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Revista Brasileira de Zoologia

Print version ISSN 0101-8175

Rev. Bras. Zool. vol.19  supl.1 Curitiba July 2002 

A new Sigelgaita Heinrich (Lepidoptera, Pyralidae, Phycitinae) feeding on cacti in Brazil



Ricardo F. MonteiroI; Vitor O. BeckerII

IDepartamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Caixa Postal 68020, 21941-590 Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. E-mail:
IIPesquisador Associado, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade de Brasília. Caixa Postal 04525, 70919-970 Brasília, Distrito Federal. E-mail:




Description and biological aspects of a new species of Sigelgaita Heinrich, 1939, the first known to occur east of the Andes, S. cerei Becker, are presented. S. cerei larvae were collected on "restinga" ecosystems feeding on Pilosocereus arrabidae (Lem.) Byles & Rowl. (Parque Nacional da Restinga de Jurubatiba-Macaé and Área de Proteção Ambiental de Barra de Marica, Rio de Janeiro) and rarely on Cereus obtusus Haw. (PNRJ). Life cycle and behavior of larvae are presented. Larvae are found singly on flower buds, on fruit or more frequently on stem of the plants. They build chambers in the cladodium where they complete their larval development, then droping to the ground in order to pupate. Trichogramma sp. was parasitizing 72% of eggs and a species of braconid was parasitizing half out of ten larvae collected from fruits of Cereus obtusus. S. cerei larvae develop a special role in the colonization and establishment of a diverse fauna associates with the hosts such as insects, spiders and yeasts. Ants, such as Camponotus crassus Mayr, 1862 and C. cingulatus Mayr, 1862 are among the insects which most frequently nest in the chambers abandoned by the larvae of this moth species.

Key Words: Sigelgaita, Pyralidae, Cactaceae, Restinga, insect-plant interaction, Neotropical region



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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We thank P. Ormindo and Rogério Fonseca for their help in drawing and rearing the larvae, respectively and to Moema Becker for correcting the English version. We also thank FAPERJ and CNPq ("Programa de Ecologia de Longa Duração - PELD - e processo 468664/00-9") for the financial support and scholarship and to IBAMA for the license to studyin the "Parque Nacional da Restinga de Jurubatiba".



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Received in 11.III.2002; accepted in 03.VII.2002.

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