The family Noctuidae is at present divided into a number of subfamilies
of widely varying validity. The higher classification is likely to be modified
considerably through the activities of taxonomists over the next few years. The
current higher classification and the history of its development has been
reviewed by Kitching (1984).
This part of the Moths of Borneo series therefore concentrates on
three of the most clearly defined subfamilies in the Quadrifinae. The
Quadrifinae are subfamilies with vein M2 of the hindwing strong, as
distinct from weak or lost as in the Trifinae. The small and probably
polyphyletic subfamily Pantheinae is included for the sake of contrast.
The Euteliinae, with 73 species recorded from Borneo, and the Stictopterinae, with 89 Bornean species, are predominantly tropical, the latter
with a definite centre of richness in the Oriental tropics. The Plusiinae are
more evenly distributed with latitude, the 15 Bornean species comparable in
number with those resident in Britain. The Pantheinae are predominantly
Himalayan montane in their Oriental tropical representation.
There are some interesting host-plant relationships apparent. The
Euteliinae are associated strongly but not exclusively with the Anacardiaceae.
The Stictopterinae have one major lineage associated with the Guttiferae and the
other with indications of a rather unusual, if weak, association with
Dipterocarpaceae. The Plusiinae contain a high proportion of polyphagous
species, many being serious pests of crops.
It soon became obvious that the classification of species within the
Euteliinae and Stictopterinae was extremely unsatisfactory. This meant that, in
order to introduce some stability into the nomenclature of the Bornean fauna,
virtually the whole of the Indo-Australian tropical fauna in these subfamilies
had to be examined, certainly all the generic type-species as established by
Nye (1975), and extensive changes in generic placements made. The Plusiinae
still require this treatment and are at present being studied by Dr I. J.
Kitching of the British Museum (Natural History) (BMNH).
A number of species-complexes were discovered and elucidated and, for
these, complete reviews are presented with discussion and description of
non-Bornean taxa for the convenience of users of the work resident in other
parts of the Indo-Australian tropics. Many species range from India to Melanesia
or have close relatives in those parts, so this account may be of use as a
preliminary identification guide throughout the Indo-Australian tropics.
Most type material was examined, mainly the actual specimens but
occasionally photographs and original illustrations only were consulted in
situations where the diagnosis could be considered unambiguous. Perhaps a
thousand genitalia and venation preparations were made. All male genitalia are
either illustrated here or in Holloway (1976), and many female genitalia are
also illustrated. All holotypes will be deposited in the BMNH.
The synonymies presented for each species do not represent a complete
literature search but have been restricted to original references for the names
concerned and reference to relatively recent complete classifications such as
that for the Euteliinae by Gaede (1937). Many species were included in Holloway
(1976) and Barlow (1982), the works most likely to be available for
identification purposes in south east Asia, so reference is made to these also.
Measurements referred to in the accounts of species are made from the
centre of the thorax to the forewing apex.
The sections on habitat preference are based mainly on recent
quantitative surveys made by the author with light-traps (Holloway 1970, 1976,
1984) and on more qualitative surveys covering a range of habitats in Brunei
made over a period of years by Lt. Col. M.G. Allen, T.W. Harman and associates.
The categorisation of ‘lower montane’ and ‘upper montane’ follows
Holloway (1984), rather than Holloway (1970, 1976) where these terms were used
in a slightly different context when applied to an altitude transect on G.