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Atacira barlowi sp. n.  

Atacira barlowi

12-13mm. The forewing ground colour is rich ochreous fawn, marked with dark brown as illustrated. The species is close in facies to melanephra Hampson (India, Sri Lanka) but differs in having a more ochreous ground colour, a dark brown band between medial and postmedial, and a brown shade at the marginal angle as well as at the tornus.

Holotype . Genting Tea Estate, 2000ft, W. Pahang, MALAYSIA (H.S. Barlow) 5.7.78.

Paratype . As holotype but 17.5.78.

Geographical range. Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo.

Habitat preference. The single Bornean specimen was taken at Ulu Temburong, Brunei, at 300m in hill dipterocarp forest.

Biology. Bell (MS) described some of the life history of the related Indian species, melanephra. The larva lives in a thin silk net into which fine particles of leaf have been incorporated, creating a hump in the middle of the back and at the anal end. The head is shining black, orange and white. The body is dark vinous purple or red, with greyish marbling that is concentrated somewhat in longitudinal bands. The prolegs are distinctively lobed, the lobes being white. The ventrum is yellowish. The dimensions at maturity are approximately 18mm by 3.5mm.

The larva rests on the bark when not feeding and is well camouflaged by the browned leaf particles in its coat. It chews the leaf into long curved strips to make the particles for the coat. The larva burrows into rotten wood to pupate, utilising its coat as a cocoon.

The host plant is Ficus (Moraceae), but another similar larva, not reared through, was found on Odina (Anacardiaceae).

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