Caryocolum 0 5 7 0
Eurysaccoides 0 2 0 2
Exceptia 0 2 0 1
Frumenta 0 2 1 0
Gnorimoschema 2 96 11 49
Insuloschema 0 1 0 1
Keiferia 1 8 3 2
Microcraspedus 0 2 0 2
Neopalpa 0 1 0 1
Nevadopalpa 0 7 0 7
Phthorimaea 1 1 4 0
Scrobipalpa 1 10 3 1
Scrobipalpopsis 0 5 0 2
Scrobipalpula 1 16 1 4
Scrobipalpuloides 0 8 0 7
Symmetrischema 0 9 5 2
Totals 7 176 35 81
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Specimens examined.– Moths collected in Yukon and neighboring regions and deposited
in the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes in Ottawa (CNC), as
well as the Collection of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph (BIO),
were examined. Voucher specimens reported by Schmidt (2005), which are deposited in the
CNC, were re-examined in light of the more extensive material available. We also examined a
number of gnorimoschemine specimens from other parts of North America (all in CNC) in order
to gain a broader understanding of the group.
To verify our interpretation of Povoln!’s species, the type specimens of all the species
that he described from Canada were borrowed, as well as some representatives of Holarctic
species. All these types are deposited in the University Museum in Helsinki, Finland (ZMH). The
loan was received too late for incorporation in this report but preliminary examination is
consistent with our taxonomic interpretation.
DNA barcoding, specimen sorting, and identification.– We used DNA barcodes as the
primary tool to sort specimens into clusters that represent distinct species. DNA was extracted
and the COI barcode region was sequenced in the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario in Guelph,
using standard methods (Hadjibabai et al. 2005). All specimen and sequence data were entered in
the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) (Ratnasingham & Hebert 2007) (www.barcodinglife.com).
So-called TaxonID trees (genetic similarity trees) were generated using BOLD analytical tools.
Specimens were then sorted according to the tree clusters. A sequence difference of 2% was used
as a threshold for segregating species (Avise 1994; Hebert et al. 2003). Genitalia preparations of
both sexes (if available) were made from selected specimens within each distinct barcode cluster.
Identifications were achieved by comparing the genitalia to those illustrated for the known fauna
of North America as reported in the taxonomic references cited in this report. Unidentified and
putatively undescribed species which did not match any of the known species were given
temporary ‘new species’ numbers and shall be described officially in a future publication.
Genitalia dissection and preparation.– Dissections were performed followed a standard
technique and dissected parts were stained and mounted on microscope slides in Euparal resin
(Landry 2007). The technique of “unrolling” male genitalia (Pitkin 1986) was employed: it
entails severing the tegumen from the vinculum on one side (the right side was separated) and
spreading the genitalia “open”. In the resulting preparations the vinculum-valvae complex sits on
the left with its dorsal side up and the tegumen-uncus-gnathos is on the right with its ventral side
up. The phallus was separated and mounted alongside (see Figures 35–52; anterior points upward
on the figures). Female genitalia were mounted with the ventral side up and the posterior end of
the ovipositor points upward on the figures (see Figures 53–65). In some female preparations the
7th segment was left attached to the genitalia (Figures 53, 55, 57, 60–62, 65).
A total of 550 specimens of Gnorimoschemini from North America were examined. 486
specimens were DNA barcoded, the remaining specimens were too old to attempt. 140 of the
barcoded specimens represented about 60 species that turned out not to be represented among the
Yukon material and they were excluded from this report. 346 specimens representing species
present in the Yukon were further studied, of which 201 (59%) were collected in the Yukon.
Among the latter, 107 specimens were collected in the Carcross dunes and 63 in the Takhini
River dunes. The overrepresentation of sand dune material indicates a collecting bias as more
efforts were put into sampling active dunes, which are not only attractive to visiting collectors but
also much easier to sample because an abundance of Gnorimoschemine moths can easily be seen
in activity during day time. By contrast in other more vegetated habitats the moths hide among
the vegetation and collecting them involves sweeping low plants, which is more time-consuming
and yields fewer specimens, or light-trapping which is not necessarily attractive to diurnal
A total of 21 species in three genera were identified. Following is an account of each.
Genus Gnorimoschema Busck, 1900
Gnorimoschema Busck, A., 1900 (Proc. US. Nat. Mus. 23: 277). Type species: Gelechia gallaesolidaginis Riley,
The genus Gnorimoschema comprises about 100 described species in the Nearctic region (Lee et
al. 2009). By contrast, only a handful of species are known from the Palaearctic region (Povoln!
2002a). Some species are Holarctic (G. nordlandicolella and G. herbichii, both present in
Yukon), showing primarily boreal-alpine, disjunct distributions (Powell & Povoln!, 2001). The
larval habits are diverse, from free-living sand dwellers to leaf-miners, stem borers and gall
makers (Powell and Povoln!, 2001).
1. Gnorimoschema alaskense Povoln!, 1967 (Figs. 1-2, 37, 58)
“Gnorimoschema valesiellum alaskense, n. ssp.” Povoln!, D., 1967. Genitalia of some nearctic and neotropic
members of the tribe Gnorimoschemnini (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae
37: 75-77; Figs. 46-47 ("" genitalia). Type Locality: “St. Paul Id., Alaska”.
