Another Hong Kong Thelyphonid Whipscorpion

Hong Kong's Giant Short-winged Long-horn: What is it?

New moth species for Hong Kong, part 3; further 1997-1998 records

Big-headed Ant resurfaces on Lantau


Another Hong Kong Thelyphonid Whipscorpion

In October 1995 Dr. Michael Lau photographed a fine, big whipscorpion in the woods on the north end of Tung Lung Chau (Junk Island). Unfortunately the photo is in lateral view and does not show the structure of the pedipalps, necessary for determining thelyphonids to generic level. I have followed up on Hong Kong's first thelyphonid (Porcupine! 14:30, 1996) and am describing it: a new species, Asia's first Mastigoproctus (submitted to the Journal of Arachnology). I was most anxious to see if the Tung Lung Chau animals were the same, although the photo did not indicate that.

On 21 January 1999 I got to Tung Lung Chau (with help from Keith Wilson and Martin Williams) and found two juvenile specimens, field tagged numbers 7612-3. I have put one in each of the Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden collection and Yale Peabody Museum. The pedipalps of juveniles do not allow determination to genus (therefore I question the use or validity of the genera), but other aspects of the anatomy easily separate these Tung Lung Chau specimens from Hong Kong's Mastigoproctus, as yet known only from Shek Kwu Chau.

Tung Lung Chau is a popular place to go and easily accessible. Whipscorpions live under rocks, boards, and detritus. One of mine was under a rock in a shady ravine, but the second was under concrete in the open in front of an abandoned building. Adventurous naturalists, not afraid of a little acetic acid (as in strong vinegar), might try to capture more of these whipscorpions on Tung Lung Chau (and keep an eye out for them elsewhere). Specimens can be kept alive in plastic bags in cool shade and should be delivered to Michael Lau or John Fellowes at Kadoorie Farm. Dead specimens can be kept frozen or pickled in ordinary 70% "rubbing" alcohol (isopropyl or ethanol). Who knows, you too might solve a mystery, or discover the definitive specimens of a new species.

The Conservation Agency

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Hong Kong's Giant Short-winged Long-horn: What is it?

I was first introduced to "short-wings," neotenic grasshoppers that attain sexual maturity but remain incapable of flight, when a student on a field trip I led to Baja California, Mexico, collected them for an American expert, back in 1972. Those were members of the orthopteran family Acrididae: short-horned grasshoppers. They were not especially large.

The somber, olive-brown beast I uncovered in HK back in 1997 is large: nearly six centimeters, head-body length, and stout. It is a member of Tettigoniidae, which are long-horned grasshoppers. The most common representatives we see around are bright green, have huge, leaf-like wings, and are called "katydids" by Americans, for the sounds they make. There is also a large, very long-winged, brown species in Hong Kong, Mecopoda elongata, that chirps like a bird.

I pickled and tagged mine, number 15420 of my field series (see opposite). It is an adult female. I sent photos to Professor Liang Ge-qiu at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou and Dr. Emmett Easton at Universidade de Macau. They agree it is a member of Callimenellus. Back in 1977, R. Winney collected one Callimenellus ferrugineus in Tai Po Kau forest. That specimen is preserved and curated at the Hong Kong Agriculture and Fisheries Department insect museum at Tai Lung Farm, Sheung Shui, where I examined it on 26 January 1999. A second specimen questionably labelled as this species is not a Callimenellus at all, but a nymph of something else. C. ferrugineus is half the size of 15420, less than 3cm, and of very different proportions. Professor Liang thinks the big one may be C. fumidus instead, but Dr. Easton thinks those might be the same thing. If so, 15420 could not be C. fumidus either. I sent the specimen to Dr. Easton, who collaborates with Professor Liang, and await results.

Is this yet another relict barely surviving in a remnant of the once-vast monsoon forest? Perhaps so. Of course you know where I got mine: Shek Kwu Chau, the biological Treasure Island of the South China Sea.

The Conservation Agency

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New moth species for Hong Kong, part 3; further 1997-1998 records

Continuing research on the composition of Hong Kong's moth fauna has uncovered yet more species. As was mentioned in part one (Kendrick, 1998a), many of the microlepidoptera recorded during 1997 and 1998 had not been placed beyond subfamily. The opportunity to rectify this situation arose as part of a trip to visit several institutions in Britain and North America at the beginning of the year.

