Allata argentifera Walker, 1862, J. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 6:
Kiriakoff 1968: 247; Holloway 1976: 58, fig. 377.
Diagnosis. The rather elongate silver markings on the forewing distinguish males of
this species and A. benderi from the two Ginshachia species. A.
argentifera has a paler, more variegated costal zone to the forewing than
does A. benderi. The females are very different from the males, lacking
the silver markings and having broad cream bands along the forewing costa,
slightly more mottled in argentifera, though females of the two species
are best distinguished by examination of the genitalia. The sclerotised plates
in the lamella prevaginalis in benderi are larger and the foliate process
within the external pouch on the ninth sternite is larger, more finely serrate,
less narrow. In the male genitalia the costal and saccular spines on the valve
are equal on each valve, both longer on the right, in argentifera; in benderi
the saccular spine is much smaller than the costal one and there is only
Taxonomic notes. Kiriakoff (1968: 244, final para) did not examine the holotype of argentifera
and cited N. India as the type locality instead of Sarawak; the latter is
The genus Allata was examined by Dierl (1976) who recognised that
there were more species than Kiriakoff (1968) had suspected. A reexamination
with dissection of material from a wide range of localities suggests the
following. There are two groups of species: the Allata group with both
costal and saccular processes of the valves of the male genitalia developed into
spines; the Celeia Walker group (to which the name Neophyta Bryk
must fall as junior synonym, syn. n) where only the sacculus bears a spine, the
costa bearing a ventrally directed lobe or flap. The aedeagus in the Celeia group
is coarsely scobinate subapically and the two groups are also distinguished by
differences in shape of the uncus and gnathal processes (illustrated by
Both Bornean species belong to the Allata group, which is
completed by A. affinis Rothschild (= novaeguineae Kiriakoff,
1967: 62) from New Guinea and an undescribed species (BM notodontid slides 538,
539) from southern India.
The Celeia group contains the Himalayan and possibly S. Chinese
species sikkima Moore (type species of Neophyta Bryk) based on a
male type (the Himalayan taxon Pheosia costalis Moore is based on females
and may be a synonym of sikkima rather than argentifera as placed
by Kiriakoff (1968: 247)) and also recorded from Sumatra and Java by Bender
& Dierl (1977), the S. Indian and Sri Lankan species plusiata Walker
(type species of Celeia), and an eastern complex with variation in
genitalia that is best referred at present to the Australian (Queensland) taxon indistincta
Rothschild. Records of the indistincta complex are from Java,
Sulawesi and New Guinea.
Geographical range. Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi.
Habitat preference. The species is infrequent in lowland rain forest;
several were taken in lowland rain forest on the limestone of G. Api in the Mulu
survey, one in lower montane forest on each of G. Mulu and G. Api, and
singletons at about 1600 m on G. Kinabalu and Bukit Retak (upper montane
Biology. Bell reared a series of Allata specimens from S. India that
contains both plusiata Walker and the undescribed species in the Allata
group. Gardner (1943) described the larva of Allata and also (1946)
gave a key for larval differences between Allata and related genera such
as Rosama Walker (plusioides Moore) and Eguria Matsumura (auritracta
Moore). Gardner gave as hosts Desmodium (Rosama), Mucuna (Eguria) and
Ougeinia (Allata) and Bell referred to Pongamia and Derris for
Allata, all genera in the Leguminosae.
The Allata larva is cylindrical, but tapering over the thoracic
segments. The eighth abdominal segment is swollen into a dome-shaped tumidity,
somewhat broader than long, near the hind-margin of the segment. The head is roundish to elliptical, light, dull yellow, shining, pitted
with groups of dark pits. The body is smooth, shiny to greasy looking, light
greenish brown with fine white speckles; there is an obscure, fine, black dorsal
line, a transverse black band posteriorly on the seventh abdominal segment, the
tumidity of the eighth tinged with orange and marked with black. The ventral
surface is greener than the dorsal. The spiracles are yellow with black rims. A
second variant was yellowish brown, tinged pinkish and a third was deep purple-brown with a faint, yellow, double dorsal line and yellowish marbling elsewhere.
A fourth variant, for which a voucher specimen has been located and identified
as plusiata, was broadly grey-green along the segment margins, light
violet-brown elsewhere and dotted sparsely with white; there was a faint dark
green dorsal line that became distinct and brown over the tumidity of the eighth
The larva is sluggish, lying on the underside of a leaf, feeding down
one side at a time whilst sitting on the midrib. It pupates in a flattish ovoid
cocoon of white silk spun between two leaves.
The egg was described by Bell (MS) as like a bowl full of pudding, i.e.
with a rimmed, convex top, honey yellow in colour, 1.25 mm by 1.4 mm
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