Yukon Records: “Gnorimoschema valesiellum” 1#, Carcross sand dunes, 12.7.1994, L Kaila
leg. (Povoln!, 1998: 338, not examined here); 1", Dawson, 6.VIII.1949, PF Brugemann leg.
(CNCLEP00067661, not barcoded); 2", N. Whitehorse, Yukon Rd. at Takhini River, S. facing
grassy slope, 03.VII.2004, BC Schmidt.
Additional material examined: Alaska: 45"# St. Paul Island, 5-15.VII.1943, EC Johnson;
2"# ibid, 9.VII.1945, 6"#, ibid, 26-30.VI.1948, 4"#, ibid, 29.VII.1949, 5"#, ibid,
30.VI.1951, 1", ibid, 8.VII.1952 (not barcoded). Saskatchewan: 1", Maidstone, 55 km SE
Lloydminister, 23.VI.1983, JF Landry. Manitoba: 1" Churchill, First Twin Lake, 23.VII.2007, P
Hebert. Colorado: 1#, Gilpin Co., Roosevelt National Forest Campground, 3 km S Nederland,
12.VII.1993, B Landry.
Remarks. Originally described as a subspecies of G. valesiellum (Staudinger, 1877), the taxon
alaskense has been recently recognized as a separate species based on genitalia characters (O.
Karsholt, Insects and spiders of Greenland, in press). The type material, consisting of only 2
males and 2 females, were collected in July 1939 by E.C. Johnston on St. Paul Island, Pribilof
Archipelago in the Bering Sea nearly 500 km off the southwestern coast of Alaska, and is
deposited in the California Academy of Sciences. However, much of the Johnston collection of
Microlepidoptera is now part of the CNC. During this study, we discovered among the
unidentified Gelechiidae in the CNC a long series of 68 specimens collected on St. Paul Island by
Johnston between 1943–1951. Both sexes from this series were dissected and were confirmed to
be alaskense but they were too old for DNA barcoding. The female genitalia in this species is
characteristic. No recent female specimens from the Yukon were available, however DNA
barcodes identified additional specimens from Colorado, Manitoba and Saskatchewan,
confirming their identity and a previous record from Yukon by Povoln! (1998: 338). G.
alaskense sexes are color dimorphic: males have forewings that are almost uniformly dark grey-
brown with a hint of whitish markings in the apical third; females have forewings more
extensively marked with whitish scales.
2. Gnorimoschema brachiatum Povoln!, 1998 (Figs. 3-4, 38, 57)
“Gnorimoschema brachiatum sp. n.” Povoln!, D., 1998. New taxa and faunistic records of the tribe
Gnorimoschemini from the Nearctic Region (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Stapfia 55: 328; Figs 1-3 ("## genitalia),
photo 1 (male paratype). Type Locality: “S. Yukon, Carcross sand dunes”.
Distribution: Widespread in western North America.
Yukon Records: (Type Series) 9"#, Carcross sand dunes, 12.7.1994, M Ahola & L Kaila leg.
(Povoln!, 1998: 328; not examined here). 2"" Takhini River dunes, 8 km N Kusawa Lake, N.
Shore, 27.VI.2004, BC Schmidt.
Additional material examined: Saskatchewan: 1" Sand dunes 6 km N Burstall, 2.VII.1985, JF
Landry. Colorado: 1" Chaffee Co., 5 km W Buena Vista, nr. Silver Prince Creek, 16.VII.1982,
Remarks: This is perhaps the only species of Gnorimoschema in Yukon that can be readily
identified by the adults having distinct black and white wing pattern. This species has originally
been described from Yukon, and is apparently not uncommon (type series include 9"#
specimens). However, only two recent specimens are known from Yukon. The Canadian National
Collection also holds additional male specimens from southern Saskatchewan
(CNCLEP00067446) and Colorado (CNCLEP00067587). Female genitalia illustrated by Povoln!
1998 (Fig. 59).
3. Gnorimoschema herbichii (Nowicki, 1864) (Figs. 5-6, 39, 59)
“Gelechia herbichii” Nowicki, M., 1864. Microlepidopterorum species novae, 1864: 17. Type Locality: “Galicia”
Yukon Records: 29"#, Carcross sand dunes, 15.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl; 1", ibid.,
23.VI.2004, BC Schmidt.
Additional material examined: Alberta: 1" Jasper National Park, Jasper Lake sand dunes,
27.VI.2006, BC Schmidt & G Anweiler.
Remarks: This essentially Palaearctic species was first recorded by Povoln! from the Nearctic
region (1998: 337; from Presqu’ile Provincial Park, Ontario). He states that this species “…seems
to have a wider distribution especially in steppe-like habitats of Canada. The subspecific status of
the Nearctic populations remains open”. This is the first record of this species form Yukon and
4. Gnorimoschema ligulatum Povoln!, 1998 (Fig. 7, 40)
“Gnorimoschema ligulatum sp. n.” Povoln!, D., 1998. New taxa and faunistic records of the tribe Gnorimoschemini
from the Nearctic Region (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Stapfia 55: 329; Fig 5 (" genitalia), photo 3 (male holotype).
Type Locality: “S. Yukon, Carcross sand dunes”.
