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Catephia Ochsenheimer

Type species: alchymista [Denis & Schiffermüller], Austria.

Anoplia Stephens (type species leucomelas Linnaeus sensu Stephens = alchymista); Mageutica Hampson (type species alchymista); Nagia Walker (type species gravipes Walker, Sierra Leone) syn. n.

The synonymy above is based on features of the male abdomen shared by the genera concerned. Poole (1989) listed many species under a very broad concept of Catephia. Preliminary work indicated that most of these are better placed in a broad concept of Aedia Hübner, that will embrace Idicara Walker and Zarima Moore, placed as a synonym of Catephia by Poole, or in Ecpatia Turner. These genera bear a superficial resemblance to Catephia, particularly in the basal white zone of the hindwing, but are probably best placed together in the subfamily Aediinae in the trifine complex of the Noctuidae, as discussed on p. 26. These will therefore be treated in Part 13 of this series. Species of Catephia sensu stricto, with those from Nagia, are true catocalines as indicated in the tribal diagnosis above.

The species have dark, brown to blackish cryptically patterned, bark-like forewings, but the hindwings usually have a basal zone or antemedial band of white, the rest being a similar shade of brown to the forewings. The male antennae are ciliate, and the fore-tibia have an extensive tuft of hair-scales. The labial palps are of the catocaline type, though the third segment is reatively short in
Nagia species. The clypeofrons is unscaled. Speidel et al. (1996a) noted that the genus, along with Oxyodes, possessed a ‘pseudepaulette’ in the tympanal cavity that was not homologous with the true epaulette seen in many trifine noctuid subfamilies.

The male abdomen has the eighth sternite almost twice as broad as the tergite, the latter having short, broad, and widely spaced apodemes. The sternite is
shallowly notched distally, and may have a narrow, transverse lacuna that bears hair-setae just within the anterior margin (Nagia). In the genitalia, the uncus is slender but relatively short, opposed by a scaphium. Diagnostic features are found in the valves and the juxta. The ornamentation of the former shows bilateral asymmetry, particularly the costal and distal-to-saccular processes flanking a slightly (Catephia) to strongly corematous valve apex. The sacculus is also robust, but there is a slight constriction, less sclerotised, between it and the distal process. The juxta consists of a pair of sclerotised bands in an inverted ‘V’ running from the inner margins of each valve to converge and partially fuse with a robust, sclerotised anellar tube, all coming together as an inverted Y-shaped structure. The aedeagus is slender, flexed, with a small, simple vesica that may contain a rasp-like sclerotisation.

In the female, the ostium is set well within the seventh segment. The seventh tergite is expanded, and the sternite reduced and asymmetrically cleft to provide two unequal antevaginal plates that cover the ostium. The ovipositor lobes are narrow with a longitudinal strip of more definite sclerotisation. The ductus is broader basally, slightly coiled, then corrugated and tapering to join the relatively small pyriform (
Catephia) or spherical (Nagia) corpus bursae. There is no signum but the surface of the bursa may be crinkled or rugose.

The genus (mostly
Nagia) is widespread and diverse in the Old World tropics, though the type species of Catephia is found in southern Europe and around the Mediterranean. Nagia species of the linteola group were reviewed by Holloway (1983b).

The larva of the type species was described briefly by Bretherton
et al. (1983). The prolegs of A3 and A4 are reduced, and there are dorsolateral tubercles on A8. The host plant noted was Quercus (Fagaceae).

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