View Image Gallery of Subfamily Acronictinae

This subfamily was grouped tentatively with the Pantheinae by Kitching (1984) on the grounds of possession of secondary setae on the larval trunk. The Pantheinae are defined also by possession of hairy eyes in conjunction with quadrifine hindwing venation. The Bornean pantheines were described by Holloway (1985) who suggested the subfamily might be paraphyletic. The genera Trichosea Grote and Elydnodes Hampson, both represented in S.E. Asia, have features suggesting affinity with the trifines generally (basal hair pencils in Elydnodes) or the Acronictinae specifically (larval features in Trichosea (Gardner, 1946-1948)). Holloway noted the male genitalia of Trichosea to share features with the Acronicta group as will be discussed for A. rubiginosa Walker below, but both taxa lack trifine hair pencils at the base of the male abdomen, and rubiginosa and close allies lack the central corema of the eighth sternite seen in male Trichosea.

None of the Bornean genera currently placed in this subfamily have trifine hair pencils, but all have the apodemes of the basal abdominal sternite relatively close together and convergent; the male eighth sternite always has lateral rods. Many have a greyish, cryptic forewing facies with black basal and subtornal streaks that also characterises, but is not unique to, the subfamily. There is a tendency for the ovipositor lobes to be modified into a setose ring (e.g. Fig. 149), and for the aedeagus vesica to be heavily invested with cornuti. Further investigation is needed to clarify the characteristics defining this group and its composition. The larvae of Craniophora Snellen and other Oleaceae feeding genera have the primary setae well developed but lack the secondary setae usually associated with the group (Sugi, 1987), yet in facies the adult appears to be very close to the Acronicta complex.

Sugi (1987 and in Inoue et al. (1982)) included Belciades Kozhanchikov, usually associated with the Oriental quadrifine Belciana Walker/Donda Moore complex, and also Cymatophoropsis Hampson in the Acronictinae on the basis of larval features. This association may be premature given that we know so little of the early stages of so many quadrifine taxa, and so these taxa will be treated with other quadrifine groups in this series. The species viridipicta Hampson and thoracica Moore, currently wrongly associated with Ancara Walker (p. 149), also belong to the Belciana complex and will be discussed in conjunction with it.

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