Type species: javana Cramer.
Synonyms: Aganais Boisduval (type species caricae Fabricius);
Aspa Walker (praeocc., type species heliconia Linnaeus); Damalis
Hübner (praeocc., type species caricae); Euimata Billberg
(type species alciphron Cramer = caricae); Hypsa Hübner (type
species silvandra Stoll = heliconia Linnaeus); Lacides Walker
(type species ficus Fabricius, India); Petalia Walker praeocc.,
type species plagiata Walker, Australia); Psephea Billberg
(type species caricae Fabricius); Pseudhypsa Kirby (type species speciosa
Drury, Sierra Leone).
Though this genus has been split into several by some authors (e.g.
Inoue et al. (1982) who recognised Psephea and Lacides as
distinct), there is an apomorphic feature that unites all the taxa: a small oval
orange-yellow patch of scent scales anterior to the centre of the hindwing
subcosta on the upperside in males. Antennal pectinations are present in males
of most species, and particularly strongly developed in A. kinabaluensis Rothschild.
They are very small in A. paphos Fabricius and absent in A. heliconia Linnaeus,
A. plana Walker and allies. The numerous species included show great
variety of colour and patterning.
The male genitalia have the valves simple, elongate, expanding gently to
a rounded apex, and usually with a single, relatively basal harpe at the distal
end of the sacculus. The aedeagus is normally short, broad, the vesica large,
not usually complex, and bearing a small group of cornuti or a single cornutus.
The coremata of the eighth segment are usually small, particularly the lateral
The female genitalia are generally as in other members of the group but
the ductus bursae is not sclerotised basally, and if signa are present in the
bursa, they are not scobinate bands, more circular in shape.
The larvae of members of the genus (Bell (MS) described several Indian
species) tend to be black with yellow or orange bands ringing each segment
posteriorly, and with the anterior part of the thorax entirely this paler colour;
others are more completely orange or ochreous, with longitudinal pale and dark
stripes, and lateral transverse markings; others are black with pale
The eggs are laid in batches, often with hair scales from the female,
and the larvae remain gregarious until mature, or until the final instar.
The majority of species feed as larvae on Ficus (Moraceae).
Several are mentioned below, and Bell (MS) recorded several of the Indian
species from this genus.
The genus is most diverse in the Indo-Australian tropics but also
extends across the Indian Ocean to the Afrotropical Region.
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