First report of Pyrrhocalles antiqua orientis (Skinner) (Lepidoptera: Hesperidae) infesting the Bermuda turfgrass in Cuba

Claudia Vela Lantigua, Leonel Marrero Artabe, Luvys J. Rodríguez Alonso



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Butterflies have proven to be excellent indicators of the disturbance and biodiversity of habitats worldwide. Skipper (Hesperiidae) remains one of the most diverse and least known butterfly group. Pyrrhocalles Mabille (1904) (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) is a small genus endemic to the Greater Antilles, and Pyrrhocalles antiqua Herrich-Schäffer is found across the Caribbean. Three subspecies have been described, and Pyrrhocalles antiqua orientis Skinner is an endemic subspecies of Cuba. However, the knowledge about its distribution, population size, and caterpillar host plants is limited. In 2007, P. antiqua orientis caterpillars have been reported on Roystonea regia (H.B.K.), family Arecaceae, in Camaguey province, Cuba. Recently, samples collected from the Varadero golf field, Matanzas province, showed P. antiqua orientis caterpillars to be present causing defoliations on Bermuda turfgrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers), family Poaceae. Several pupae and twenty-six adults were also captured on greens. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of P. antiqua orientis infesting Bermuda turfgrass in Cuba. The occurrence of P. antiqua orientis in coastal ecosystems, including the north littoral of the island, has been described. Caterpillars of the subfamily Hesperiinae have been reported feeding only on gramineas (Poaceae). These results suggest the need for carrying out observations of P. antiqua orientis populations and including this insect in the management strategies of the Varadero golf field.


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