Bittacus chilensis Klug, 1838
Diagnosis: This is a very large bittacid with smoky dark spots on the wings, especially at the crossveins. The male epiandrial lobes are relatively short (about as long as basistyles), apically truncate, with numerous stout spines along apical margin. The cerci are short and thin, and proctiger extends dorsally as a gradually expanded lobe. The aedeagus is short, with a simple terminal coil.
Distribution – Geographical: This species is known from about 31° to 34° south latitude in lowland Chile near Santiago. Known elevational records are from about 500 to 900 m.
Distribution – Temporal: Known collecting dates indicate an adult emergence from 25 October until 1 February.
Ecology: In a letter sent by E.C. Reed to R. MacLachlan in 1894, Mr. Reed mentions finding swarms of Bittacus chilensis in caverns. He mentions that they are otherwise quite hard to find (McLachlan, 1894).
Biology: Nothing is known of immature stages or life history.
Notes: This is one of the world’s largest species of bittacids. It is one of only two bittacids known from Chile, and is easily separable from Anabittacus iridipennis by its large size, nebulous dark spots on the wings, and generally translucent wing coloration.
Navás (1908) placed this species into a new genus - Thyridates. This placement was rejected by Esben-Petersen (1921) in his world monograph and this treatment was followed by subsequent authors (Penny & Byers, 1979). Willmann (1989) resurrected the name Thyridates based primarily on the angle of the origin of the radial sector in the forewing and applied it to several South American species in addition to B. chilensis. This concept was subsequently utilized by Collucci & Amorim (2000) for placing several other South American species of Bittacus into Thyridates. Petruleviĉius (2003) then transferred seven African species to Thyridates. Finally, Machado et al. (2009) presented good evidence for retaining B. chilensis within the general concept of Bittacus, and in effect resynonymized Thyridates. There are some strong character states within the genus Bittacus for defining clades, particularly in the male genitalia, that could be used to define more restricted generic concepts, but these do not include B. chilensis.
Collucci, E. and D.S. Amorim.. 2000. Three new species of Thyridates Navás 1908 (Mecoptera, Bittacidae) from Brazil, with new combinations and some comments about relationships within the genus. Contribuições Avulsas de História Natural do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, v. 21, p. 1-8.
Esben-Petersen, P. 1921. Mecoptera. Monographic Revision. Collections Zoologiques du Baron Edm. de Selys Longchamps. Catalogue Systematique et Descriptif. 5:1-172.
Machado, R.J.P., F.S.P. Godoi, and J.A. Rafael. 2009. Neotropical Mecoptera (Insecta): New generic synonymies, new combinations, key to families and genera, and checklist of species. Zootaxa 2148:27-38.
McLachlan, R. 1894. Cave frequenting Habit of Bittacus chilensis. Entomologist's monthly Magazine, (2)5:39.
Navás, L. 1908. Neuropteros nuevos. Memorias de la real Academia de Ciencias y Artes de Barcelona, (3)6:401-423, 29 figs.
Penny, N.D. and G.W. Byers. 1979. A check-list of the Mecoptera of the World. Acta Amazonica, 9(2):365-388.
Petrulevicius, Julian. 2003. Phylogenetic and biogeographicl remarks on Thyridates (Mecoptera: Bittacidae), with the first fossil record of the taxon. Acta zoological Cracoviensia 46(suppl.):257-265.
Willmann, R. 1989. Evolution und Phylogenetisches System der Mecoptera (Insecta: Holometabola). [In German with English summary]. Abhandlungen Senckenb. Naturforsch. Ges., No. 544:1-153.