Distribution: Known only from the Carcross sand dunes in Yukon.
Yukon Records: (Holotype ") S. Yukon, Carcross sand dunes, 12.7.1994, L Kaila leg. (Povoln!,
1998: 329; not barcoded).
Remarks. A species described from a single male from Carcross. Male type specimen (currently
at the CNC, on loan from Helsinki) illustrated here (Fig. 25) but not barcoded. No further
specimens have been collected and the female remains unknown.
5. Gnorimoschema nanulum Povoln!, 1998 (Figs. 8, 41)
“Gnorimoschema nanulum sp. n.” Povoln!, D., 1998. New taxa and faunistic records of the tribe Gnorimoschemini
from the Nearctic Region (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Stapfia 55: 330; Fig 7 (" genitalia), photo 5 (male holotype).
Type Locality: “Quebec, Ma[s]ham, sand pits”.
Distribution: Recorded from Masham sand pits in Quebec and N. Whitehorse in Yukon.
Yukon Records: (Paratype) 1", 24 km N. Whitehorse airport, P.contorta/sandy meadow,
9.7.1994, 11:00 pm-1:00 am, L Kaila leg. (Povoln!, 1998: 330, not examined here); 1", Carcross
sand dunes, 23.VI.2004, BC Schmidt (CNCLEP00061396).
Remarks. Apparently widely distributed in Canada (from Southern Quebec to Yukon), but rare.
Apart from the single male from Whitehorse area recorded by Povoln! (1998), a second male was
identified among the material collected by BC Schmidt from Carcross dunes
(CNCLEP00061396). The female remains unknown.
6. Gnorimoschema nordlandicolella (Strand, 1902) (Figs. 9-10, 42, 60)
“Lita nordlandicollella” Strand, E., 1902. Ent. Ztschr. Guben 1902: 21. Type Locality: Norway.
Distribution: Holarctic. According to Povoln! (2002) this species occurs across Europe to
eastern Siberia and in Canada down the Rocky Mountains and into Texas (sic).
Yukon Records: (from Povoln! 1998:) 1", 20 km W. White horse, 60°45’N, 134°40’W, light
trap, 16.7.1985, K Mikkola leg; 1", Carcross sand dunes, 12.7.1994, M Ahola & L Kaila leg.;
3"", dtto, 12.7.1994, 5-6 pm, L Kaila leg.; 1", dtto., not genitalized; 1", 16 km SE Whitehorse,
P. contorta/sandy meadow, 11.7.1994, L Kaila leg., 1", 24 km N. Whitehorse airport, P.
contorta/sandy meadow, 9.7.1994, 11:00 pm-1:00 am, L Kaila leg.; 1", Klondike Campground,
64°05’N, 139°05’W, 11.-12.7.1985, K Mikkola leg. (Povoln!, 1998: 337; not examined here).
5"#, Takhini River dunes, grass/sage, running on sand, 16.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl;
12"#, ibid, 8 km N Kusawa Lake, N. Shore, BC Schmidt; 2"#, Carcross sand dunes,
7.VIII.1980, M Wood & D Lafontaine; 1", ibid, 22.VII.1981, M Wood & D Lafontaine; 1",
ibid, 17.VI.1982, G & M Wood; 9"#, ibid, 23.VII.1989, M Polak & M Wood; 3"#, ibid,
afternoon, running on sand in sparse vegetation, 15 July 2006, JF Landry & G Pohl.
Remarks: A widely distributed, morphologically variable Holarctic species. Povoln! states that
“Compared with the clear cut qualitative morphological differences in discrete specific taxa of
this genus (visible at the first sight), these differences show fluctuation variability … the same
variability is also reflected in male genitalia, but the differences observed show the same purely
quantitative degrees of the same character contrasting with distinctly qualitative differences in
discrete specific taxa of this genus. The descriptions of such populations as different taxa should
be avoided, since they obscure and confuse the known distributional pattern of this clearly
holarctic taxon and they might multiply its cleared synonyms” (1998: 337).
According to Povoln! (2002) the species occurs in prairie and steppe places with sandy soil.
The taxon eucaustum Meyrick, 1929 (Type locality: Texas, Alpine) has been classified as a
subspecies of G. nordlandicollella (Povoln! 1967: 77).
7. Gnorimoschema nordlandicolella-complex sp. 1 (Figs. 11, 43)
Yukon Records: 1!, Demspter Highway, km 155, elevation 950 m, 16-18.VII.1981, M Wood &
D Lafontaine (CNCLEP00067703 )
Remarks: A new, inconspicuous species in the nordlandicolella complex, flagged through DNA
barcoding. The male genitalia show minor differences, particularly in the valva-sacculus-
vinculum part (see Plate 8). It was collected in the dolomite barrens at fairly high elevation.
8. Gnorimoschema nordlandicolella-complex sp. 2 (Figs. 13-14, 44)
Distribution: Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Yukon Records: 1! Carcross sand dunes, 23.VI.2004, BC Schmidt (CNCLEP00061383 )
Additional material examined: Alberta 1! Jasper N. P. dunes, 27.VI.2006, BC Schmidt & G
Anweiler (JD1024). 1!, Sand dunes 6 km N Burstall, 11.VII.1984, JF Landry
Remarks: A new, inconspicuous species in the nordlandicolella complex, flagged through DNA
barcoding. The male genitalia show minor differences, particularly in the valva-sacculus-
vinculum part (see Plate 8). The female is unknown.
