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Achaea serva Fabricius
Noctua serva Fabricius, 1775, Syst. Ent.: 593.
Achaea fasciculipes Walker, 1858, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 14: 1400.
Achaea serva fuscosuffusa
Gaede (ex Strand, 1914) 1938, Gross-Schmett. Erde 11: 480.
Achaea serva Fabricius; Holloway. 1976: 30, 1982: 235; Kobes, 1985: 40.

Achaea serva

Diagnosis and taxonomic note
. This is the largest Bornean species, part of a major complex reviewed by Holloway (1982). It has a less prominent pale medial band on the hindwing above, compared with janata Linnaeus, and does not have a conspicuously darker patch subtornally on the underside. The forewing underside is more diffusely marked and less strongly variegated, but has a discal lunule that is lacking in janata.

It is possible that another member of the complex,
A. eusciasta Hampson, may occur in Borneo. The underside is generally darker brown than in serva and the hindwing medial band is narrow, but otherwise the facies is similar. The distribution of eusciasta is mostly insular, with records from the Andamans, Nias, and Singapore in the western part of its range, so occurrence on Borneo or its offshore islands is possible. Male specimens should be dissected to check this possibility; the diagnostic characters are described by Holloway (1982) and illustrated in Fig 30. There is also the possibility that A. mercatoria Fabricius, with a similar, rather insular distribution to eusciasta, may be found in Borneo; it is smaller than serva, with a slightly falcate forewing apex.

Geographical range. Indo-Australian tropics to Okinawa, many western Micronesian islands and New Guinea (ssp. fasciculipes); Australia.

Habitat preference. The species is frequent to common from the lowlands to 2600m, in both forested and open habitats. It can be abundant in light-trap samples at higher altitudes, but this may be as a result of hill-topping behaviour.

Biology. The larva was described by Moore (1884-1887), Sevastopulo (1948) and Bell (MS), and illustrated by Moore, though his portraits of adults also appear to include A. mercatoria Fabricius.

The head, in one larva described by Bell, is dark brown with yellow spots. The body is a light rosy brown (Bell) or pale grey (Sevastopulo), speckled minutely and densely with black, particularly in a wavy subdorsal band (also a puprlish brown dorsal stripe according to Sevastopulo). The tubercles of A8 are orange-red, with the ridge on which they are based lined black posteriorly. The ventrum is paler, with reddish spots between the prolegs and black ones on other segments. The larva illustrated by Moore is broadly stippled and variegated grey above, the darker variegations somewhat triangular, and green below; a second larva described by Bell appears closer to this but has lateral rusty pink spots, and a dorsal ‘playing-card’ club-shape formed of black specks on A1. Bell also described a third larva that was variegated yellowish and reddish brown with darker brown spots and lines generating a marbled effect. There would therefore seem to be great variablility, coupled with problems of separating very similar species when the adults emerge.

Therefore the list of host plants noted by these authors and reviewed by Robinson
et al. (2001) must be treated with caution: Buchanania (Anacardiaceae); Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae); Diospyros (Ebenaceae); Ricinus (Euphorbiaceae); Sapindus (Sapindaceae); Madhuca, Manilkara, Mimusops, Palaquium, Sideroxylon (Sapotaceae).

Tominaga (2000d) noted and illustrated similar colour variation in the mature larva in Okinawa, such as in the extent of yellow patches on the brown head, and in the variegation in lineation of the upper half of the body, from pale grey-brown with black spectacles to dark brown with whitish blotches. He recorded
Palaquium as a host plant, but also Planchonella in the same family, and Litsea (Lauraceae).

The adult is a fruit piercer (Bänziger, 1982; Kuroko & Lewvanich, 1993).

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