(MS), in describing the larva of Sphetta apicalis Walker, noted that
Hampson had remarked that the insect may be an aberrant notodontid allied to Cyphanta
Walker. Cyphanta includes two Indian species with green forewings and
pale dull yellow hindwings. The male genitalia show two features that support
placement in the Notodontidae (Holloway, 1983b): deciduous, stellate spicules in
the aedeagus vesica; a strongly sclerotised gnathus or socius arising mainly
from the undus (as in Quadricalcarifera Strand or .Medanella Kiriakoff,
rather than as in genera where the gnathus is divided).
Cyphanta forewing vein M2 is close to M3 at the cell (in notodonts it is
usually close to M1) but the tympanum is facing ventrally, a notodontid
character. Cyphanta is thus best placed in Notodontidae, comb. n.
Sphetta Walker the uncus is similarly opposed by a single gnathus; one
preparation (noctuid slide 14033) has what appears to be minute spine- like
structures in the aedeagus vesica that seem to have been largely lost. The basal
sternite of the male abdomen and the eighth segment arc atypical of the
trifine noctuids with which the genus is currently associated, but would not
appear unusual amongst the Notodontidae. The valve and juxta structure m the
genitalia is also atypical of Noctuidae, though it is not possible to associate
this strongly with any particular notodontid genus. Vein M2 is closest to M3 in
the forewing, but the tympanum faces ventrally as in Cyphanta and
Notodontidae. D.J. Carter (pers. comm.) has examined a blown larva
(Sevastopulo Coll.) of Sphetta and noted characteristic notodontid
chaetotaxy (e.g. MD2 present on Al) and a typically notodontid prothoracic
gland. The evidence points strongly to a more rational placement in the
Notodontidae, comb. n.
In appearance the species show some resemblance to Besida Walker and Blakeia
Kiriakoff in the Notodontidae.
Only Sphetta is represented in Borneo, by a new species described below.
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