9. Gnorimoschema nordlandicolella-complex sp. 3 (Figs. 15-16, 45, 61)
Distribution: Recorded from Yukon and Northern Manitoba.
Yukon Records: 2", Takhini River dunes, grass/sage, running on sand, 16.VII.2006, JF Landry
& G Pohl; 1!1", ibid, 8 km N Kusawa Lake, N. Shore, 27.VI.2004, BC Schmidt.
Additional material examined: Manitoba: 1!, Churchill, Burnsite, 19.VIII.2006, E Stur & T
Ekrem; 2!", First Twin Lake, 23.VII.2007, P Hebert.
Remarks: Another new, inconspicuous species in the nordlandicolella complex, flagged through
DNA barcoding. Among the barcoded Gnorimoschema, an additional three specimens (2!, 1")
from northern Manitoba clustered very closely with this species. Dissections on male and female
individuals from both populations only shows their close affinity with G. nordlandicollella,
although there are noticeably smaller in size and possess a darker coloration. The male genitalia
also show minor differences, particularly in their tegumen (see Plate 8).
10. Gnorimoschema nordlandicolella-complex sp. 4 (Figs. 17-18, 46)
Distribution: Unknown; possibly new species confined to Yukon.
Yukon Records: 1!, Carcross sand dunes, 23.VI.2004, BC Schmidt; 1!, 1 km NW Carcross,
Sandy pine woods, 25.VI.2004, BC Schmidt.
Remarks. Unlike any other Gnorimoschema, this is a dark species that resembles some of the
non-descript species in the genus Chionodes, and they were originally identified as such. DNA
barcoding placed the two male specimens within the Gnorimoschema. Closer examination then
revealed that they are indeed Gnorimoschema. The male genitalia also place them in the
nordlandicolella complex (see plate 8), but the DNA sequences are considerably divergent. The
female is unknown.
11. Gnorimoschema nordlandicolella-complex sp. 5 (Figs. 12, 62)
Yukon Records: 1!, Demspter Highway, km 140.5, elevation 900 m, 27-28.VII.1980, M Wood
& D Lafontaine (CNCLEP00067706 )
Remarks: A new, inconspicuous species in the nordlandicolella complex, flagged through DNA
barcoding. The female genitalia show minor differences (see Plate 6). The male is unknown.
12. Gnorimoschema obscurior Povoln!, 1998 (Figs. 19-20, 47, 62)
“Gnorimoschema obscurior sp. n.” Povoln", D., 1998. New taxa and faunistic records of the tribe Gnorimoschemini
from the Nearctic Region (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Stapfia 55: 330-331; Fig 8-9 (## genitalia), photo 6-7 (male
holotype, male paratype). Type Locality: “S. Yukon, Carcross sand dunes”.
Distribution: Yukon and Alberta; Western U.S.A. (?).
Yukon Records: (Type Series, 3##) 2##, Carcross sand dunes, 12.7.1994, L Kaila leg.; 1#, 24
km N Whitehorse airport, P. contorta sandy meadow, 9.7.1994, 11 pm-1:00 am, L Kaila leg.
(Povoln", 1998: 330; not examined here); 1!, Klondike (#2) Hwy, 14.4 km N Alaska Hwy jct
vic. Lk Laberge, 17.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl (CNCLEP00026843).
Additional material examined: Alberta: 1# Waterton Lakes N. P., Belleview Hill,
15.VIII.2006, JJ Dombroskie et al.; 1! Pakowki Dunes, 16.VIII.2006, JJ Dombroskie et al.
Saskatchewan: 1!, Sand dunes 6 km N Burstall, 11.VII.1984, JF Landry.
Remarks: This species belongs to a group of gall producing species of Gnorimoschema. The
female was unknown to Povoln" (1998). The DNA barcode of a female specimen from Yukon
(CNCLEP00026843) matched with two specimens from Alberta (1# JD1610, Belleview Hill in
Waterton Lakes N.P., and 1! JD1727, Pakowki dunes), and examination of genitalia of the
Alberta male confirmed its identity as G. obscurior. Thus, this is the first record of G. obscurior
from Alberta, and the first illustration of the female genitalia for this species. Povoln" states, “It
seems this taxon is widely distributed in the sandy habitats including the Great Plains of the
western U.S.A. I have studied some individuals from California showing minor differences in
male genitalia. The male gentalia is somewhat variable” (Povoln", 1998).
13. Gnorimoschema reichli Povoln!, 1998 (Figs. 21-22, 48, 63)
“Gnorimoschema reichli sp. n.” Povoln", D., 1998. New taxa and faunistic records of the tribe Gnorimoschemini
from the Nearctic Region (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Stapfia 55: 335-336; Fig 19-23 (###!! genitalia), photo 14
(male paratype). Type Locality: “S. Yukon, Carcross sand dunes”.
Distribution: Known only from Yukon.
Yukon Records: (Type Series) 10#!, Carcross sand dunes, 12.7.1994, 5-6 p.m., L Kaila leg,
swept from vegetation (Povoln", 1998: 330, not examined here); 1#1!, Kluane National Park, St
Elias Mountains, 9 km W. Haines Junction, 13.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl; 1# Whitehorse,
Grey Mountain Road, 11.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl.
