View Image Gallery of Family Brahmaeidae

Brahmaea Walker

Type species: conchifera Butler (= wallichii Gray).

Synonyms: Brahmophthalma Mell (type species wallichii Gray); Brahmidia Bryk (type species hearseyi White); Brahmaeops Bryk (type species japonica Butler).

B. japonica has been regarded as a subspecies of wallichii (Fletcher & Nye, 1982), and hearseyi and celebica Toxopeus are probably sister group to wallichii.

The genus has the family characteristics mentioned in the introduction. The African Dactyloceras Mell has the subbasal series of fasciae with a sharp costal angle rather than transverse, and the anterior of the medial zone is much expanded and contains irregular pale markings. The Chinese Calliprogonos has uniformly pale brown wings except for broad cream-coloured margins on both wings and a dark, distally convex, basal patch to the forewing.

The more strictly Palaearctic species of Brahmaea have the medial zone of the forewing narrow throughout, dark, somewhat fractured into ellipses and unmarked in contrast to the pale, speckled, anteriorly expanded medial zone of the wallichii group. They probably represent a separate section of the genus (W. Nassig pers. comm.).

All except the Italian A. europaea Hartig have a striking dichotomous arrangement of the four most posterior radial veins branching from Rs (rather than arising sequentially from it); this is a potential synapomorphy for uniting all Brahmaea species excluding europaea, which is placed by recent authors in Acanthobrahmaea Sauter (Gardiner, 1982).

The male genitalia are described in the introduction to the family.

The larva is generally as described for hearseyi below. That of japonica is illustrated by Mutuura et al. (1965): it is pale creamy white with transverse yellow and black stripes on the thorax, yellow and bluish black etching and spots in a lateral zone through the spiracles and in the zone of the prolegs: ventrally it is orange. The larva of A. europaea is illustrated by Carter & Hargreaves (1986): it has a yellow venter and patches on the thorax and central zone, but is otherwise black with white stripes and speckles.

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