View Image Gallery of Tribe Calpini.

Eudocima [Othreis] phalonia Linnaeus [fullonia Clerck]
Phalaena Noctua phalonia Linnaeus, 1763, Centuria Insectorum rariorum: 28 (revived senior synonym of fullonia; see below).
Phalaena fullonia Clerck, [1764] 1759, Icones Insect. rariorum, pl. 48, ff. 1-4.
Phalaena (Attacus) fullonica Linnaeus, 1767, Syst. Nat. (ed. 12): 812.
Noctua dioscoreae Fabricius, 1775, Syst. Ent.: 593.
Phalaena Noctua pomona Cramer, [1775] 1779, Uitlandsche Kapellen, 1: 122.
Ophideres princeps Boisduval, 1832, in d’Urville Voyage de Découvertes de l’Astrolabe, Pt 1 (Lep.): 245.
Ophideres obliterans Walker, 1857, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 13: 1229.
Othreis fullonia Clerck; Holloway, 1976: 36.

Eudocima phalonia Eudocima phalonia

Diagnosis. This and the next species have similar sexual dimorphism, the males with more regularly lineated forewings and the females with more irregularly marked and mottled ones. In the male of fullonia the fasciation is weak, the oblique postmedial concave towards the tornus. The female has the postmedial more irregular, broadly whitened over its posterior half up to a white triangle at the centre; the reniform is seen clearly darker in a pale surround and has a projection basad to just posterior to the reniform. See also the next species.

Taxonomic note. Zilli & Hogenes (2002) reinstated phalonia as a senior synonym of fullonia against the advice of Mikkola & Honey (1993), who indicated that the matter should be referred to the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature to maintain precedence of the junior synonym. Zilli & Hogenes pointed out the economic importance of the species. They noted that phalonia has been used as valid senior synonym at least twice since 1899 and that fullonia might well be a misspelling of phalonia by Clerck. On these grounds they considered that the requirements for reversal of precedence were not met and that phalonia should stand as senior synonym ‘in the interest of stability of nomenclature’. This disregards the fact that, in the economic literature, the name fullonia has been used for this species, probably exclusively, for at least the last six decades as indicated by the sole usage of fullonia recorded by Zhang (1994) in mainly economic literature abstracted on at least 27 occasions over that period. Applied entomologists would therefore probably disagree with the assertion that reinstatement of phalonia is in the interests of stability and would prefer to follow the principle advocated by Sommerer (2002) for the gender issue in nomenclature, that the spirit of the Code with regard to stability should prevail over the letter of individual articles when a conflict of interest occurs. Therefore the arrangement of Zilli & Hogenes is followed with reluctance here.

Zilli & Hogenes (2002) noted minor but consistent differences in forewing shape and in the male genitalia of African versus Indo-Australian material of this species, and suggested that two taxa might be involved.

Geographical range. Old World tropics and subtropics east to the Society Is.; often recorded as a migrant, e.g. in Norfolk I. and New Zealand.

Habitat preference. Frequently encountered from the lowlands up to high altitudes, the species can be common on mountains where it may have become concentrated by hill-topping behaviour, e.g. the 56 specimens recorded by Holloway (1976) at 2600m (Radio Sabah) on G. Kinabalu.

Biology. There are numerous accounts of the life history of this species, e.g. Moore (1881), Gardner (1941, 1947), Sevastopulo (1941a, 1948), Comstock (1966), Cochereau (1974), Robinson (1975), Maddison (1982), Tanahara & Tanahara (2000) and Bell (MS).

The eggs are laid in loose batches on the undersides of young leaves. The hatchlings are white, becoming green with lateral brown patches; the setae arise from black dots. Subsequent instars are black, with orange spots occurring in the position of the ocellate marks; these do not develop until the fourth instar, then being rufous, ringed white, sometimes with yellow.

Larger larvae are pinkish, brownish or rufous, with two diffusely darker longitudinal bands on each side crossing the dorsal and ventral edges of the ocellate marks (photograph in Maddison (1982)). The body is irregularly scattered with rufous, lilac and white specks, the white ones coalescing to form an oblique line up from the saddle at A6 across A7 as in species mentioned earlier. The ocellate marks can have an oblique pale dash in the central part at one third from the ventral edge, and the pale ring is itself surrounded finely by black. There may be a smaller, solid white mark in the same position on A1. Tanahara & Tanahara (2000) illustrated a much blacker larva on Okinawa than this, with darker, diffuse zig-zags laterally. Moore (1881) illustrated a larva with red patches in the dorsal concavities of the zig-zags and in dorsal bands, but the manuscript descriptions of other authors that he reproduced are more as in the first description; the darker bands in the illustration in Maddison (1982) are more or less straight, and Comstock (1966) illustrated a black larva like that in Okinawa but more uniform all over. The setae may arise from pale blue spots.

There is also a green form of the larva. Bell and Sevastopulo referred also to a grass-green ground colour in India, with the dorsum more pale grey with a faintly darker dorsal line. There is a subspiracular band of white blotches and dots, and an oblique extension of this over the saddle by the prolegs as mentioned above and for other species, and there are white marks associated with the side of the tumidity on A8. The ocellate marks are bordered thinly with black then ringed dorsally with cream and ventrally with yellow, but centred by the green ground colour. The centre of these ocelli may be lined blue or filled with this colour (Robinson, 1975; Maddison, 1982), and the dorsum may be more bluish grey, so there is further variability on top of the broad separation into brown and green forms. The spiracles in the green form are bright crimson.

Host plants recorded (Moore, 1881; Robinson, 1975; Bänziger, 1982; Tanahara & Tanahara, 2000; Robinson
et al., 2001) are: Leschenaultia (Goodeniaceae); Erythrina (Leguminosae); Anamirta, Arcangelisia, Cissampelos, Cocculus, Coscinium, Cyclea, Diploclisia, Legnephora, Sinomedium, Stephania, Tiliacora, Tinomiscium, Tinospora (Menispermaceae); Theobroma (Sterculiaceae). Bänziger (1987) commented on host plant selectivity in Thailand and elsewhere, indicating that Erythrina is only favoured in the eastern part of the range.

<<Back >>Forward <<Return to Content Page

Copyright © Southdene Sdn. Bhd. All rights reserved.