DNA barcode reveals the occurrence of Palearctic Olepa schleini Witt et al., 2005 (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae) from peninsular India with morphological variations and a new subspecies

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Aparna Sureshchandra Kalawate
Shital Pawara
A. Shabnam
K.P. Dinesh


The present study was taken up to report a new record of the tiger moth genus, Olepa Watson, 1980 from India along with the discovery of a new subspecies.  Earlier  the genus was thought to have restricted distribution range in South and South-East Asia until the report of O. schleini Witt, Müller, Kravchenko, Miller, Hausmann & Speidel from the Mediterranean Coastal Plain of Israel in 2005. The species identification and the new subspecies is proposed based on the combination of morphological studies, available literature comparisons, geographical distribution,  DNA barcoding and its phylogeny. Morphological character crypticity and genital structure variations are well documented in the genus with ‘bio-species’ groups. DNA Barcoding data of mt COI has provided some resolution in sorting the problems of ‘bio-species’ groups of the genus in the past studies. In the present study, with the available  mt DNA COI barcodes and newly generated barcodes genetic identity is confirmed for the species O. ricini, O. schleini, O. toulgoeti and Olepa schleini chandrai ssp. nov., with their phylogenetic relationships. Morphological variations within the O. schleini species complex are discussed with a new record of the species for India and a new subspecies description. With the first mt COI barcode phylogeny for the genus, comments are made on the taxonomic identity of the mt COI DNA barcodes available in the GenBank for the Olepa species from India.


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Author Biographies

Aparna Sureshchandra Kalawate, Zoological Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, Vidya Nagar, Sector-29, P.C.N.T. (PO), Rawet Road, Akurdi, Pune, Maharashtra 411044, India.


Shital Pawara, S.G. Patil Arts, Science & Commerce College, Sakri, Maharashtra 424304, India.

PhD. Student

A. Shabnam, Zoological Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, Vidya Nagar, Sector-29, P.C.N.T. (PO), Rawet Road, Akurdi, Pune, Maharashtra 411044, India.

Research scholar

K.P. Dinesh, Zoological Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, Vidya Nagar, Sector-29, P.C.N.T. (PO), Rawet Road, Akurdi, Pune, Maharashtra 411044, India.



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