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Pandesma Guenée

Type species: quenavadi Guenée.

Synonyms: Cerbia Walker (type species fugitiva Walker, India); Michera Walker (type species submurina Walker, Australia); Subpandesma Berio (type species robusta Walker, Africa, misidentified as anysa Guenée); Thria Walker (type species robusta Walker, Africa); Vapara Moore (type species fasciata Moore, N. India).

The genus was reviewed by Berio (1968). The species all are robust and have facies similar to that of the type species, The forewings are narrow, the hindwings much shorter, usually pale with a darker border. The general forewing pattern is a rather greyish brown, diffusely fasciated, resembling somewhat that of Helicoverpa Hardwick species (see Holloway, 1989). The male antennae are fasciculate, and the legs are generally tufted with scales and hair pencils. The third segment of the labial palps is less than half the length of the second and rather spatulate in lateral view.

The male abdomen has the distal margin of the eighth sternite rounded and densely covered with robust but deciduous setal bristles. The genitalia have the uncus slightly expanded just basal to the apical spur; a scaphium is present. The juxta is of the inverted ‘Y’ type. The valves are much more complex than in
Polydesma Guenée and show bilateral asymmetry. However, they share the feature of a bundle or bundles of long, robust setae just basal to the narrow distal portion of the valve. The bundles are less massive than in Polydesma. The asymmetry is mostly in the slender distal parts of the valve which are more angular and complex than in Polydesma. There is additionally a strong process from the base of the costa of each valve. The aedeagus is shorter and the vesica larger than in Polydesma.

In the female genitalia (anysa Guenée) the ostium is set anteriorly at the end of a deep cleft within the seventh sternite. The ductus is very short, sclerotised, and the corpus bursae is rather sinuous, apically sclerotised, tapered and slightly hooked, and with a dense array of spicules of various sizes (smaller more distally) within its main body.

The genus extends throughout Africa and through the Middle East to India. The type species extends this range further east disjunctly to Australia, and there are two further Australian species (Nielsen et al., 1996), one of which extends to New Guinea. The genus is more diverse in areas with a definite dry season or that are semi-arid.

Larval host plants recorded are predominantly Leguminosae (Robinson et al., 2001).

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