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Neostauropus Kiriakoff

Neostauropus alternus Walker  
    Stauropus alternus
Walker, 1855, List lepid. Insects in Colln Br. Mus. 5: 1020.
Neostauropus alternus Walker; Kiriakoff, 1968: 133.

Neostauropus alternus

Neostauropus alternus

The male has an intense dark brown medial zone, grading away basad and distad, to the basically bone-coloured forewing and a similar zone on the anterior half of the hindwing. The female is almost uniform medium greyish brown, with faint paler and darker markings, its hindwing is slightly darker than the forewing.

Taxonomic notes. The species exists in a series of races with moderate differences in genitalia and facies characters throughout its range. The names brunneus Schintlmeister (Sumatra), niasicus Schintlmeister (Nias), nephodes West (Philippines) and melastomatis Felder (Amboina) are best applied at subspecific level to alternus, stats. n. There is a trend in shortening of the aedeagus and diminution of the interior spine to the valve from west to east. The short aedeagus illustrated by Schintlmeister (1981: fig 2b) for brunneus was not shown by a BMNH paratype dissected; it was only slightly shorter relatively than in typical alternus.

In investigating this species it was found that pale grey S. Indian and Sri Lankan specimens constitute a good species, with a short aedeagus and no interior spine to the valve of the male genitalia; the series includes the holotype () of Stauropus albescens Moore, included as a synonym of alternus by Kiriakoff (1968), so this taxon is revived, sp. rev.

Characters of adult fades and genitalia, and of the larva, are so similar to those of Stauropus Germar that the retention of this species in Neostauropus must be questioned.

Geographical range. N. E. Himalaya, Sundaland, Philippines, Sulawesi, S. Moluccas; not Taiwan (see Sugi 1979).

Habitat preference. The species has been taken rarely in lowland rain forest and secondary vegetation in Brunei and Sarawak.

Biology. The larva is of the typical lobster-like Stauropus type and has been described by Gardner (1943), