Xanthodes Guenée

Type species: malvae Esper (= albago Fabricius), Europe.

      All species have satiny primrose‑yellow forewings and yellow to whitish hindwings. The forewings vary amongst them in the relative emphasis of fine, transverse, variably angled orange to brown fasciae and of a central longitudinal wedge of the same colour.

      In the male abdomen, both sclerites of the eighth segment narrow anteriorly, the larger sternite more markedly so to a point, the tergite narrowing to a bilobed pocket. In the genitalia the vinculum is broader than the tegumen to accommodate the broad valve bases, but the tegumen is longer. The valves have an angular inner margin to the sacculus and are divided distally into three, the divisions being deep in the type species but much less so in most other species. The three processes consist of a central spine (possibly the harpe) flanked by two lobes (saccular and costal). The aedeagus is long. The vesica is only moderate in size but is usually complex, with several diverticula; the only ornamentation is a sclerite, sometimes spiny, distally on the main part leading to the ductus ejaculatorius.

      In the female genitalia (albago and transversa Guenée), the eighth segment has a ventral longitudinal dividing groove that extends to the ostium. The ductus bursae is narrow, unsclerotised. The bursa is an irregular pyriform, slightly corrugate and scobinate. A duct as long as the ductus leads from the base of the bursa to a spherical or ovoid, more sparsely but coarsely spined appendix bursae.

      The larvae have the first two pairs of prolegs reduced, with appendiculate crochets on the developed pairs (Gardner 1941, 1946a), and are recorded as feeding mostly, but not exclusively, on Malvaceae and relatives (Robinson et al., 2001).

      The genus is moderately diverse in the Old World tropics, favouring areas with more seasonal climates and extending to semiarid and Mediterranean climate regions on each side of the tropics.

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