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Clostera Samouelle

Clostera fulgurita Walker  
Ichthyura fulgurita Walker, 1865, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus. 32: 433. 
   Syntype from India identified by BM notodontid slide no 1160 is hereby designated 
Clostera pallida Walker sensu Holloway, 1976: 58, fig. 381.

Clostera fulgurita

The grey forewings with black apex crossed by an irregular white postmedial line distinguish this species.

Taxonomic notes. Kiriakoff (1968: 252.) placed fulgurita as a synonym of pallida Walker, but it was recognised as distinct by Bender & Dierl (1977). In India it would appear to be variable, perhaps seasonally as is anachoreta Fabricius in Britain. The Indian lectotype resembles the specimen illustrated here in intensity of marking, especially in the black shade distal to the curvature at the dorsum of the oblique medial line. In male genitalia the species is very similar to the Palaearctic anachoreta and may well be con-specific. The taxon javana Moore (Java) is similar but has pale, almost white hindwings and is perhaps best included as a subspecies of fulgurita.

C. pallida from the Himalaya is a larger insect with the apical patch of the forewing less well defined, particularly basal to the postmedial which is more heavily indented and has orange lunules distad; the antemedial is concave basad rather than convex.

Geographical range. Oriental tropics to Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

Habitat preference. The species was taken rarely on G. Kinabalu from 1000-2000 m and two specimens were taken at about 1800 m in tall upper montane forest on G. Mulu.

Biology. The description of early stages following is taken from a series of photographs made by M. Bascombe in Hong-Kong. It contrasts slightly with that by Gardner (1943) based on an Indian larva, and there may be local variation. Gardner described the Clostera larva generally as having a head wider than high, prolegs and claspers normal and nearly equal, and distinctive dorsal protuberances on the first and eighth abdominal segments. The head and body bear conspicuous secondary setae, those on the body long, mostly in groups on small tubercles.

The eggs are pale yellow, turning black before hatching. The hatchlings are pale pinkish with darker bands in the region of the dorsal protuberances. The larva is sparsely invested with long whitish hairs and the head is black.

The long hairs persist into later instars which are irregularly delineated with rufous brown and pale green bands. The head is black and the dorsal protuberances are also black; in the latter the black grades away at the margins. Yellow tubercles begin to appear subdorsally and laterally.

In the final instar the head is red and the dorsal protruberances remain black but the long white hairs are much denser. The back is broadly black with subdorsal and marginal pale lines, the latter containing yellow tubercles on each segment; the back fades to pinkish with progress towards full size. The flanks are bright red with yellow lines, and there are large bright yellow tubercles above and below the yellow spiracle on each segment, and a smaller one behind each spiracle. The prolegs and claspers are also red.

Pupation is in a loose, oval cocoon spun up under a leaf. Each instar lasts about four days except the fifth and final, which lasted 11 days to pupation. The pupal stage lasted from two to four weeks. The egg stage lasts two weeks, therefore the shortest period from egg to egg is about two months.

The host-plant in Hong-Kong was Xylosma in the Flacourtiaceae, a genus also recorded by Gardner (1943) in India along with Flacourtia itself and Elaeodendron of the Celastraceae. Browne (1968) recorded Salix and Populus (Salicaceae) as hosts in India.

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