The higher classification of the Arctiinae is at present most
unsatisfactory. At one extreme Arora & Chaudhury (1983), working on the
Indian fauna, divided the genera included in this section amongst five
subfamilies, excluding Arctiinae. They are Callimorphinae, Nyctemerinae,
Micrarctiinae, Rhodogastriinae and Spilosominae. They followed the systems of
Seitz (1910) and Daniel (1943), and the inclusion of Rhodogastriinae follows
Kiriakoff (1950). Utetheisa Hubner and Argina Hubner are included
in the Micrarctiinae, based on Micrarctia Seitz, the type species of
which, trigona Leech, shows no features in common with those genera
(though females have not been dissected).
Forbes (1960) recognised four tribes in the N. American fauna:
Phaegopterini, Arctiini, Utetheisini and Callimorphini.
Freina & Witt (1987) split Palaearctic arctiines amongst the
subfamilies Arctiinae, Callimorphinae and Nyctemerinae, placing Utetheisa in
the second and Argina in the last.
At the other extreme, Watson & Goodger (1986) placed the Neotropical
Arctiinae in three tribes: Phaegopterini, Arctiini and Callimorphini. They
included Utetheisa in the Callimorphini.
Kiriakoff (1950), in erecting his Rhodogastriinae on the basis of
tympanal organ characteristics, suggested the group was distantly related to the
Phaegopterini, but closer to them than to the Arctiini/Spilosomini/Callimorphini
group. The identity of the genus Rhodogastria has been misinterpreted in
the past (Amerila
Walker (Rhodogastria auctorum)), it being based on an African species in the Spilosoma complex.
Therefore Rhodogastriinae(i) is synonymous with Spilosomini at least, and the Amerila
Walker group that Kiriakoff studied is best placed with the Phaegopterini.
The remaining Bornean genera fall into a number of groupings. Spilosoma
Curtis, Lemyra Walker, Areas Walker, Aethalida Walker
and Creatonotos Hübner show several similarities in the male abdomen that
would justify their inclusion together in the Spilosomini: modification
of the male eighth sternite into three sclerites and/or strong development of
basal coremata within it; a simple valve, often two or three lobed; a broad
triangular uncus, with a collar of sclerotisation anterior to it where the
intersegmental membrane joins the tegumen. These features may well be definitive
for the Arctiini (A. Watson, pers. comm.).
shows unusual features of male and female genitalia that appear to associate it
with the Madagascan genus Axiopoeniella Strand. These two genera may not
be arctiids. (see Baroa siamica Hampson)
Tinoliodes Wileman also has unusual features of male and female genitalia but
shares the stalking of hindwing veins Rs and M1 with Nyctemera Hübner.
Until the higher taxa within the Arctiinae can be defined in terms of
apomorphic characteristics, the assignment of genera other than the type genera
to them cannot be much more than guesswork. Therefore, in the systematic section
following, no attempt has been made to group the genera in tribes; though shared
features (e.g. of Utetheisa and Argina) are noted.
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