Remarks. The external variation of individuals of this species contrasts with constant genitalia
characters and therefore dissections are necessary for identification (Povoln", 1998).
14. Gnorimaschema sp. 6 (Figs. 36, 49)
Distribution: Unknown; possibly a new species confined to Yukon.
Yukon Records: 1!, Yukon River, at Takhini River, south-facing grassland and sage sweep,
12:00-13:00 H, 665 m, 16.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl (CNCLEP00026725)
Remarks: A single male, sorted through DNA barcoding, with a distinct genitalia that does not
match any known species of Gnorimoschema. The saccus has a peculiar spoon-shape. No
additional specimens and no females are known.
15. Gnorimoschema sp. 7 near vibei Wolff, 1964 (Figs. 23-24, 50, 64)
“Phthorimaea vibei” Wolff, N.L., 1964,The Lepidoptera of Greenland. Meddelelser Om Grønland 159: 48. Type
Locality: West Greenland, at 67° (Søndre Strømfjord, Utorquit in Amerdloq).
Distribution: Western Greenland.
Yukon Records: 1!, Carcross sand dunes, 23.VI.2004, BC Schmidt (CNCLEP00061397).
Additional material examined: Alberta: 1!1", Jasper N. P., dunes, 18 May 2006, JJ
Dombroskie & BC Schmidt. Manitoba: 2!" Churchill, Eastern Creek, 16.VII.2007, P Hebert.
Remarks: The genitalia of the barcoded specimens show a remarkable affinity with G. vibei from
Greenland (Wolff, 1964). However, a single barcoded specimen of G. viebi from Greenland
(jflandry 2537), identified by O. Karsholt (Denmark) seems to be significantly different (8.4%)
from the three Canadian specimens, which leaves their identification doubtful. This is why we
call it “near vibei”. The Canadian specimens were collected on sand dunes. Greenland specimens
of vibei were presumably collected in Arctic tundra (Wolff 1964; Povoln# 2002).
16. Gnorimoschema vastifica Braun, 1926 (Figs. 25-26, 51, 65)
Gnorimoschema vastifica Braun, A.F., 1926. New Microlepidoptera from Alberta and Manitoba. Can. Ent. 58: 47.
Type locality: Aweme, MB.
Yukon Records: 1!1", Carcross sand dunes, 17.VII.1980, M Wood & D Lafontaine; 2!3",
ibid, 17-22.VII.1981, M Wood & D Lafontaine; 9!", ibid, 17.VI.1982, G & M Wood; 17!",
ibid, 23.VII.1989, M Polak & M Wood; 3!6", ibid, 13.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl; 7!4",
23-25.VI.2004, BC Schmidt; 4!6", Kluane National Park, St Elias Mts, Kaskawulsh R. dune,
Aspen/sage/lupine, 580m, 13.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl; 8!15", Takhini River dunes,
grass/sage, running on sand, 690m, 16.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl; 4!6", ibid; 8 km N
Kusawa Lake, N. Shore, BC Schmidt.
Additional material examined: Alberta: 3!", Jasper National Park, Jasper Lake sand dunes,
27.VI.2006, BC Schmidt, G Anweiler; 2"", Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, 4.VII.2005, GR
Pohl. Saskatchewan: 10!", Lake Athabasca, Thompson Bay dune field, 21.VII.1985, JH Acorn;
1!, Lake Athabasca, Yakow Lake dunes, 24.VI.1988, M Polak & M Wood. Alaska: 5!"
Nogahabara dunes, 65 miles N Galena, 27.VI.1989, M. Polak & M Wood; 3!" Kobuk dunes, 90
miles E Kotzebue, 12.VII.1989, M. Polak & M Wood.
Remarks: This is the most common and widespread species of Gnorimoschema in Yukon, often
seen running on sand in sparse vegetation. The males are usually drab and the females have more
mottled wing patterns, however this is extremely variable and unreliable for identification.
Specimens examined here from Alaska, Alberta and Saskatchewan have similar genitalia and
similarly show variation in wing-pattern, but are minimally different in DNA barcodes. The
Yukon species tentatively identified here as G. vastifica shows some genetic divergence from
specimens from Alaska (average 0.75%; minimum 0.52%; maximum: 1.05%) and a more notable
distance from the Alberta and Saskatchewan populations (average 1.76%; minimum 1.25%;
maximum: 2.32%) with no clear morphological difference. This amount of barcode divergence is
much smaller than observed in the other species, which casts some doubt about the specific
distinctiveness of the Yukon populations.
Gnorimoschema vastifica was described from Aweme, Manitoba, on the basis of a single
female, which currently resides at the CNC (Braun, 1926). The type specimen lacks an abdomen.
Externally similar specimens have been collected and reported previously from Saskatchewan
(Saskatoon), southern Alberta, Utah, and California (Powell and Povoln!, 2001). Considering the
apparent abundance of this species, it is surprising that Povoln! (2001) does not record it from
The genitalia of the Yukon specimens match closely with what Powell and Povoln!
