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Gonodontis clelia Cramer
Phalaena delia Cramer, 1780, Uitl. Kapell. 3:172.
Orsonoba rajada Walker, 1860, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 20: 219.

Gonodontis clelia

Gonodontis clelia

In Borneo, the male of clelia is a uniform reddish tint rather than pale cream marked with grey and ochre-yellow as in G. pallida Butler. The females are much more similar but also generally redder in clelia. In the male genitalia the processes of the tegumen are longer and slightly more delicate in pallida. The aedeagus apex is strongly spined in clelia but only weakly so in pallida. In the aedeagus vesica clelia has a scattering of about six small peg-like cornuti, whereas pallida has two or three larger cylindrical ones with several distal cusps, and often a few smaller ones. Xylinophylla species can be distinguished readily in the male by the ciliate (other than bipectinate) antennae, and in the female by the straight fasciae cutting off the irregular margin of the hindwing.

Geographical range. Sri Lanka, S. India, Andamans, Singapore, Borneo.

Habitat preference. A series was taken by Major Tim Helps in an extensive area of mangrove in the Bay of Brunei. No other Bornean material has been located.

Biology. The early stages were described by Bell (MS). The larva is cylindrical, slender, tapering from T3 to the head and being thickest at A9. It is a light, rather ochreous brown when mature, with a large dark brown, saddle-like patch on AS, extending forward to the dorsolateral chalazae of A4; the venter is darker. The setae are set on chalazae, the dorsolaterals of A2 more prominent than the rest and set on erectile fleshy ovoid bags. Smaller bags occur on A3 and A4. In the second instars these processes are most prominent, equal in size, on A2 and A3, orange with a yellow tip, contrasting with the rest of the larva which is velvety black. They are about as high as the body is broad. Setae and chalazae in the first instar are white, but change to black in later instars. Subsequent instars resemble the mature larva. The larva is illustrated by Murphy (1990).

The larva at rest holds itself at 45 degrees to the stem, petiole or leaf edge which it grasps with its claspers. Early instars will fall off the host-plant if alarmed, suspended on a silken thread. Pupation is in a cocoon incorporating particles of substrate. It occurs in a crevice or other secluded place.

The adult resting posture was noted as unusual by Bell. The body only touches the substrate posteriorly, with the thorax raised by the front legs. Each hindwing is spread out horizontally with the dorsum touching the body, so that the plane of the wings is oblique, following the line of the body. The forewings are also held out horizontally but longitudinally downflexed centrally such that anterior and posterior margins are directed upwards at an angle of 100 degrees to each other. The angle between the forewing dorsum and the hindwing costa is also 100 degrees so the wings are well separated. The insect thus resembles a withered dead leaf. The wings are fanned slowly up and down if the moth is alarmed.

The eggs are laid in small crevices in any substrate. The long, narrow structure of the ovipositor lobes is consistent with this.

Host-plants recorded were Eugenia (Myrtaceae), Olea (Oleaceae) and Ricinus (Euphorbiaceae). The species has also been reared from Sonneratia alba (Sonneratiaceae), Aegiceras (Myrsinaceae), Avicennia (Avicenniaceae), and Allophylus (Sapindaceae) in mangrove in Singapore by Murphy (1990) and from Excoecaria (Euphorbiaceae) in the Andamans.

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