Time was spent identifying recorded species by comparison with material at the Natural History Museum (BMNH), London and the Munroe collection housed in the National Insect Collection (CNIC), Agriculture Canada, Ottawa. A small number of macrolepidoptera have been added to the list, primarily as a result of time spent at the BMNH and also due to continuing species determination work by Tony Galsworthy. Whilst at the BMNH, there was a little time to view the Oxford University Expedition (OUE) specimens of microlepidoptera collected in 1981. Some of the species reported here were first noted at this time, but no results have been published for this group by the expedition: only a couple of papers by various taxonomists have incorporated some previously unknown species during generic reviews (e.g. Diakonoff, 1984). Species with OUE 1981 after the date of capture indicate these species.

Also visited during the trip was the Bishop Museum (BPBM), Honolulu. Here, there is a large amount of material (estimated at some 10,000 specimens, mostly microlepidoptera) collected, using light-traps and malaise-traps at Tai Po Kau, Sai Kung and Castle Peak, during 1964 and 1965 by W.J. Voss, Wai Ming Hui and Lee Kit Ming. Almost all of this material remains unsorted and undoubtedly contains many species not otherwise known from Hong Kong; my very limited time at the BPBM barely allowed me to ascertain the scale of the collection, never mind attempt to sort and identify material. Investigations have yet to reveal whether any results of the Voss et al. recording were published.

Other reading shows very little published work on microlepidoptera for southern China. The only papers of note are by Caradja & Meyrick (1933, 1934), who report on the independent fieldwork carried out from 1909 until around 1925 by R. Mell and by H. Höne in Guangdong (mostly from Guangzhou, Lo Fao Shan and Ding Wu Shan, also from Lung Tao Shan, Tsa Hyen Shan, Sho Jun Shan, Man Tsi Shan and Tsat Muck Ngao (near Linping) but nothing from Hong Kong).

All the identifications are by comparison with material at the BMNH (or CNIC if stated), or by determination (det.) by the stated authority. I thank the Trustees of the BMNH and J.D. Holloway, M.R. Honey (MRH), I.J. Kitching, G.S. Robinson (GSR), K. Sattler (KS), M. Shaffer (MS) and K.R. Tuck (KRT) for giving permission to access the BMNH Lepidoptera collections and card indices and for their assistance during my week at the BMNH. I also thank J.D. Lafontaine for giving permission to access the Munroe Collection at CNIC, and to R. Vincent for assisting my searches to identify some Hong Kong species from Munroe Collection. Thanks, too, to G.M. Nishida, Collections Manager of Entomology and D. Preston, Collections Technician (Dept. of Entomology) at BPBM for granting access to, and assisting my study of the Lepidoptera collection. I am again indebted to Tony Galsworthy (ACG) for assisting in the identification of some macrolepidoptera. Unless stated otherwise, the list contains first records of species recorded from Hong Kong using mercury-vapour light traps at Kadoorie Agricultural Research Centre, Shek Kong, N.T. Many of the microlepidoptera did not match species in the institutions' collections and are placed as "species near to" (sp. nr.) a closely allied species. It is likely most of these are undescribed species. Species unidentified above species level are not listed. The two species of Lecithoceridae listed are tentatively identified from Gates Clarke (1965) and have not been checked against the BMNH material. Species marked with # were listed by Caradja & Meyrick (1933, 1934)

Tineidae: Hieroxestinae
Opogona sp. nr. trigonomis Meyrick, 1907. 9 Oct.1997
Opogona sp. nr. xanthocrita Meyrick, 1911. 27 Mar.1998
Tineidae: Tineinae
Hapsifera seclusella (Walker, 1864) #. 11 Apr. 1998; Shek Hang Wai car park, Tai Mong Tsai (det. GSR)
Monopis monachella (Hübner, 1796) #. 28 Feb. 1997
Monopis sp. nr. congestella (Walker, 1864). 11 Apr.1998; Shek Hang Wai car park (det. GSR)
Monopis sp. nr. hemicitra Meyrick, 1906.8 Aug. 1998 (det. GSR)

Caloptilia (Parectopa) sp. nr. zehntneri Snellen, 1901. 24 Feb.1997

Oecophoridae: Stathmopodinae
Hieromantis sp. nr. ephodophora Meyrick, 1897.2 Oct.1997 (det. GSR)
Stathmopoda sp. nr. isoleuca Meyrick, 1913.8 Aug.1998
Stathmopoda stimulata Meyrick (Voss colln., BPBM; OUE 1981. The commonest stathmopodid moth species in Hong Kong)

Cosmopterix aculeata Meyrick, 1909. 6 Mar. 1997
Cosmopterix hamifera Meyrick, 1909. 5 Aug. 1998
Cosmopterix sp. nr. basilisca Meyrick, 1909. 5 Aug.1997

