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Macaria abydata Guenée comb. rev.
Macaria abydata Guenée, 1857, Hist. nat. Insectes, Spec. gen. Lep. 10: 80.
Macaria lataria Walker, 1861, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus. 22: 740, syn. n.
Macaria santaremaria Walker, 1861, Ibid. 23: 917, syn. n.
Macaria adrasata Snellen, 1874, Tijdschr. Ent. 17: 70, syn. n.
    Semiothisa ochrata Warren, 1900, Novit. zool. 7: 206, syn. n.
Chiasmia vagabunda Inoue, 1986, Tinea, 12: 66.

Macaria abydata (Sulawesi)

Macaria abydata Guenée

The species resembles a large, paler Godonela mutabilis Warren but has the hindwing postmedial punctate and the thin, dark marginal line of both wings broken; in mutabilis they are all continuous. The male genitalia are diagnostic.

Taxonomic notes. D.C. Ferguson (in litt.) has suggested that the taxa trientata Herrich-Schäffer and punctolineata Packard may also be synonymous.

Geographical range. The native range of abydata is from N. Argentina to the Caribbean and southern U.S.A. Its introduction and spread in the Pacific over the past two decades has been dramatic, with much in common with the spread of the Leucaena psyllid, Heteropsylla cubana Crawford, including having Leucaena latisiliqua (= glauca, leucocephala) as a host-plant (Muddiman, Hodkinson & Hollis, 1992). Its spread can be summarised as follows (Proc. Hawaii ent. Soc. (1972-86) 21: 137,148,155,305; 23: 127,135; Inoue, loc. cit. and in litt.; material in Bishop Museum; material collected by the author (Sulawesi) or sent to him; material in USNM), with corresponding first records for the psyllid (Muddiman et al., 1992) in parentheses:

1970 Hawaii, now recorded from all the main islands (1984)
1975 Yap, central Micronesia.
1976 Ogasawara (Bonin) Is. (Chichijima, Hahajima)
1977 Saipan I., central Micronesia (1985)
1980 Okinawa
1983 Taiwan
1985 Guam, central Micronesia (1985) Sulawesi (1986)
1986 Tonga (1985)
Fiji (1985)
Ogasawara Is. (Miyakojima)
Luzon, Philippines (1985)
1987 New Caledonia (1985)
Sabah, Malaysia
1988 Western Samoa (1985)
1992 Hong Kong

Habitat preference.
The Bornean material examined consists of three specimens: two specimens were taken at 1200m near Kundasan on the slopes of G. Kinabalu by M C. Herbulot; the third, a melanic form, was taken by Chey Vun Khen in a Gmelina arborea plantation at Brumas, Sabah. In Sulawesi it was only taken in lowland cultivated areas where its leguminous hosts could thrive as weeds (e.g. Mimosa invisa). It is likely to become general to such habitats.

Biology. The larva is a slender, bright green looper with longitudinal pale green to whitish bands (above).

Host-plants noted in Hawaii have been the native Acacia koa and introduced Leucaena latisiliqua (defoliator) and Nephelium litchi (flower feeder). In the Indo-Australian tropics it has been reared from Leucaena (Tonga, Okinawa) and Mimosa invisa (Samoa). In its New World range recorded host-plants (D.C. Ferguson, in litt.) are Acacia farnesiana, Cassia, Sesbania (U.S.A.) Parkinsonia aculeata (Mexico) and Glycine max (Brasil). All these plants are Leguminosae except Nephelium (Sapindaceae).

The Macariini include relatively few widespread species: only Godonela avitusaria Walker (See Godonela avitusaria Walker ) traverses the lines of Wallace and Weber in the Indo-Australian tropics, and no species occurs naturally east of Vanuatu. Dispersal powers are therefore generally poor. However, D.C. Ferguson (in litt.) states that M. abydata appears to disperse annually in the U.S.A, often reaching Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and, occasionally western or central New York. Despite this, it is unlikely that the moth has managed to extend its range so rapidly through the Indo-Australian tropics naturally. The most likely means of dispersal is transport by man as eggs, larvae or pupae on live plant material such as Leucaena cuttings. This must raise serious questions for plant quarantine throughout the region.

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