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Savoca divitalis Walker comb. n.  
Gyrtona divitalis
Walker, 1863, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus. 27: 91.

Savoca divitalis

The forewing of this species is a dark, relatively uniform grey with a distinctively dark subbasal zone. It is best distinguished by the male genitalia from similar species, such as the next three: S. yucca has an uncus without a ventral lobe; in S. conglobalis the uncus is apically swollen, the ventral lobe being short and broad, there is a lobe subbasally on the valve costa, and the aedeagus has a distinctive lateral flange; in S. chlorograpta the ventral lobe of the uncus is almost set at right angles, not adjacent. In the female genitalia S. yucca has lateral coremata between segments 9 and 10 and an entire, thorn-like ridge of sclerotisation as a signum; S. conglobalis has no signum but has a rectangular, expanded portion at the base of the ductus bursae.

Taxonomic notes. S. divitalis
occurs throughout the Indo-Australian tropics in several distinct subspecies that vary in genitalic characters. This was suggested by Holloway (1979), but the processes noted subapically on the dorsal arm of the valve in typical divitalis are probably aberrant or even artefacts. In the Indian subregion there is S. divitalis phaeozona Hampson stat. & comb. n.: the forewings are very dark grey and, in the male genitalia, the saccus and ventral process of the uncus are relatively short. The typical race flies in Sundaland, the Philippines and, with the saccus slightly shorter, in Sulawesi and New Guinea.

A smaller, dark taxon from the islands south east of New Guinea and from the Bismarcks (BM slide 11442) has a short, rectangular ventral process to the uncus and a distinctive, reticulate pattern to the setal scars on the ventral arm of the valve; it is probably a distinct species.

The race from New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, the Cook and Society Is. has a rather sinuous forewing costa in the male, a rather heavily sclerotised zone containing setal scars on the ventral arm of the valve, and a relatively short saccus and ventral process to the uncus (Holloway 1979: fig. 108:3, Plate 78:11). This race is here named S. divitalis pacifica ssp. n.; holotype  NEW CALEDONIA, Grand Lac (Holloway), BM noctuid slide 7501.

Geographical range. Indian subregion; Sundaland, Philippines, Sulawesi, New Guinea; Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, Cook Is., Society Is.

Habitat preference. During the Mulu survey singletons were taken in upper montane forest on G. Mulu, at 900m, and 1500m on the limestone G. Api. and in lowland alluvial forest at Long Pala.

Biology. Bell (MS) reared the species in S. India (ssp. phaeozona). The larva is spindle-shaped, a dull, livid white, tinged green all over. There are usually no distinctive markings. Variants were described as uniform green.

The larva lives full stretched on the whitish or pinkish, young, hanging leaves of the host-plant (Mesua in the Guttiferae). They are very restless on disturbance. Bell later observed that the larvae form a loose cell amongst the leaves with silk, much as in Lophoptera illucida, and sometimes the leaves are brought together in a cylinder with silk.

The larvae turn dirty pinkish prior to pupation in the soil surface in a silken cocoon incorporating earth articles. The pupal stage takes about 11 days.

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