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Melanothrix Felder

Type species: pulchricolor Felder (= nymphaliaria Walker).

Melanothrix species all show extreme sexual dimorphism. This has made association of males and females of the same species problematic. The synonymies presented for the species below differ from those in Strand's (1922, in Seitz, Gross-Schmett. Erde, 10: 418-9) treatment, changes being made for the following reasons: alternans (female.gif (844 bytes)) and homochroa (male.gif (860 bytes)) have the most distinctive genitalia, both with an element of elongation, for their respective sexes and are therefore associated; the synonymy of the nymphaliaria-leucotrigona pair is based on genitalic features of both sexes; by a process of elimination fumosa (male.gif (860 bytes)) and xanthomelas (female.gif (844 bytes)) are associated, both endemic to Borneo, each represented by a series of a single sex, and with some concordance of dark areas on the forewing.

Males are all rich deep brown, more or less uniform except for paler marginal zones and, in most species, a white mark postmedially at the tornus or in a complete band. The genitalia have the uncus deeply bifid, each process with a subbasal dorsal spur in all species except alternans. The valves are approximately triangular with a divided apex in all species except alternans. All species have a pair of small pouches containing scales set laterally in the centre of the basal abdominal sternite (Fig. 84).

Females have much more extensive pale areas, white or yellow, on both wings and tend to be a dark brown or black, and much larger than the respective males. The genitalia have the ovipositor lobes relatively large, separated from the eighth segment by a deep membrane; the eighth segment is weak ventrally except for a narrow, sclerotised, slightly protrusive lamella antevaginalis. The ductus and globular bursa are together shorter than the more distal segments. The distal margin of the seventh sternite is more heavily sclerotised in a roughly semicircular zone.

Males come to light at night but females do not and are often encountered during the daytime. Nothing is known of the life history.

One species is known from the South-east Asian mainland and one further from Sundaland, but three taxa are found only in Borneo or Borneo plus Palawan. Philippines taxa such as philippina Rothschild, semperi Rothschild and sanchezi (+ var. baletana) Schultze may be allied to nymphaliaria, the Sundanian species, but males are unknown and will be needed to establish the true status of these taxa.

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