Targalla delatrix Guenée
1852, Hist. nat. Insectes, Spec. gen. Lepid. 6: 304,
noctuid slide 11051' hereby designated LECTOTYPE.
Holloway, 1976: 17 (part).
Diagnosis. This species is smaller than the next two and the colour of both wings
is brown rather than grey; the intensity of the discal markings varies as does
that of the basal area of the wing. It is advisable to check determinations by
dissection: the male genitalia are relatively small, the valves square-ended,
their dorsal margins concave, and the aedeagus vesica bears small cornuti only;
in the female the sclerotised basal part of the ductus tapers evenly and
symmetrically, and in the bursa the basal whorl is lightly sclerotised and there
are three equal patches of scobination.
Geographical range. Widespread in the Indo-Australian tropics to Fiji,
and also recorded from Rapa and the Society Is. It is perhaps this species that
flies in Hawaii (Beardsley 1982).
Habitat preference. The species may be more associated with open and
disturbed lowland habitats than its congeners. The only recent Bornean specimen
seen was taken in an agricultural area at Tuaran, Sabah (Holloway 1976).
Biology. Host-plant records for this and the next two species, confused in the
literature, are all from Myrtaceae: Eucalyptus, Eugenia, Myrtus, Syzygium (Sevastopulo
1941; Gardner 1948a; Browne 1968; Robinson 1975; Beardsley 1982; Bell, MS).
Bell's voucher material has been located and is delatrix.
Bell (MS) described something of the larva and its biology. The larva is
somewhat tumid over the thoracic segments. The head is red-orange, marked with
clusters of yellow dots interveined with darker red; the labrum is shining
yellow. The body is translucent, greenish rose pink, the anterior and posterior
two to three segments more brownish; there is a more green tone below the
spiracular level on abdominal segments 1 to 7. There is a dark, irregular dorsal
line, a thin lateral yellow line, and another ‘tracheal’ yellow line passing
through the spiracles. Variants can be more extensively green or more pinkish.
Dimensions at maturity are 27mm by 6mm.
The larva is
sluggish, sitting outstretched on the undersides of young leaves of the
host-plant (Eugenia). Pupation is in the surface of the soil in a strong
cocoon incorporating leaf litter.
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