TYPE(S) ♂ [Democratic Republic of Congo:] N end of Lake Tanganyika, Uravi [Uvira] [MRAC].
Temnora heringi Gehlen, 1931 (STI 17998) was described from an unspecified number of males from “Uravi, am nördlichen Zipfel des Tanganjika-Sees” [Uravi, at the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika]. The species was stated to be close to Temnora iapygoides [misspelled by Gehlen as “japygoides”] from which it differed in the forewing being slenderer, with a slightly more concave outer margin, and minor details of the wing pattern. The genitalia were also similar to those of Temnora iapygoides but differed in the degree of toothing of the dorsal edge of the harpe and most significantly in the shape of the gnathos apex. In Temnora iapygoides, this is asymmetrically bifurcate apically, with a sharp upcurved point on the right side and a shorter blunt point of the left side (as illustrated by Rothschild & Jordan (1903: plate XLIV, fig. 43) (STI 19807) but in Temnora heringi comes to a single, median blunt point.
Kernbach (1962) (STI 18729) suggested that Temnora heringi might be a best placed as a subspecies of Temnora iapygoides. The genitalia of Temora heringi were said to be similar to those of Temnora iapygoides iapygoides and his new subspecies Temnora iapygoides pernix but with a different harpe and gnathos. He considered that Temora heringi might be distinguished from the other two taxa by the paler ground colour, although more specimens would need to be examined to establish this. Kernbach also corrected the spelling of the type locality of Temnora heringi from “Uravi” to “Uvira”.
Subsequently, Carcasson (1968) (STI 17169) synonymized Temnora heringi with Temnora eranga but gave no reasons for doing so. However, examination of the type of Temnora heringi in MRAC (see http://sphingidae.myspecies.info/taxonomy/term/2720/media) shows that it is clearly not conspecific with Temnora eranga, as it lacks the diagnostic cream-coloured markings near the tornus and apex of the forewing upperside that separate that species from Temnora iapygoides. Instead, it is, as suggested by both Gehlen and Kernbach, close to Temnora iapygoides.
Examination of the male genitalia several specimens in the NHMUK suggests that the degree of toothing of the dorsal edge of the harpe is highly variable among individuals of the Temnora iapygoides group and is not indicative of separate species (or subspecies) status. However, the shape of the gnathos apex is consistently different between western and eastern populations. The apex of the gnathos of the type of Pterogon clementsi from Sierra Leone, a second specimen from Sierra Leone, and a specimen from Bafwanubo, nr. Mambasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, are all apically bifurcate, though the precise shape varies slightly. In contrast, a specimen from Amani, Tanzania (as well as a specimen of Temnora iapygoides pernix from Laurenceville, Vumba S.R., Zimbabwe; q.v.) has a gnathos that comes to a single point, as in the type of Temnora heringi.
Furthermore, analysis of DNA barcode data indicates that there is a consistent, though shallow divergence between most specimens of the Temnora iapygoides group from the west and east sides of the Rift Valley, although it is insufficient for them to be allocated to different BINs (both clusters are part of BIN AAC1478). However, taken together with the morphological difference in the gnathos shape and a slightly larger size in the eastern moths, this is here considered sufficient to treat of the Temnora heringi provisionally as a species separate from Temnora iapygoides. Furthermore, members of the two subclusters appear to be sympatric on the Mulanje Massif in southern Malawi and possibly also on the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi.