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Two new Psychidae species discovered in Korea

DATE : 2018-03-02

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Korea National Arboretum researcher Dr. Roh Seung-jin and Hannam University’s Professor Byun Bong-gyu report the discovery of two new Psychidae species: Dahlica (Dahlica) somae Roh & Byun and Dahlica (Dahlica) ochrostigma Roh & Byun.

The bagworm family (Lepidoptera: Psychidae) includes approximately 1,350 species of bagworm moths under 241 genera. Bagworm moths (or case moths) of the family Psychidae are known to construct diversely-shaped baglike cases out of silk and other debris such as twigs, foliage and sand grains. Among moth species, the Psychidae represents one of the more primitive lineages of the lepidopteran family. Female aptery occurs in many Psychidae species and these flightless females have only vestigial wings, legs and mouthparts. Winged, adult males emerge from their cases in early fall, actively flying about to locate females.

In Korea and countries such as east America, Indonesia and Malaysia, several bagworm moth species are regarded as pests that have been known to cause considerable damage to urban trees, garden plants and palm trees. Interestingly, the larvae of bagworm moths have also been featured cartoon characters because of their characteristic bag shapes.

The research collaboration between the Korea National Arboretum and Hannam University led to the discovery of two new species of bagworm moths. The females of both species are found to have degenerate wings, mouthparts and feelers. DNA extraction and genome sequencing have been performed on both species through the research. The results will be compared against those of allied species, while supporting the speedy and accurate identification of these species in the future.

Only 13 Psychidae species have been recorded in Korea thus far (35 have been recorded in Japan), and it is evident that there is a substantial lack of research in this area. This preliminary data regarding the two new Psychidae species is expected to spur the development of future research undertakings.

The full research paper can be accessed via
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5799782/

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