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Westermannia superba Hübner
Westermannia superba Hübner, 1823, Zutrage Samml. exot. Schmett.: 23.
Plusiodes westermannii Guenée, 1852, Noct., 2: 386.
Vestermannia gloriosa Hampson, 1912, Cat. Lepid. Phalaenae Br. Mus., 11: 606.
Westermannia superba Hübner; Kobes, 1997: 59.


Westermannia superba
(N.E. Himalaya)

The first three species are very similar in their white, silv
er and grey forewing pattern. W. argentea Hampson is the largest, with the pattern, particularly the medial element, more oblique and angled and also the least contrasted. The Sundanian race of W. elliptica Bryk has the greatest contrast in the pattern, the more elliptical medial elements being more closely outlined in white, surrounded by an area of more bluish grey.

Taxonomic note. Kobes (1997) described a sibling species to superba, metiara Kobes, that is distinguished by a bright buff thorax and differences in the number of cornuti in the aedeagus vesica. It was noted during dissection of superba material that the bundle of rather stellate, slender cornuti in the vesica was deciduous, and that these cornuti would be found in the bursa of the female (e.g. Fig 484). Females from Borneo and Palawan dissected had cornuti in the bursa typical of superba.

Geographical range. Indian Subregion, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, Palawan.

Habitat preference. The only Bornean material seen is female, consisting of single specimens from Samarinda in Kalimantan and from Sarawak without precise data.

Biology. Bell (MS) described the larva and pupa in India. The larva is like that of
argentea Hampson in shape and colour, but with a pair of yellow spots at the centre of the dorsum of each segment, often linked across by a curved line, like spectacles, and the body is generally more speckled with yellow.

The pupa is also similar. The posterior segment of the abdomen has the anterior margin raised and beaded with longitudinal-linear teeth, 24 or so over the dorsal zone, extending ventrally to the spiracles. Pupation is in a similar cocoon to that of argentea. The pupa sets up a shivering noise when the cocoon is touched.

Larval behaviour and host-plants are as for argentea, but the larva was recorded from Lagerstroemia (Lythraceae) as well as Terminalia (Combretaceae). Gardner (1948a) added Anogeissus (Combretaceae).

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