(1984) listed no definitive apomorphies for the Noctuinae, reviewing the
literature on both adults and immatures. The group has traditionally been
recognised by possession of spined hind tibiae. The lability
of tibial spining has been demonstrated by Matthews (1988) in his study of the
Heliothinae. The only feature with any potential for defining the group is in
the resting posture: the wings of each side are held in the same plane rather
than at an angle to each other forming a roof (Holloway, Bradley & Carter,
1987: 165). The trifine hair pencil is usually absent (Birch, 1979).
genera currently placed in the subfamily include many cutworm crop pests, e.g.
in Agrotis Ochsenheimer and Euxoa Hubner. The larvae tend to
be polyphagous on herbaceous angiosperms. This association with herbaceous
plants is correlated with the biogeography of the group. Most genera are
Holarctic, often with Himalayan centres of diversity, but some extend through
the mountains of the tropics to south-temperate localities. Thus in Borneo the
group is predominantly montane.
from the genera discussed below, there is only one other genus of noctuinae known
from the Indo-Australian tropical mountains. Axylia Hubner includes two
species very similar in external appearance to the Palaearctic type species,
putris Linnaeus, namely triseriata Moore (India, Java), the
closely related or conspecific mundipennis Warren (Luzon) and a further
taxon (slide 12957) in Sulawesi.
extensive sample of the western Chinese fauna was monographed by Boursin
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