Westermannia superba Hübner
Westermannia superba Hübner, 1823, Zutrage Samml. exot. Schmett.: 23.
Guenée, 1852, Noct., 2: 386.
Hampson, 1912, Cat. Lepid. Phalaenae Br. Mus., 11: 606.
Westermannia superba Hübner; Kobes, 1997: 59.
Diagnosis. The first three species are very similar in their white, silver and
grey forewing pattern.
Hampson is the largest, with the pattern, particularly the medial element, more
oblique and angled and also the least contrasted. The Sundanian race of W.
elliptica Bryk has the greatest contrast in the pattern, the more elliptical
medial elements being more closely outlined in white, surrounded by an area of
more bluish grey.
Taxonomic note. Kobes (1997) described a sibling species to superba,
Kobes, that is distinguished by a bright buff thorax and differences in the
number of cornuti in the aedeagus vesica. It was noted during dissection of
superba material that the bundle of rather stellate, slender cornuti in the
vesica was deciduous, and that these cornuti would be found in the bursa of the
female (e.g. Fig 484). Females from Borneo and Palawan dissected had cornuti in
the bursa typical of superba.
Geographical range. Indian Subregion, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, Palawan.
Habitat preference. The only Bornean material seen is female, consisting of
single specimens from Samarinda in Kalimantan and from Sarawak without precise
Biology. Bell (MS) described the larva and pupa in India. The larva is like
that of argentea
Hampson in shape and colour, but with a pair of yellow spots at the
centre of the dorsum of each segment, often linked across by a curved line, like
spectacles, and the body is generally more speckled with yellow.
The pupa is also similar. The posterior segment of the abdomen has the anterior
margin raised and beaded with longitudinal-linear teeth, 24 or so over the
dorsal zone, extending ventrally to the spiracles. Pupation is in a similar
cocoon to that of argentea. The pupa sets up a shivering noise when the
cocoon is touched.
Larval behaviour and host-plants are as for argentea, but the larva was
recorded from Lagerstroemia (Lythraceae) as well as Terminalia (Combretaceae).
Gardner (1948a) added Anogeissus (Combretaceae).
to Content Page