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Manoba argentaloides sp. n.
Nola argentalis Moore sensu Holloway, 1976: 1.


Manoba argentaloides

9-13mm, 11-14mm. This is one of the largest in a sequence that follows of species with very similar forewing facies resembling that of
M. argentalis Moore in having rather sinuous, punctate black fasciae amid a generally variegated ground of blackish patches on silvery grey-white or pale buff. The variegated shading can be concentrated in blocks; in argentalis this is in a broad, transverse band from between the fasciae on the dorsum, converging towards the costa so as not to extend beyond the discal mark. In argentaloides the variegation is lighter, and the dark band is only really evident over the anterior third adjacent to the discal mark. The male genitalia have the apex of the valve more tapered than in argentalis, and the harpe is more roundedly conical, with a more acute apex. The aedeagus has a triangular process at the apex and a clump of cornuti in the vesica, both absent in argentalis. A male from Seram (slide 14398) has similar genitalia, though the aedeagus lacks a triangular process at the apex, but one with similar but more strongly marked forewings from the mountains of Luzon (slide 17622) has a larger and more basal harpe, and a shorter, thicker aedeagus with a very large vesica that has a long row of spines down one side of the major diverticulum.

Holotype . SARAWAK: Gunong Mulu Nat. Park, R.G.S. Exped. 1977-8 (J.D.Holloway et al.), Site 2, January, Camp 4, Mulu, 1790m. 452463 [upper] montane (moss) forest, BM noctuid slide 17630.

Paratypes: 6 (slide 17758), 2 (slide 14714) as holotype; 2, 8 as holotype but Site 1; 2 (slide 17757), 4 as holotype but Site 3, 1780m, 453463; 1 as holotype but Site 4; 3 (slide 17759) as holotype but Site 5, 1780m, 451463; 4 as holotype but Site 6, January, Gunong Mulu, 2360m. 467465, low summit scrub, u. montane; 2 SABAH, Mt. Kinabalu, Park HQ, 1620m, and Power Station, 1930m, vii-ix.1965, Cambridge Expedition to Mt. Kinabalu 1965 (H.J. Banks, H.S. Barlow & J.D. Holloway).

Geographical range. Borneo, ?Seram.

Habitat preference. The species is common in upper montane forest, recorded from 1620m to 2360m.

Biology. Hampson (1900) described the larva of argentalis as pale buff with a faintly darker dorsal line, the verrucae with short yellow hairs and a few long black ones. A tuft of the latter behind the head was stated to bear cast head capsules, though these appear to be stacked in a more loose array than in other genera, as illustrated by McFarland (1980) from unpublished sketches in BMNH (see below). The cocoon is boat-shaped, incorporating bark fragments, larval hairs and head capsules, and is attached to a twig. The general appearance of the larva resembles that of a scale insect on the same host. The host plant was Castanopsis (Fagaceae). Another manuscript account in BMNH discussed by McFarland (1980) where identification of argentalis is more tentative includes a possible host record for Quercus in the same family.

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