This subfamily was grouped tentatively with the Pantheinae by Kitching (1984) on
the grounds of possession of secondary setae on the larval trunk. The Pantheinae
are defined also by possession of hairy eyes in conjunction with quadrifine
hindwing venation. The Bornean pantheines were described by Holloway (1985) who
suggested the subfamily might be paraphyletic. The genera Trichosea Grote
and Elydnodes Hampson, both represented in S.E. Asia, have features
suggesting affinity with the trifines generally (basal hair pencils in Elydnodes)
or the Acronictinae specifically (larval features in Trichosea (Gardner,
1946-1948)). Holloway noted the male genitalia of Trichosea to share
features with the Acronicta group as will be discussed for A.
rubiginosa Walker below, but both taxa lack trifine hair pencils at the base
of the male abdomen, and rubiginosa and close allies lack the central
corema of the eighth sternite seen in male Trichosea.
None of the Bornean genera currently placed in this subfamily have trifine hair
pencils, but all have the apodemes of the basal abdominal sternite relatively
close together and convergent; the male eighth sternite always has lateral rods.
Many have a greyish, cryptic forewing facies with black basal and subtornal
streaks that also characterises, but is not unique to, the subfamily. There is a
tendency for the ovipositor lobes to be modified into a setose ring (e.g. Fig.
149), and for the aedeagus vesica to be heavily invested with cornuti. Further
investigation is needed to clarify the characteristics defining this group and
its composition. The larvae of Craniophora Snellen and other Oleaceae
feeding genera have the primary setae well developed but lack the secondary
setae usually associated with the group (Sugi, 1987), yet in facies the adult
appears to be very close to the Acronicta complex.
Sugi (1987 and in Inoue et al. (1982)) included Belciades Kozhanchikov,
usually associated with the Oriental quadrifine Belciana Walker/Donda
Moore complex, and also Cymatophoropsis Hampson in the Acronictinae on
the basis of larval features. This association may be premature given that we
know so little of the early stages of so many quadrifine taxa, and so these taxa
will be treated with other quadrifine groups in this series. The species viridipicta
Hampson and thoracica Moore, currently wrongly associated with Ancara
Walker (p. 149), also belong to the Belciana complex and will be
discussed in conjunction with it.
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