Anarsia sp. nr. isogona Meyrick, 1913. 30 Jul. 1998
Dichomeris corniculata (Meyrick, 1913). 27 Mar.1998 (det. KS)
Dichomeris sp. nr. mesoglena Meyrick, 1923. 7 Apr.1998
Dichomeris sp. nr. ochthophora Meyrick, 1936. 10 Apr. 1998
genus nr. Harpagidia, sp. amplexa Meyrick, 1925 (described under Gelechia); type locality "Canton". (BMNH microlepidoptera collection drawer Ml 0-238) [note: This species is one of the commonest gelechiid species in Hong Kong and is represented by over 100 specimens in the BPBM. Also recorded by the OUE, 1981. It awaits allocation to a suitable genus (or the description of a new genus, K. Sattler, pers. comm).]

Homaloxestis sp. nr. cholopis (Meyrick, 1906) #. 29 Aug.1998
Homaloxestis sp. nr. myloxesta Meyrick, 1932. 30 Jan.1997

Tortricidae: Olethreutinae
Arcesis threnodes (Meyrick, 1905). 20 Sep. 1997 (also OUE 1981) (det. KRT)
Ophiorrhabda sp. nr. cellifera (Meyrick, 1912). 7 Nov.1998 (det. KRT)
Rhectogonia ancalota (Meyrick, 1907). 30 May 1998 (det. KRT)
Spilonota mortuana (Walker, 1863). 19 Oct. 1997 (det. KRT)

Alucita sp. ? spilodesma (Meyrick, 1908). 5 Feb.1997

Pterophoridae: Deuterocopinae
Deuterocopus socotranus Rebel, 1907. 25 Jul 1997, Tai Po Kau Special Area (also OUE 1981)
Pterophoridae: Pterophorinae
Pterophorus leucadactylus (Walker, 1864) (=niveodactyla Pagenstacher) #. 1 Jan.1997

Thyrididae: Siculodinae
Hypolamprus ypsilon (Warren, 1899). 7 Jun. 1997 (det. MS)

Pyralidae: Galleriinae
Lamoria adeptella (Walker, 1863). 30 May 1997
Pyralidae: Epipaschiinae
Catamola funerea (Walker, 1863). 15 Jan. 1997 (det. MS) [note: this species was previously only known from Australia, so is suspected to have been introduced accidentally on imported plants, possibly Eucalyptus sp. (M. Shaffer, pers. comm.). There are two records, Jan 1997 and Feb.1999, both from KARC]
Pyralidae: Pyralinae
Perisseretma endotrichalis Warren, 1895 #. 3 Nov.1997 (det. MS)
Stemmatophora flavicaput Shibuya, 1928.3 May 1997
Tyndis sp. indet. / nov. 13 Jun.1998. Chatham Path, Baker Road, Hong Kong Island (det. MS)
Pyralidae: Phycitinae
Addyme inductalis (Walker, 1863). 11 Jul. 1997 (also OUE 1981)
Indomyrlaea ferrotincta (Hampson, 1912). Shek Hang Wai, Tai Mong Tsai. 14 Nov. 1998
Nephopterix ochribasalis (Hampson, 1896) #. 1 Jan. 1997 (also Voss et al, BPBM and OUE 1981)
Phycita cavifrons Meyrick, 1932. 5 Aug. 1998
Volobilis sp. (sensu Kendrick, 1998b) is confirmed as biplaga Walker, 1858. (also leg. Voss et al., 1964, BPBM; OUE, 1981)
Pyralidae: Phycitinae; Peoriini
Polyocha pulverealis Hampson, 1893. 1 May 1998
Pyralidae: Crambinae
Calamotropha formosella Bleszynski, 1961.21 Jun.1997
Calamotropha sp. nr. melanosticta (Hampson, 1895)#. 6 May l998
Gargela sp. indet. / nov.25 Mar.1998
Pyralidae: Nymphulinae
Agassiziella sp. nr. albidivisa (Warren, 1896). 29 Aug.1998.
Cataclysta angulata Moore, 1886. 18 Jan.1997.
Eristina sp. nr. bifurcalis (Pryer, 1877). 8 Aug. 1998
Nymphicula sp. nr. xanthobathra (Meyrick, 1894). 28 May 1997
Parapoynx sp. nr. Snellen, 1880. 5 Aug. 1997
Parapoynx sp. nr. villidalis (Walker, 1859). Shek Hang Wai car park, 4 Apr.1998
Pyralidae: Musotiminae
Cymoriza sp. nr. abiflavidalis Warren. 27 Mar. 1998
Musotima suffusalis (Hampson, 1893) #. 5 Sep. 1997 (also leg. Voss et al., 1964, BPBM (ex. Tai Po Kau))
Pyralidae: Pyraustinae
Eurrhyparodes accessalis (Walker, 1859) #. 5 Aug.1998
Pagyda auroalis (Moore, 1888) #. 27 Sep.1998 (CNIC)
Pagyda lustralis Snellen, 1890 #. 18 Jun. 1997 (CNIC)
Pagyda sp. nr. salualis Walker #. 5 Aug. 1998 (CNIC)
Parthenodes stellata (Warren, 1896) #. 6 May 1998
Prophantis adusta Inoue, 1986#. 10 Mar. 1997 (also leg. Voss et al., 1964, BPBM; OUE, 1981)
Stenia minoralis (Snellen, 1880)#. 10 Oct. 1997 Tai Po Kau

