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Aegilia describens Walker comb. rev.  
Aegilia describens
Walker, 1857, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus. 13: 1139.
Lophoptera xylinata Walker, 1865, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus. 33: 920.
Stictoptera anisoptera Snellen, 1880, Tijdschr. Ent. 23: 88.
Stictoptera anca Swinhoe, 1919, Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (9), 4: 120.

Aegilia describens

Aegilia describens

See Aegilia sundascribens sp. n.; the same range of variability is exhibited.

Taxonomic notes. The series in the BMNH attributed to describens proved on closer examination to be a complex, members of which were distinguished mainly by characters of male and female genitalia. Most have a more sinuous pale submarginal line at the forewing tornus than describens, as in the next species. They all appear to exhibit the same range of variability. The complex is another good example of a widespread allopatric group, with the exception of overlap by describens from the west (Fig. 14). Brief descriptions of the component species are therefore presented below:

Aegilia papuascribens sp. n. In the male genitalia the socii are bilobed, the valves as in Fig. 177, the irregularly lobed harpe being diagnostic; the aedeagus vesica has rows of cornuti as in describens but these are larger, more massive (Fig. 173).The female genitalia are as in Fig. 184 (slide 11245).

Hydrographer Mts., Brit. N[EW] G[UINEA], 2500ft., April 1918 (Eichhorn Bros.) BM noctuid slide 11237. The species is found widely in New Guinea and also Ceram (slide 11247).

Aegilia vitiscribens sp. n. The hyaline area of the hindwing is reduced compared with other members of the complex except hepatica Rebel. The cornuti of the aedeagus (Fig. 172) are much larger than in describens though smaller than in papuascribens and less regular in size and arrangement. The basal processes of the valve costa are relatively slender, incurved, and the harpe lacks a basal process and is distally longer compared to that of describens (Fig. 178). The female genitalia are as shown in Fig. 185 (slide 11238). Holotype : Fiji, Suva, 1955 (H.W. Simmonds), BM noctuid slide 11226. The species is only known from Fiji and is that referred to as describens by Robinson (1975).

Figure 14. Distribution of species of Aegilia. 1. A. describens, 2. A. sundascribens, 3. A. indescribens, 4. A. papuascribens, 5. A. vitiscribens, 6. A. hepatica, 7. A. caledoscribens, 8. A. vanuatscribens.

Aegilia caledoscribens sp. n. This is only known from two females (Holloway, 1979), relatively large with extensive hyaline areas to the hindwing, one of the typical form and one akin to ab. atrimaculata Strand (cf. variability discussed for sundascribens below). The female genitalia are as in Fig. 186, the bilobed lamella antevaginalis (seen at the base of the ductus) being diagnostic. Holotype  NEW CALEDONIA, Grand Lac, 250m, Site 2L, 06975/75356 (J.D. Holloway) 9.8.1971, BM noctuid slide 11244.

Aegilia vanuatscribens sp. n. This is known from a single female of typical form with genitalia as in Fig. 187; the short zone of sclerotisation of the ductus bursae and the modification of the 9th segment are diagnostic. Holotype New Hebrides [VANUATU] Erromango I., Nouankoa R. Camp, 3-6.viii.1971 (G.S. Robinson) Roy. Soc. Expedition, BM noctuid slide 11243.

Aegilia hepatica Rebel flies in Samoa and has a more fawn tone to the forewings. The basal process of the valve costa is as in vitiscribens, the harpe distally prominently bifid (Fig. 179), and the aedeagus vesica spining (Fig. 180) much as in describens.

Aegilia indescribens
Prout (Sulawesi, Ceram, New Guinea) has a somewhat different range of forewing pattern forms, a slender basal process to the valve costa, a basal, slender, ampullate harpe, no socii to the tegumen and, in the aedeagus vesica, a single moderate slender cornutus opposing a row of three that increase in size distad. The species is probably sister to the describens group. It has recently been noted from the Solomons (not shown in Fig. 14).

Geographical range (describens). Oriental tropics to New Guinea, the Bismarck Is. and Queensland; also on Christmas I. in the Indian Ocean.

Habitat preference. The only Bornean specimens seen were two from Karaman I., south west of Labuan, and two females from dry heath forest at Telisai, Brunei. The species may well be restricted to drier, open habitats in the lowlands.

Biology. The life history in India has been described by Bell (MS). The larva differs from those of Stictoptera in that it is not so swollen from the mesothoracic segment to the second abdominal segment into a distinctive 'berry' shape. The colour is medium grass-green with a distinct, 'pulsating' dark greenish dorsal line, and a brownish, faint, lateral line extending to the dorsolateral area and broken into chevrons on each segment with the apex of each chevron pointing dorsad to give a zig-zag effect; there are also indications of distinct, straight, but interrupted and often faint, brown spiracular and supraspiracular bands. The spiracles are orange divided by black. At maturity the larva is approximately 33mm long and 5mm broad.

The habits are as in Stictoptera cucullioides, the larva feeding on young leaves and pupating in the soil in a roomy earth and silk cocoon. The pupal stage lasts about two weeks.

The Indian host-plant is Mesua ferrea (Guttiferae).

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