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Ericeia Walker

Type species: sobria Walker, Queensland.

Synonyms: Girpa Walker (type species aliena Walker, Queensland); Villosa Koch (type species leichardtii Koch, northern Australia).

Species of Ericeia have a very uniform facies type, differences between species being relatively minor in most cases, requiring dissection of genitalia to establish identity with confidence. The male antennae are finely ciliate to fasciculate, the legs usually with scale tufts and hair pencils, particularly the tibia. The labial palps have the third segment relatively robust, tapered, compared to more typical catocalines. The forewings are distinctly triangular, and the hindwings are of almost an equal area, often with a slight angle on the margin at A3 and at the first anal vein. The fasciae are generally irregular, though the forewing submarginal is typically a shallow zig-zag that often incorporates darker patches apically and near the dorsum. The postmedials are often broken, lunulate. The reniform and orbicular are usually evident on the forewing.

In the male abdomen, the eighth segment is virtually unmodified. The genitalia have an uncus with a normal ball-and-claw apex, and a scaphium is present. The juxta is of the inverted ‘Y’ type. The valves are narrow, but broadly based. They generally lack processes, but may have the ventral margin at the apex of the sacculus strongly angled and, more rarely, a process extending from the costal thickening. They show bilateral asymmetry in a few species. The aedeagus vesica is typified by a long, slightly coiled diverticulum with extensive, reversed spining; at its base there is a variable, broader area with shorter, less heavily ornamented lobes and diverticula. This vesica is similar to that seen in
Hulodes Guenée and Lacera Guenée.

The female genitalia have the ostium set well anterior within the seventh segment, where the sternite is reduced, narrowly trapezoidal, and distally underlapping the ostium slightly. At its anterior junction with the tergite on each side, there is a flocculent thickening just anterior to the spiracle. The ovipositor lobes are rather elongated and acute, and have some development of a longitudinal strip of darker sclerotisation as in Catocalini and Catephia; this is not seen in other Hulodini discussed here. The ductus is usually moderate to long, a sclerotised tube, with a slight, membranous constriction at the junction with the corpus bursae. This is elongately ovate tending to taper more towards the apex, and usually has extensive and dense basal and apical fields of small spines. The ductus seminalis arises from the distal edge of the basal field of spines, often with a slight appendix that is also spined.

Whilst the greatest diversity is in the Indo-Australian tropics, there are a few species in Arabia, Africa and Madagascar (Poole, 1989).

Chey (1994) noted several species to be frequent in softwood plantations in the lowlands of Sabah, particularly those of
Acacia mangium and Paraserianthes falcataria. Two species were recorded infrequently in the vicinity of the Danum Valley Field Centre by S.J. Willott (unpublished data), but all such records were from understorey samples.

Host plants are predominantly from the Leguminosae, but there are also records from Adiantaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Lythraceae and Rutaceae (Robinson et al., 2001).

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