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Azygophleps Hampson

Type species: scalaris Fabricius.
The distinction between this genus and Phragmataecia Newman is unclear. At the extremes, Azygophleps consists of species with white fore- wings patterned with black striae or reticulations, with larvae boring in Leguminosae (Carter & Deeming 1980), and Phragmataecia consists of species with uniform or slightly spotted or blotched fawn forewings, with larvae boring in the stems of grasses, reeds and rushes.

Typical male genitalia in Phragmataecia have a slender, somewhat curved aedeagus, and the lateral processes (ligulae) of the juxta are short. In Azygophleps scalaris the aedeagus is stout, straight, divided apically into a small dorsal 'jaw' and a larger ventral one half its length, and the ligulae are long. A. nurella Swinhoe and three Indian species, despite having facies comparable with Phragmataecia, have genitalia comparable with those of typical Azygophleps (Holloway 1982a).

A slender, curved aedeagus is somewhat atypical within the Zeuzerinae and might be taken to define at least the typical section of Phragmataecia.

The adoption of Gramineae as larval hosts is unusual in the Zeuzerinae and the uniform fawn forewing patterns, seen also in other Lepidopteran families in association with the grass-feeding habit, may indicate that nurella and the three Indian species are also grass feeders and attributable to Phragmataecia.

On the other hand the elongate ligulae suggest association with Azygophleps, where specialisation in Leguminosae is also unusual amongst the Zeuzerinae (where stem boring by larvae spans a wide range of host families within one species).

The relationship between the two genera, the placement of the species and their biology requires further investigation. At present it would be advisable to retain nurella in the genus of original description, Azygophleps.

A review of biology within the genus, and an account of larval and pupal characters may be found in Carter & Deeming (1980).

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