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Gargetta Walker

Gargetta hampsoni Schintlmeister  
Gargetta hampsoni
Schintlmeister, 1981, Atalanta 12: 286.

Gargetta hampsoni

The dark brown, slender forewings, with only slight longitudinal striation, no discal marking, and grading paler distad, are distinctive; the next species has discal and submarginal markings. The single Bornean male has somewhat shorter, blunter processes to the bifid uncus than do typical Sumatran males.

Taxonomic notes. The sister species of hampsoni is not the Himalayan nagaensis Hampson as suggested by Schintlmeister; the latter is a larger species with deeper, more squarely ended forewings that have a thin pale grey marginal line. The male genitalia have the processes of the bifid uncus broad, tapering, and the lateral lobes of the gnathus small, setose, as in tompoa Kiriakoff (Sulawesi, ?Luzon ( BMNH notodont slide 944)), divisa Gaede (N.E. Himalaya, Burma, Peninsular Malaysia, ?Hong-Kong) and an undescribed species from Sulawesi (BM notodont slide 946). G. costigera Walker (India) and nagaensis have the gnathal processes long and the uncal processes slender, bulbous, apically ornamented with a spine or spines. In costigera the harpe of the valve is weakly bifid whereas it is simple in all the other species mentioned.

Geographical range. Sumatra, Borneo.

Habitat preference. Only one specimen is known from Borneo, a male from Bidi, Sarawak, habitat unrecorded.

Biology. Nothing is known of the life history, but it would probably be comparable with that of a species from Hong-Kong, tentatively identified as divisa Gaede, reared, photographed and described (in litt.) by M. Bascombe. It fits the general description for larvae of the Gargetta-Porsica group by Gardner (1943): the head and body lack secondary setae above the level of the prolegs; the anal prolegs are modified as slender, tapering, backward directed stematopods, about one third of the body length, with protrusible lashes; the anterior prolegs are reduced, particularly the first and especially in Gargetta. The mature Hong-Kong larva was very slender, the stematopods red, finely spined, with white protrusible lashes. At rest the larva grips a twig with the last two prolegs, holding the anal portion erect and the anterior portion uplifted at about 30, with the head and thorax coiled round ventrally. The lashes are protruded and waved when the larva is alarmed. The flanks of the head and body are pale greenish yellow with fine paler lines, the subdorsal one edged with dark brown and bordering a medium brown dorsal band. The prolegs and a basal area surrounding them are reddish brown, diffusing away to the spiracles which are surrounded on each segment by four to five pale pinacula (small, flat tubercles bearing setae). On each of segments 2 and 8 of the abdomen there are a pair of dorsolateral black blisters, centrally brown, just outside the brown-bordered, fine yellow line referred to above.

Pupation was in a silken cocoon in earth and lasted two weeks. The host-plant was a species of Briedelia (Euphorbiaceae), a host-plant also recorded for G. costigera in India (see next species) and Java (Roepke 1943,  Natuurh. Maandbl. Maastricht 32: 11) and for an unidentified Gargetta in Peninsular Malaysia (A. Fox in litt.).

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