DNA barcodes provided the first clue to Venada lamella Burns, new species. This is the fifth species of the panneotropical but formerly monotypic genus Venada to be discovered on Volcán Cacao, a small volcano in Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) in northwestern Costa Rica. Two adult females of this skipper butterfly were reared from caterpillars feeding on a species of Ocotea (Lauraceae). The skipper's ACG congeners have been reared in large numbers and found to eat plants not only in Ocotea but also in five other lauraceous genera. One adult male of V. lamella was taken at black light on adjacent Volcán Orosí. Barcodes clearly associate the sexes and widely separate all five species of Venada in a neighbor-joining tree. Interspecific barcode differences range from about 4.5% to about 8.3%. Traditional taxonomic characters (facies, male and female genitalia) distinguish V. lamella from its congeners and reinforce the barcode data. Since V. lamella inhabits rainforest, and its congeners in ACG inhabit rainforest and cloud forest, and since genus Venada is panneotropical, it probably comprises many more species than are currently recognized. Although five species have been described from a limited area within ACG, their geographic distributions are undoubtedly more extensive.
Area de Conservación Guanacaste
genitalia (male and female)