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Chasmina Walker

Type species: cygnus Walker.

Synonyms: Arbasera Walker (type species candida Walker); Carandana Moore (type species fasciculosa Walker, Indian subregion); Casamba Walker (type species zonata Walker, Brazil); Clinophlebia Hampson (type species sericea Hampson = candida).

Typically this genus (including the synonyms Arbasera and Clinophlebia) consists of large species that are almost pure white except for black marginal dots to the wings and black or brown spots or zones in the labial palps or legs. Hairs of male scent pencils may be of a different colour such as yellow (C. basiflava Holloway) or pale green (C. viridis Robinson).

These species have features of the male genitalia that distinguish them from more patterned congeners (e.g. Carandana; Neotropical Casamba taxa have not been examined) such as loss of a harpe from the valve, shortening of the aedeagus, which is produced ventrally at the apex; the vesica has characteristic features such as a rhomboidal zone of corrugate scobination, a patch of densely packed, deciduous, needle-like spines, and a row of much larger peg-like spines.

In the female genitalia the 8th segment is simple, the ovipositor lobes rather square. The short ductus bursae is centrally sclerotised, this sclerotisation scrolled on each side. The bursa is massive, corrugate, finely scobinate, selerotised over the basal portion, with a convolute appendix bursa arising subbasally and broadening distally into a sac invested with minute, fine spines.

Bell (MS) described the larva of the type species. It is cylindrical, the head nearly as broad as the body. The first two pairs of prolegs are reduced relative to the other two. The surface of the body is smooth, dull, the segments well defined. Primary setae only are present, set on black chalazae, surrounded by white, or, less frequently, on wholly white chalazae. The colour is greyish grass green, with a pure white, longitudinal, lateral band and a much weaker spiracular band; between these bands is often yellowish. There is a weak, dark, pulsating dorsal line, flanked by whitish or yellowish, fine, minutely wavy lines.

The eggs are laid on young, pink leaves of the host-plant. The small larvae are white, active, semi-loopers. They jump off the plant when alarmed, anchored by silk. They rest on the underside of leaves. Pupation is just under the surface of the soil in a strong cocoon of earth lined with silk. The larvae can diapause in the cocoon during dry seasons. Sugi (1987) also noted the larvae were semi-loopers and suggested the genus was misplaced in Amphipyrinae.

The host-plant was Crewia (Tiliaceae).

Bell also described the larva of C. fasciculosa, very differently coloured and marked from that of cygnus, and feeding on Helicteres (Sterculiaceae).

Robinson (1975) recorded C. tibialis Fabricius from Hibiscus (Malvaceae).

The similarity of the species in the 'large white' group has led to some confusion in the literature. The following check list sets out a provisional assessment of the taxa based on material in the BMNH:

Chasmina vestae Guenee Afican
Chasrnina malagasy Viette   Malagasy subredion
Chasmina candida Walker = sericea Hampson Indo-Australian tropics
Chasmina verticata Warren Australia, New Caledonia
Chasmina tibialis Fabricius = dianae Guenee = glabra Walker Australia, New Caledonia
Chasmina sp. slide 3313 Sri Lanka
Chasmina cygnus Walker N.E.Himalaya
Chasmina coremata sp. n Borneo
Chasrnina sp. slide 14220 Java
Chasmina basiflava Holloway New Caledonia
Chasmina viridis Robinson Fiji
Chasmina tibiopunctata Bethune-Baker New Guinea,S.Moluccas
Chasmina nigropunctata Bethune-Baker New Guinea
Chasmina sp. slide 14215 (?celebensis Snellen) Sulawesi
Chasmina sundana sp. n. Borneo, Sumatra, Peninsula Malaysia

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