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Problepsis Lederer

Type species: ocellata Frivaldsky. E. Mediterranean.

Synonyms: Caloptera Frivaldsky (type species ocellata; praeocc.); Argyris Guenée (type species ommatophoraria Guenée = ocellata); Problepsiodes Warren (type species conjunctiva Warren, Sikkim).

This genus has a diagnostic facies of ocellate discal markings and various other fasciae on a white or grey ground. The male antennae are bipectinate almost to the apex, those of the female filiform. The male hind-leg is reduced as in other genera, with a tibial hair pencil.

The male abdomen has the pouch of the second sternite moderate to small. The tympanic bullae are large, often somewhat bilobed over their posterior surface. The eighth sternite is small, narrow, without cerata. Its anterior margin has a trilobed 'wing-nut' form. The subscaphium forms a 'pseudo-uncus' that is entire, often setose. The interior margin of the tegumen usually bears at least some short, robust spines. The valves are deeply bifid, each arm being long, narrow, acute.

The signum of the bursa copulatrix is typical of the tribe but small relative to the size of the bursa.

Bell described the larva of a S. Indian species, possibly P. deliaria Guenée. It is long, thin, cylindrical, tapering slightly towards the anterior, a light olive-green, suffused strongly with greyish brown throughout such that this colour predominates. The dorsal part of T2 is black. There are faint subdorsal, lateral and supraspiracular pale lines along the length. There is a dorsoventral fold the length of the body and transverse folds across each segment.

The larva rests at 45 degrees from the substrate, usually the mid-rib of a leaf, stretched out from the prolegs. Those of Japanese species illustrated by Sugi (1987) have the head, thorax and true legs bunched together, forming a slight club at the apex of the stick-like posture. Pupation is in a loose cocoon incorporating particles of earth, usually on the soil surface.

All host-plant records are from the Oleaceae. Bell (above) recorded Olea, Sugi (1987) noted six Japanese species as feeding on Ligustrum, and Singh (1957) an Indian species on Jasminum.

The genus is found throughout the Old World tropics and subtropics, extending weakly into the Palaearctic Region. Its relationship to Somatina Guenée requires resolution, but Problepsis is the older name. Somatina species show greater diversity of pattern but lack the prominent discal ocellar markings. Somatina does occur in the Indo-Australian tropics but has not been recorded from Borneo. Its species appear to be more frequent in areas with a pronounced dry season.

The type species of Somatina, the tropical Asian S. anthophilata Guenée, lacks the male abdominal features stated above to be diagnostic for Problepsis. The tegumen distally resembles that of Scopula Schrank more, though the socii flanking the anal tube are relatively short. The valves show strong bilateral asymmetry. There are small lateral pouches between sternites 3 and 4 that are not seen in Problepsis.

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