View Image Gallery of Subfamily Arctiinae

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.).

Baroa Walker 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.

>>Forward <<Return to Contents page

Copyright © Southdene Sdn. Bhd. All rights reserved.