The references listed at the end of the discussion on larvae, together
with Browne (1968), Pholboon (1965) and unpublished records in a card index
maintained by Lepidoptera specialists of the Commonwealth Institute of
Entomology, are the sources used in this survey of host-plant relationships and
in the discussions of individual species later.
Several interesting patterns or relationships are becoming evident despite the
sparseness of the data.
The majority of species defoliate dicotyledonous trees and shrubs but the Pydna
Walker and Ambadra Moore groups of genera, together with Phalera
combusta Walker (extending from India to Sumatra but not Borneo), feed on
monocotyledons, mainly palms, bamboos and grasses. The streaky fawn, yellow or
red forewing patterns of these groups reflect their feeding habit, paralleling
the adults of other monocot-feeding species in other families such as the Mythimna
and Sesamia groups in the Noctuidae, the crambine Pyralidae, and Psalis
pennatula Fabricius in the Lymantriidae.
Several species are polyphagous over a range of plant families, such as Neostauropus
alternus Walker and the Chadisra species from India. Species of the
genus Phalera tend to be polyphagous but Oriental tropical species are
found more frequently or exclusively (P. javana Moore) on Leguminosae.
A preliminary survey of host-plant relationships in the Indo-Australian
macrolepidoptera has pinpointed a number of genera in other families that are
restricted to Leguminosae such as, in the Ophiderinae (Noctuidae), the genera Lacera
Guenee, Ericeia Walker and Rhesala Walker. The Notodontidae
probably also include legume specialists, most conclusively the Allata Walker
group of genera - Allata, Eguria Matsumura, Rosama Walker (Bell
MS; Gardner 1943, 1946). Besida xylinata Walker has also been recorded
from the family (Pholboon 1965).
Netria viridescens Walker would appear to be restricted to the Sapotaceae, feeding on
several genera of the family such as Mimusops, Madhuca, Sideroxylon (Bell
MS) and Manilkara (CIE records) in India.
The genus Dudusa Walker may prove to be restricted to the Sapindaceae,
with D. synopla Swinhoe recorded from Schleichera in India (Bell
1935, as nobilis Walker), a record from Thailand on Nephelium also
attributed to nobilis (Pholboon 1965) and D. vethi Snellen
recorded from Nephelium in Sumatra and Java (Kalshoven 1981, as nobilis).
The genera Teleclita and Pseudoteleclita have only been
recorded from Terminalia (Combretaceae), in India (Bell MS), the
Philippines (original material of T. cathana Schaus) and Australia (Dodd
1902; Turner 1903). African relatives in Afroplitis, Amyops and Galona
Karsch have similar larvae that feed on Terminalia and Combretum in
the Combretaceae but also on Parinari in the Chrysobalanaceae and guava (Myrtaceae)
(Pinhey 1975). Two chloephorine noctuid genera, Aiteta Walker and Westermannia
Hübner, also appear to be restricted to Terminalia in the
Indo-Australian tropics but this plant genus is host to an unusually large
number of Lepidoptera species, mostly polyphagous ones.
An interesting parallel in host-plant relationships is evident between the Clostera
group of genera and the Cerura group; it is also shown by the
nymphalid butterfly Phalanta phalantha Drury (Corbet & Pendlebury
1978). In the Palaearctic Region the host plants are Salicaceae, especially Salix
and Populus, but in the tropics the majority of hosts are in the
Flacourtiaceae, genera such as Casearia, Flacourtia, Scolopia (in
Australia (Common 1963)) and Xylosma being recorded. In India both plant
families have been noted as hosts and also in Hong-Kong (M. Bascombe in litt.).
Terminalia is also involved in India (Brown 1968). Notocerura spiritalis Distant,
an African member of the Cerura group with a characteristic larva, also
has Flacourtia as a host (Pinhey 1975).
This relationship is less exclusive in Clostera than in the Cerura group.
Records from a few other plant families have been made for the two major species
groups in Clostera that extend into the Palaearctic. In the anachoretafulgurita
group Palaearctic records are from Salicaceae. In India they are from both
families (Browne 1968; Gardner 1943; CIE records) and also from Elaeodendron in
the Celastraceae (Gardner 1943). There are no records from South-east Asia but
the group has been reared from Flacourtiaceae in Hong-Kong (M. Bascombe in
litt.). The anastomosis-restitura group is known from Salicaceae in
the Palaearctic and Hong-Kong, from both families in India but also from Elaeocarpus
(Elaeocarpaceae) there (Sevastopulo 1940). The Melanesian representative of
the group, rubida Druce, has been reared from Terminalia in Papua
New Guinea (CIE records). Southern African Clostera feed on Proteaceae (Pinhey
The two plant families are not taxonomically related according to Willis (1973),
the Flacourtiaceae being linked with families such as the Passifloraceae,
Euphorbiaceae and Tiliaceae rather than the Salicaceae.
There are several host-plant records for the Gargetta group of genera
(Bell MS; Gardner 1943; Bascombe in litt.). Porsica ferreopicta Hampson, P.ingens
Walker and Phycidopsis albovittata Hampson have all been recorded
from Antidesma, Gargetta costigera Walker and G. ?divisa Gaede
from Briedelia, Porsica punctifascia Hampson from Aporusa and Porsica
curvaria Walker from Bischofia. All four plant genera were previously
placed in the Euphorbiaceae but only Briedelia and Aporusa are
still included (Willis 1973). Antidesma is the only genus of the
Stilaginaceae, suggested by Willis to be intermediate between Icacinaceae and
Euphorbiaceae, and Bischofia is likewise unique to its family, the
Bischofiaceae, related by Willis to the Staphyleaceae with a comment that
relationship with the Euphorbiaceae was probably illusory. The association of
the three plant genera in respect of their utilisation by what is probably a
natural group of Lepidoptera might indicate that their taxonomic relationships
should be reexamined.