(2001) record under this species from California. However, the interpretation of the name G.
vastifica Braun by these authors rests entirely on the similarity in external appearance of
California specimens with the type specimen from Manitoba. The type specimen lacks the
abdomen (and a genitalia preparation). Considering that there is a significant amount of variation
in colour pattern in the material examined and that the genitalia of the type is unknown, it
remains doubtful whether the name vastifica is correctly applied. Attempts to barcode the type
failed, likely due to its old age.
Genus Scrobipalpa Janse, 1951
Scrobipalpa Janse, A.J.T., 1951 (Moths of South Africa 5: 109). Type species: S. helipoa Lower, 1900.
Euscrobipalpa Povoln!, D., 1967 (Acta Sci. Nat. Brno 1: 212-213). Type species: Bryotropha indignella Staudinger,
Genus Scrobipalpa Janse, 1951 was described for an Australian species (S. heliopa) introduced to
South Africa. Euscrobipalpa was proposed by Povoln! (1967) to accommodate for the large
Palaearctic fauna of Scrobipalpa. This name however has been synonymized with Scrobipalpa
recently (Lee et al. 2009). The genus has ~10 species in North America, many of which are
considered recent accidental introductions from Europe (Jansen 1999, Lee et al. 2009). Most
species feed on Asteraceae, but some feed on Chenopodaciae and Solanaceae (Povoln!, 1967).
17. Scrobipalpa artemisiella (Treitschke, 1833) (Figs. 27-28, 52, 66)
Lita artemisiella Treitschke, F., 1833 (Die Schmetterlinge von Europa 9: 97). Type Locality: Europe.
Yukon Records: 4"# Whitehorse, Grey Mtn summit, 14.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl.
Additional material examined: Alberta: 2"# Jasper N. P., Pallisades Centre, 18.V.2006, JJ
Dombroskie & BC Schmidt.
Remarks. This is the first record of this species for Yukon and Alberta. According to Powell &
Povoln! (2001), who first recorded it for North America, this species is widely distributed in
Canada and United States (Saskatchewan, Northeastern Nevada, California), with phenotypically
distinct forms that show minor variation in genitalia, including some that conform to the
European phenotypes. As the species name suggests, the larvae feed on Artemisia, but it has also
been recorded on Thymus in Netherlands (Jansen 1999). Life stages are illustrated by Jansen
(1999). It is possible that this species is not native as would be suggested by its occurrence in far-
ranging places like California coastal dunes and the alpine habitat in the Yukon. In Europe its
foodplant is thyme (Thymus sp.) but in California it has been reared from sage (Powell and
18. Scrobipalpa atriplicella (Fischer von Roeslerstamm, 1839) (Figs. 29-30, 53, 67)
“Lita atriplicella” Fischer von Roeslerstamm, J.E. 1839. Abbildungen zur Berichtigung und Ergänzung der
Schmetterlingskunde, besonders der Microlepidopterologie, als Supplement zu Treitschke's und Hübner's
europaeischen Schmetterlingen, mit erläuterndem Text. 1839: 223. Type Locality: Vienna, Austria.
“Ilseopsis (Euscrobipalpa) atriplicella” Povoln!, 1998: 339.
Distribution: Holarctic; widely distributed in Europe to Turkey and Central Asia (Povoln!,
1996) and established in North America and Mexico as an Introduction from Europe. In United
States it has been collected from Pennsylvania, California, Maine and New Mexico; In Canada it
has been collected from QC (Gatineau, Pontiac, Monteregie, La Presentation), ON (Puslinch), BC
(Vancouver Island), and Yukon (Carcross, Whitehorse).
Yukon records: 1", S. Yukon, 16 km SE Whitehorse, P. contorta/sandy meadow, 11.7.1994, L
Kaila leg.; 1#, S. Yukon, Carcross sand dunes, 12.7.1994, M. Ahola & L Kaila leg. (Povoln!
1998: 339, not examined here). 3"" Whitehorse, Yukon River margin & 1st Ave, 10.VI.2006,
JF Landry & G Pohl; 1" Whitehorse, Grey Mountain Road, 11.VI.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl.
Additional material examined: British Columbia: 20"# Vancouver Island, Island View Beach,
near Saanich, 16.XI.1995, JF Landry. Ontario: 1" Wellington County, Puslinch Township,
Concession 11, 9.VIII.2005, P Hebert. Quebec: 2"# La Presentation, Rang 5 Andre Racicot,
28.X.2005, D Handfield; 1" Gatineau, Aylmer, 48 rue du Couvent, 14.VI.2005, JF Landry; 2"#
Monteregie, Saint-Hyacinthe, 4-9.V.2006, A Charpentier; 3"# Pontiac, Eardley, 14.V.2004,
21.VII.2004, 29.V.2005, JF Landry. Maine: 1" Washington Co., Steuben, 22.VIII.1997, JF
Landry. New Mexico: 1" Bernalillo Co., Sandia Mts., Turquoise Trail Campground,
15.VII.1989, B & JF Landry.
Remarks: This species is generally associated with areas of disturbed habitat, and the larvae
feeds on Orache (Atriplex spp.) and goosefoot (Chenopodium spp.) (Emmet & Langmaid, 2002)
as well as ruderal and cultivated Chenopodiaceae (Powell and Povoln! 2001). The immature
stages are illustrated in Bautista-Martinez et al. (1995). Sigsgaard et al. (2008) record this species
on Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) in northern Europe.
19. Scrobipalpa sp. near atriplicella (Fischer von Roeslerstamm, 1839) (Figs. 31-32, 68)
Yukon Records: 2# Carcross sand dunes, 23.VI.2004, BC Schmidt.
Additional material examined: Alberta: 1" Jasper N. P., Pallisades Centre, 18.V.2006, J.
Dombroski. Maryland: 1" Calvert, Scientists Cliffs, 2179 Bluebell Road, 1.VIII.2007, JF
Remarks. Discovered through DNA barcoding. The male genitalia of the two specimens from
Alberta and Maryland (not shown) are similar to that of S. atriplicella, and the female genitalia
(fig. 68) is similarly indistinguishable from S. atriplicella. However the DNA barcodes are over
2% different, which suggest a differentiation at species level. The Maryland record was collected
near a sandy beach and seems surprising but may be indicative of a widespread but unrecognized
Genus Scrobipalpula Povoln!, 1964
Scrobipalpula Povoln!, D., 1964 (Acta ent. Bohemoslov. 61: 339). Type species: Gelechia psilella Herrich-Schäffer,
The genus Scrobipalpula differs from other Gnorimoschemini genera in the structure of the
genitalia, with a striking spatulate gnathos that is unique to the genus (Huemer & Karsholt 1998).
About 40 species are known, mostly from the Neotropics, distributed as far south as Patagonia
and Andes (Povoln!, 1987). 16 species are known from the North America (Lee et al. 2009). The
larvae feed on various Rosaceae and Asteraceae.
20. Scrobipalpula lutescella (Clarke, 1934) (Figs. 33, 54, 69)
“Gnorimoschema lutescella” Clarke, J.F.G., 1934. Notes and new species of Microlepidoptera from Washington
State. Canadian Entomologist, Orillia 66: 171-181. Type Locality: Pullman, Washington.
Yukon Records: 1", Klondike Highway, 63°25’N, 136°40’W, Stewart Cross, Artemisia slope,
15.7.1985, K. Mikkola leg. (Povonly 1998, not examined here). 1" Whitehorse, Yukon River at
Schwatka Dam, grassy slope, 26.VI.2004, BC Schmidt.
Additional Material examined: Alberta: 2"" Sandy Point Campground, 03.VII.1985, JF
Remarks. S. lutescella is widespread in the North America from California to Washington and
from Ontario to Yukon (Povoln! 1998). Larvae feed on the inflorescence of various species of
Indian Painbrush (Castilleja sp.), including C. lutescens, on which the species was first
discovered (Clarke 1934).
21. Scrobipalpula sp. near diffluella Frey, 1870 (Figs. 34-35, 55-56, 70)
Scrobipalpula diffluella Frey, 1870 (Mitt. Schweiz. Ent. Ges. 3: 252). Type Locality: Europe.
Yukon Records: 1" Whitehorse, Grey Mountain summit, 1400-1500m, alpine meadow,
14.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl; 1" Montana Mountain, vicinity of Carcross, 1560m, alpine
zone, 16-19:00 H, 15.VII.2006, JF Landry & G Pohl; 1" Carcross sand dunes, 23.VI.2004, BC
Additional material examined: Numerous specimens, listed in the appendix table 1: Alberta
(14), Arizona (10), California (15), Colorado (5), Kansas (2), Manitoba (2), Mississippi (1), New
Mexico (1), Quebec (9), Saskatchewan (1), Tennessee (1), and Washington (5).
Remarks. This is a species complex with probably more than one species involved. Like many
Gnorimoschema species, individuals in this complex are rather variable and show a range of
dark-to-light wing pattern forms (Huemer & Karsholt 1998). The DNA barcodes also show a
wide range of shallow variation that may represent potentially distinct species, although no
geographic correlation could be observed. The Yukon specimens are not particularly distinct from
other populations and show some internal variation as well. S. diffluella has not been reported in
North America (Lee et al. 2009). Given the variation observed and the fact that we have not
examined European specimens of S. diffluella we hesitate to call the Yukon species by that name
until further study. The larvae of S. diffluella are leaf-miners and in Europe are recorded on
Erigeron, Homogyne, Aster and Bellidiastrum (Huemer & Karsholt 1998).
FEATURES OF THE YUKON GNORIMOSCHEMINE FAUNA
Species distributions and habitats are summarized in Table 2. These are based primarily
on the specimens examined in this study and to some extent on literature records, mostly from
Povoln!’s publications. They should be regarded as very tentative or preliminary considering the
paucity of records for most species. Several species are recorded from very few or even single
specimens so that no meaningful statement can be made about them. Additional collecting or
examination of specimens in other collections than those mentioned could reveal that these
species occur more widely. It seems that every time someone makes a focused effort to collect
such microlepidoptera anywhere, new records and new species are found. Low specimen and
species representation is typical of Microlepidoptera in most regions of Canada, a trend that is
more pronounced with decreasing body size and dull coloration of the species.
Some observations can be drawn from available data:
• There is inconclusive evidence that any of the gnorimoschemine species are endemic to
the Yukon. Although six species of Gnorimoschema were found only in the Yukon, they are all
represented by single or few specimens, or a single locality. Further collecting is needed to
document the distribution of Gnorimsochemine species in the Yukon. In the most recent account
of the Lepidoptera fauna of the Yukon (Lafontaine & Wood 1997), nine species of Lepidoptera
out of 518, including one Geometridae, seven Noctuidae and one Tortricidae, were known only
from the Yukon. Two species of Noctuidae were regarded as potential Yukon endemics: Euxoa
macrodentata is associated with steppe tundra; Parabarrovia ogilviensis is restricted to dolomite
barrens at high elevation in the Ogilvie Mountains. The other seven species occur in widespread
tundra habitats: they are unlikely to be restricted to the Yukon and simply may not have been
collected elsewhere yet (Lafontaine & Wood 1997). Gnorimoschema nordlandicolella-complex
sp 1 reported here was collected in dry dolomitic steppe at 950 m, like the noctuid P. ogilviensis
as well as an unreported, undescribed species of Plutella (specimen CNCLEP00001764 in the
CNC, JF Landry, unpublished data). This habitat is very limited elsewhere hence this could be an
instance of endemic Gnorimoschemini.
• Only one species (G. vastifica) may be restricted to active sand dunes. Cases labelled
“possibly” (Table 2) again reflect only the known occurrences based on very limited collecting.
The greater abundance of specimens from active sand dunes may reflect more intense collecting
efforts in such habitats where day-active moths are easily observed and readily collected.
• Although collecting gaps are certainly prevalent, there is also the possibility of that true
disjuncts exist, particularly among the prairie/steppe/dune fauna. Such disjuncts are known
among the better-collected larger moths and butterflies and entail widespread Great Basin and
Great Plains species which reach their northern limits in the southern part of the Canadian prairie
but occur in the north on the steppe slopes of southern Yukon (Lafontaine & Wood 1997). The
Yukon species tentatively identified here as G. vastifica could represent populations disjunct from
the main range of the species in the prairies southeast of the Yukon, and in that respect it would
present special biological interest.
• Brachyptery or reduced ability to fly was not observed among any of the Yukon
Gnorimoschemini. Brachyptery and flighlessness, usually in the female, occurs sporadically
among the Gelechiidae, but in both sexes it has evolved only in a few species of
Gnorimoschemini (Sattler 1991). This trait usually occurs in species inhabiting “insular” habitats
such as sand dunes and high-elevation alpine meadows. Among Holarctic Gnorimoschemini,
brachyptery or flighlessness is known only for G. bodillum, an inhabitant of coastal sand dunes
on the North Sea coast of Denmark and Germany (Karsholt & Nielsen 1974). No case was
reported among the 35 species inhabiting California coastal dunes treated by Powell & Povoln!
(2001). We barcoded one small, white, undescribed species with brachypterous females which
was collected from an isolated dune system in south-central Oregon. However, it does not seem
to be related to any of the Yukon species.
Thanks are extended to Christian B. Schmidt and Jason Dombroski for material and assistance,
and Paul Hebert for making the DNA sequencing facility available for this study. We would also
like to thank Syd Cannings for the opportunity to undertake this work.
Table 2. Geographical distribution, habitat, and possible endemicity of Yukon Gnorimoschemini.
Species Known distribution Yukon
1 Gnorimoschema alaskense YT, AK, SK, CO No Sand dunes, tundra, dry
montane forest (CO record)
2 Gnorimoschema brachiatum YT, SK, CO No Sand dunes, montane dry forest
3 Gnorimoschema herbichii YT, AB, ON,
No Open sandy places No
4 Gnorimoschema ligulatum YT ? (Known
from a single
Sand dunes Unknown
5 Gnorimoschema nanulum YT, ON No Sandy places No
YT, Palearctic No Open sandy places No
nordlandicolella-complex sp. 1
YT Possibly Dolomitic dry steppe No
nordlandicolella-complex sp. 2
YT, AB, SK No Sand dunes Possibly
nordlandicolella-complex sp. 3
YT, AB, MB No Grassland, sand dunes No
nordlandicolella-complex sp. 4
YT ? (Known
from 2 males
Sandy pine wood, sand dunes Unknown
nordlandicolella-complex sp. 5
YT ? (Known
from a single
Shrubby ericaceous vegetation
12 Gnorimoschema obscurior YT, AK No Dry prairie/ grassland No
13 Gnorimoschema reichli YT Possibly Dry prairie/ grassland No
14 Gnorimoschema sp. 6 YT ? (Known
from a single
15 Gnorimoschema sp. 7 near vibei AB, YT No Sand dunes Possibly
16 Gnorimoschema vastifica MB, SK, AB, YT,
AK, UT, CA
No Sand dunes Possibly
17 Scrobipalpa artemisiella Holarctic,
No Open dry places where its
larval host plant occurs
18 Scrobipalpa atriplicella Holarctic and
several parts of the
No Open places where its larval
host plant occurs
19 Scrobipalpa sp. near atriplicella YT, AB, MD
widespread in North
No Sandy places No
20 Scrobipalpula lutescella Nearctic,
No Places where its larval host
21 Scrobipalpula sp. near diffluella Nearctic,
No Possibly open places where its
larval host plant occurs
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(Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). SHILAP Revista Lepidopterologia 31(124): 285-315.