Calliteara sp. nr. axutha Collonette, 1934. 15 Aug. 1998

Arctiidae: Lithosiinae
Cyclosodes flavicostata Hampson. 29 Aug. 1998

Noctuidae: Acontiinae
Autoba abrupta (Walkr, 1865). 6 Jun.1998
Autoba rubra Hampson, 1902. 14 Aug.1997
Niaccaba sumptualis Walker, 1865. 10 Oct. 1997 Tai Po Kau (det. MRH)
Oruza crocedota (Turner, 1903). 25 Jul.1998. Shek Hang Wai car park
Noctuidae: Sarrothripinae
Risoba vialis Moore, 1881. 7 Nov.1998
Noctuidae: Nolinae
Idioclytta sp. nr. tornotis Meyrick, 1907. 14 Aug.1997
Meganola sp. nr. diversalis Inoue, 1991. 16 Jan. 1997
Nola sp. nr. izuensis Inoue. 15 Nov.1997
Noctuidae: Ipimorphinae
Callopistria aethiops Butler, 1878. Pat Sing Leng AFD Mgt. Ctr., Nam Chung, 25 Mar. 1998 (det. ACG)

There are also some taxonomic developments that have come to my attention during these studies; three important ones are as follows:-

Prophantis octoguttalis (Felder & Rogenhofer) (Pyralidae: Pyraustinae) has been split into several species (lnoue, 1986), one of which occurs in Hong Kong – P. adusta lnoue, 1986. All voucher specimen records for Hong Kong that I have seen are P. adusta.

Euclasta defamatalis (Walker, 1859) (sensu Lee & Winney, 1981) (Pyralidae: Pyraustinae). There was a recognised undescribed species in this genus, which occurs in Africa and Asia, including Hong Kong. This species was described by Maes (1997) as Euclasta vitralis Maes, 1997 and appears to be the only Euclasta to occur in Hong Kong, although E. defamatalis should occur.

Acrocercops cramerella Snellen, 1894 (Gracillariidae). This species has been transferred to a different genus (Conopomorpha) and split into several species (Bradley, 1986). The species referred to by Lee & Winney (1981) as A. cramerella is now referable to as Conopomorpha sinensis Bradley, 1986. It is possible that C. cramerella (Snellen) may also occur in Hong Kong.

Bradley, J.D. (1986) Identity of the South-East Asian cocoa moth, Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen) (Lepidoptera Gracillariidae), with descriptions of allied new species. Bulletin of Entomological Research 76: 41-51.
Caradja, A. von & Meyrick, E. (1933) Materialien zu einer microlepidopteren-fauna Kwangtungs: Dt. Ent. Z. Iris, Dresden 47: 123-167.
Caradja, A. von & Meyrick, E. (1934) Materialien zu einer microlepidopteren-fauna Kwangtungs: Pterophoridae -Tortricidae – Tineidae. DT ENT Z. Iris, Dresden 48: 28-43.
Diakonoff, A. (1984) Synopsis and descriptions of new species of the South Asiatic Cochylinae (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), with an appendix. Zoologische Mededelingen, Leiden 58: 261-293.
Gates Clarke, J.F. (1965) Catalogue of the Type specimens of Microlepidoptera in the British Museum (Natural History) described by Edward Meyrick 5. British Museum (Natural History), London.
Inoue, H. (1986) A new species of the genus Prophantis from Indo-Australian Region (Pyralidae, Pyraustinae). Tyô to Ga 36: 157-161.
Kendrick, R.C. (1998a) New moth species for Hong Kong; 1997 records Porcupine! 17: 14
Kendrick, R.C. (1998b) New moth species for Hong Kong; part 2; 1997-1998 records. Porcupine! 18: 7-8.
Lee, L.H.Y. & Winney, R., 1981 Check list of agricultural insects of Hong Kong 1981. Agriculture and Fisheries Department Bulletin No.2. 164 pp.
Maes, K.V.N., 1997. On the designation of the types of Euclasta defamatalis (Walker, 1859) and E. filigeralis Lederer, 1863 and the description of a new species (Lep., Pyraloidea, Crambidae, Pyraustinae). Bull. Annls Soc. r. belge Ent. 133:21-22.


