Ctenuchid from Guatemala

Subject: A Ctenucha moth?
Location: Panajachel, Guatemala
February 3, 2016 1:15 pm
I’m a Canadian living in Panajachel, Guatemala, in the Western Highlands near Lake Atitlan. We found this beautiful moth on our porch today mid-afternoon on a very sunny day. He was very lively! Did not want to sit still for a picture.
Black and red wing, very bright iridescent blue body.
Am I correct in thinking this is a type of Ctenucha moth?
Signature: Cristel


Dear Cristel,
You are correct that this Tiger Moth is in the subtribe Ctenuchina, and we believe that it is in the genus
Cyanopepla based on the image posted to Emtomofausac Insectos de Guatemala and the image on Neotropical Lepidoptera that is identified as  Cyanopepla bella, though we are not fully convinced that is the correct species.  We located several members of the genus online that look very similar, but none have the bold, unbroken red marking on the forewing.  We will contact Arctiinae expert Julian Donahue to see if he can provide a species.


Julian Donahue Responds
Locality?? Also, hindwing markings important in this genus.
I may be able to come up with a name if I know the locality.

Thanks Julian.  The location is “Panajachel, Guatemala, in the Western Highlands near Lake Atitlan.”

Sorry, Daniel. It looks very familiar, and I’m pretty sure there’s an identified specimen of this in the LACM collection that you can check out.
Otherwise, without the hindwing I can’t be positive about anything else, although I think you have the right genus.
Good luck,

Gangamela ira (Druce, 1896).jpg
Gangamela ira (Druce, 1896).jpg

As luck would have it, I think I’ve come close.
This is the original figure of Gangamela ira (Druce, 1896), described from Panama, which, it has been noted, is virtually identical to the figure of Cyanopepla beata Rothschild, 1912, also described from Panama.
At present, the two taxa remain as separate species in separate genera! If they are the same species, then the Druce name would have priority, but that still leaves the proper generic placement in question.
Note that your Guatemalan specimen has much more blue on the inner margin of the forewing, and may, in fact, be something completely different. But this is the closest I can come for now.
Hurray for the bobcat; we’re still waiting to see one here on our property, although we’ve seen them on some local birding walks!

Wow, thank you so much!
I looked through all the pictures I had taken, even the blurry ones, to see if I got a shot of the hindwing but no luck. 🙁
I’ve been blogging about my time in Guate and I think I will post this conversation up as a topic of interest to anyone looking for bug identification.
Thanks again!

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