Type species: monacha Linnaeus, Europe.
Synonyms: Barhona Moore (type species carneola Moore = lepcha
Moore); Enome Walker (type species ampla Walker, Sri Lanka,
India); Erasta Gistl (type species monacha); Hypogymna Billberg
(type species dispar Linnaeus, Europe); Nagunda Moore (type
species semicincta Walker, India); Pegella Walker (type species curvifera
Walker, Philippines); Porthetria Hübner (type species dispar);
Psilura Stephens (type species monacha); Sericaria Berthold (type
Apart from general similarities in facies, the feature that most clearly
defines this large and varied genus is the extensile nature of the female
ovipositor that, with the eighth segment structures, is as long or longer than
the ductus and bursa combined. The extended zone is mainly within the membrane
between the ovipositor lobes and the eighth segment.
The facies of the forewing consists of variations on a theme of a series
of zig-zag fasciae, lunulate or arcuate in the spaces, distally acute on the
veins. There is a distinctive V-shaped mark in the discal position at the end of
the forewing cell, with a dot basal to it in the 'orbicular stigma' position just
distal to the antemedial. In females the fasciae are often weaker or fused into
more solid bands. In both sexes the forewing can be suffused with a more general
dark irroration, obscuring the fasciae. The hindwing is usually uniform, though
often with a diffusely darker border.
The male abdomen has tymbals. The genitalia in typical species
(including the Bornean species with white males) have the uncus triangular,
tapering, without a gnathus. The saccus is of similar development. The valves
are undivided, with the costal apex acutely produced, and the saccular margin
rounded to obtusely angled. Other species groups in Borneo can be defined on
male genitalic characters as follows:
The beatrix Stoll group (beatrix Stoll, capnodes Collenette),
with distinct dorsal and ventral arms to the valves;
The strigata Aurivillius group (sexspinae Holloway to kobesi
Schintlmeister), with the valves divided distally into two spine-like
processes, sometimes equal in length but often unequal;
The kinta Collenette group (kinta and species following),
with elongate, narrow genitalia, each valve a single, slender spine.
There are also two Bornean species that fall within none of these
groups: L. panthera van Eecke, with a curled apical spine to the valve,
socii ventral to the uncus, a long, narrow saccus, and a
very long, slender aedeagus; minora van Eecke, with valves as in the beatrix
group, but with the addition of lateral, anterior digitate processes from
the tegumen. L. minora is related to L. mathura Moore and L.
viola Swinhoe from India, L. grandis Walker from Sri Lanka, and
possibly to species in New Guinea such as L. flavoneura Joicey. L.
panthera is also related to a New Guinea species, L. ekeikei Bethune-Baker.
The female genitalia have already been mentioned. The signum, when it
occurs (e.g. in the kinta group), is bicornute, lateral in the bursa.
Larvae of several Indian species were described and keyed by Gardner
(1938); those of the European species were described by Carter (1984). The
supraspiracular and postspiracular abdominal verrucae are both large and
contiguous as in Leucomini (as distinct from disparate and separate as in
Orgyiini and Nygmiini, or both small and well separate as in Arctornithini).
However, the larvae resemble the Arctornithini in having the subspiracular and
supraventral abdominal verrucae close, and approaching a horizontal arrangement,
a feature used by Gardner in his generic key. The setae on the dorsal verrucae
are usually needle-like or spine-like.
The genus is diverse in the Indo-Australian tropics and eastern Asian
subtropics, extending more weakly into temperate latitudes. A few species have
been introduced to N. America, most notoriously the gipsy moth, L. dispar Linnaeus.
There is moderate diversity also in Africa. The Palaearctic and mainland
Oriental species are currently being revised by D.C. Ferguson.
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