Taxonomic studies suggest that Leucinodes orbonalis does not occur in Africa and that other new Leucinodes species are present
The taxonomy of African species of Leucinodes and Sceliodes, based on morphological characters in wing pattern, genitalia and larvae as well as mitochondrial DNA, has been studied. Larvae belonging to these genera are internal feeders of solanaceous fruits, causing damage to cultivated plants such as aubergines (Solanum melongena, S. aethiopicum). Among Leucinodes, Leucinodes orbonalis is a species that was first described from specimens collected in India and Java (Indonesia). According to current knowledge, it was widely distributed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, L. orbonalis has been regularly intercepted by EPPO member countries on aubergines imported from Asia and Africa. Results of these taxonomic studies have led to the following conclusions:
- The genus Sceliodes should be synonymized with Leucinodes.
- L. orbonalis is apparently absent from Africa as no specimens collected in Africa belonged to this species.
- African Leucinodes correspond to several species, most of which are new to science: L. africensis, L. ethiopica, L. kenyensis, L. laisalis (=Sceliodes laisalis, L. translucidalis), L. malawiensis, L. pseudorbonalis, L. rimavallis, and L. ugandensis.
- Most Leucinodes specimens found in solanaceous fruits imported from Africa into Europe during the last 50 years belong to L. africensis, and to a lesser extent to L. laisalis, L. pseudorbonalis and L. rimavallis.
Leucinodes africensis sp. nov.
Distribution: Angola, Congo (Democratic Rep. of), Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. It has been intercepted by the United Kindgom and the Netherlands on plant imports from Ghana and Zimbabwe.
Host plants: S. aethiopicum, S. lycopersicon, S. melongena.
Leucinodes ethiopica sp. nov.
Distribution: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia.
Host plants: unknown.
Leucinodes kenyensis sp. nov.
Distribution: Kenya, Zimbabwe (this record still needs to be confirmed).
Host plants: Withania somnifera.
Distribution: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania. Recorded in Europe, in Portugal and Spain.
Host plants: S. incanum, S. anguivi, S. macrocarpon, S. melongena, S. linnaeanum, S. lycopersicon and Capsicum annuum.
Leucinodes malawiensis sp. nov.
Host plants: unknown.
Leucinodes pseudorbonalis sp. nov.
Distribution: Angola, Senegal, Uganda. It has been intercepted by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Host plants: S. aethiopicum, S. melongena.
Leucinodes rimavallis sp. nov.
Distribution: Burundi, Congo (Democratic Rep. of), Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa. It has been intercepted by the Netherlands on plant imports from Uganda (no specimens from Uganda were included in the present study).
Host plants: S. melongena, Withania somnifera.
Leucinodes ugandensis sp. nov.
Distribution: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda.
Host plants: Solanum spp.
Mally R, Korycinska A, Agassiz DJL, Hall J, Hodgetts J, Nuss M (2015) Discovery of an unknown diversity of Leucinodes species damaging Solanaceae fruits in sub-Saharan Africa and moving in trade (Insecta, Lepidoptera, Pyraloidea). ZooKeys 472, 117-162.