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Big-headed Ant resurfaces on Lantau

On 4 February 1999 Graham Reels was doing fieldwork between Tai Ho and Pak Mong on northern Lantau. He noticed two ant species, one of which occurred in large numbers both in the abandoned agricultural land and in fung shui woodland. He brought specimens of both species back to Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden for identification. While I instantly recognised one species as the Long-legged Ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes (F. Smith), a species probably originating in Africa but widespread in open habitats in South China, the more numerous species was unfamiliar to me. I took it to the Natural History Museum in London, where Mr. Barry Bolton was able to confirm my suspicion: that it was the invasive southern African ant, Pheidole megacephala (Fabricius), sometimes known as the Big-headed Ant.

This is not the first record of P. megacephala from Hong Kong: in the 1920s, it was collected by Professor F. Silvestri at Repulse Bay (Wheeler, 1928). It is also known from Guangdong Province (Wu & Wang, 1995). However during several years of work in the 1990s (Fellowes, 1996 and unpublished), I had not previously recorded the species, and began to doubt the validity of the old record.

The presence of the species is noteworthy because of its potential impacts on native biodiversity. For many years P. megacephala has been viewed as a threat to ants and other invertebrates on tropical islands, such as the West Indies (Haskins & Haskins, 1965) and the Hawaiian archipelago (Vander Meer et al., 1990). More recently such impacts have been documented in northern Australia, where in one locality studied the species has caused the virtual elimination of native ant species and reduced the abundance of other native invertebrates to 15% of their natural levels (Hoffmann, 1998). It has also had severe impacts on agriculture (e.g. Vander Meer et al., 1990 and Williams, 1994) and on cables and plastic tubing (various references in Hoffmann, 1998) throughout the tropics.

In Asia, there has been very little attention to the impact of exotic ants on native biodiversity (Fellowes, in press). Perhaps there is an assumption that the native insect community in mainland Asia is somewhat resistant to invasion. Yet if the species-rich, highly competitive and communities of northern Australia are at risk, then there is no reason to be complacent here. One barrier to understanding is the 'taxonomic impediment' - for some groups it takes some years of specialist study before a biologist is able to distinguish natives from exotics (for some ant taxa, nobody knows). Possibly the time is ripe for cross-taxon training in identification of exotic or invasive species, such that all active field biologists can contribute to our understanding of the problem. Could this be incorporated into undergraduate or postgraduate training?

As in many situations, here the interests of biodiversity conservation match long-term economic interests: whether your land management goals include agricultural viability, recreation, urban development or conservation, invasive species may be ignored at your peril. Should the Government be coordinating the available expertise?


Pheidole megacephala

Fellowes, J.R., 1996. Community Composition of Hong Kong Ants: Spatial and Seasonal Patterns. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 367 pp
Fellowes, J.R., in press. Exotic ants in Asia: is the mainland at risk? The case of Hong Kong. Aliens.
Haskins, C.P. & E.F. Haskins, 1965. Pheidole megacephala and Iridomyrmex humilis in Bermuda equilibrium or slow replacement. Ecology 46: 736-740.
Hoffmann, B.D., 1998. The Big-headed Ant Pheidole megacephala: a new threat to monsoonal northwestern Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology 4: 250-255.
Vander Meer, R.K., K. Jaffe & A. Cedeno (eds.), 1990. Applied Myrmecology: A World Perspective. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.
Wheeler, W.M., 1928. Ants collected by Professor F. Silvestri in China. Bollettino del Laboratono di Zoologia generale e agraria del R. Istituto Superiore agrario di Portici 22: 3-38
Williams, D.F. (ed.), 1994. Exotic Ants: Biology, Impact and Control of Introduced Species. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 332 pp
Wu, J. & C. Wang, 1995. The Ants of China. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing, 214 pp

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