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Tiracola plagiata Walker  
Agrotis plagiata
Walker, 1857, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 11: 740.
Agrotis plagifera Walker, 1857, Ibid. 11: 741.

Tiracola plagiata
Walker; Holloway, 1976: 8.

Tiracola plagiata


This and the next species are the largest Bornean hairy-eyed trifines. The description of the new species gives differences between it and plagiata.

Geographical range.
Indo-Australian tropics and subtropics into the Pacific to as far east as Henderson I.

Habitat preference.
The species is found mainly in the lowlands where it is more often concentrated in open habitats.

The Tiracola larva was illustrated by Sugi (1987). It is smooth, with a rather square posterior end, finely mottled dark brown except for the head and prothorax which are red. There are irregular, creamy white patches on the flanks over the most anterior and posterior abdominal segments. Sevastopulo (1946) made a more detailed description. He referred to the lateral blotches as greenish- yellow; in some individuals they may be more extensive, joined by a line of the same colour. He described the body as black, minutely streaked and speckled with grey, the dorsal area tinged olive. The head and legs are red-brown, the latter ringed black. A8 is humped, with a pair of large dorsal warts. The larva has also been described by Piepers & Snellen (1906) and Gardner (1946-1948). There are no indications as to whether these descriptions embrace both Asian species.

The pupa is subterranean in a slight earthen cocoon. The cremaster is a fan of four stout spines, with two more slender ones above.

Host-plants given for plagiata, but which may also involve the next species, (Piepers & Snellen; Sevastopulo; Mathur, 1942; Mathur et al., 1954-1960; Pholboon, 1965; Robinson, 1975; CIE records) are: Agave (Agavaceae); Ageratum, Chromolaena, Emilia (Compositae); Manihot, Ricinus (Euphorbiaceae); Leucaena (Leguminosae); Musa (Musaceae); Piper (Piperaceae); Fagraea (Potaliaceae); Coffea (Rubiaceae); Capsicum, Nicotiana (Solanaceae); Theobroma (Sterculiaceae); Lantana, Tectona (Verbenaceae); Elettaria (Zingiberaceae). The range of diet is probably much wider than this. In Peninsular Malaysia T. plagiata has been reared from Ricinus, an association confirmed from a voucher specimen.

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