The genus Leptodeuterocopus Fletcher consists of 9 species worldwide, one species from Indonesia, the rest Neotropical in distribution (Gielis 2003). Leptodeuterocopus neales (Walsingham) is distributed widely in the Neotropics. Previously published records are from Mexico and Ecuador. Walsingham’s (1915) description of Oxyptilus neales is based on 2 specimens from Mexico. The type, listed by Walsingham as “♀ (67135, Teapa) Mus. Wlsm. (Godm-Salv. Coll.) BM,” is from Teapa, Tabasco. The other specimen is from Atoyac, Vera Cruz. These specimens were collected in March and April respectively by H. H. Smith. The day and year is not specified in the description.
Two specimens have been identified from Florida. The first is a male collected at UV blacklight by J. B. Heppner, 29 April 1978, Dade Co.: Chekika State Recreation Area (Grossman Hammock) [FSCA] (Fig. 1). We have compared the male genitalia of this specimen (Slide DM 334) (Fig. 2) with a male from Mexico: Vera Cruz: Atoyac IV.18?? H. H. Smith, Slide CG 5059 [BMNH] as basis for the determination. The second specimen was retrieved from a CO2 mosquito trap by R. A. Belmont, 10-25 June 1992, Collier Co.: Naples [DMC]. The second specimen is missing the lower abdominal segments but is recognizable by wing maculation. On first examination, specimens of L. neales may be mistaken for a common South Florida species, Sphenarches anisodactylus (Walker). The wingspan of S. anisodactylus is 12.0-18.0 mm (Matthews 1989), while that of L. neales is about 9.0-11.0 mm. The forewing of L. neales has a distinct pale band across the basal third of each lobe, contrasting the coppery base color. In S. anisodactylus, this pale band is narrower and does not extend to the cleft base. Unlike the type species, Leptodeuterocopus citrogaster Fletcher, there is no second cleft apparent on the second forewing lobe of L. neales.
The life history of L. neales is unknown. The subfamily Deuterocopinae includes 27 species worldwide. Of the 4 genera, Leptodeuterocopus, Hexadactilia, Heptaloba, and Deuterocopus, larval hosts are only known for 6 species of Deuterocopus, all feeding on species of Vitaceae. The localities for both Florida specimens are well within the subtropical zone. The location of the first specimen, Chekika State Recreation Area (Grossman Hammock), is now part of Everglades National Park. This hammock is situated on a slightly elevated rocky ridge in an area known as “rocky glades” or “East Everglades” (Snyder et al. 1990). The second specimen was from a mosquito control monitoring trap set up next to a mangrove swamp in Naples.
We thank Dr. John B. Heppner and Robert A. Belmont for making the specimens available for study. Material examined is from the British Museum of Natural History (BMNH), Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA), and the first author’s collection.