This subfamily contains a few genera of small, rather robust moths with beak-like labial palpi. Fibiger & Lafontaine (2005) associated the group in a sister-relationship with the Hypeninae because of this feature, a relationship retained in the classification of Lafontaine & Fibiger (2006). The forewings in the genera involved tend to have a series of irregular, slightly oblique fasciae.
The phragma lobes at the junction of the first and second abdominal tergites are very shallow. Other features of the male abdomen appear to be diagnostic, some mentioned by Fibiger & Lafontaine (2005): the eighth segment is of the framed corematous type, and is separated from the seventh segment by an extensive intersegmental membrane; the seventh sternite has an apodeme, sometimes long and slender, from its anterior margin; the genitalia have distinctive valves, uniformly sclerotized, with fine hair-setae extending from the ventral and distal marginal zones towards the costa; the ventral margin of the valve may be angled or have a small process distally, and the saccular process is robust, free from and interior to the ventral margin of the valve and often curved towards the costa. The juxta is triangular and of the inverted ‘V’ type as discussed by Holloway (2005).
No features of the female genitalia appear to be consistently diagnostic; those mentioned by Fibiger & Lafontaine (2005) were not always present (e.g. a signum) in the exemplars studied for this series (see under Daona below).
The larvae of the type genus have the prolegs on A3 vestigial or absent, and those on A4 are reduced; the pupa has a cremaster consisting of two short apical spines (Bretherton et al., 1983).
Fibiger & Lafontaine (2005) placed Antarchaea Hübner, Colobochyla Hübner, Raparna Moore and several other genera with the type genus, Phytometra Haworth, in their concept of the group. Edwards in Nielsen et al. (1996) placed Antarchaea as a synonym of Phytometra (as did Poole (1989)), and listed Daona Walker immediately after Phytometra at the beginning of the list of Catocalinae. Raparna was treated under the Catocalinae by Holloway (2005: 424), but will be listed as a phytometrine here. Fibiger & Hacker (2005) also included Trisateles Tams in Phytometrinae, but this genus was included in the Herminiinae by Fibiger & Lafontaine (2005). However, Owada (1987) excluded Trisateles from the Herminiinae, and it may be related to taxa currently within the Acontiinae as discussed on p. 25.
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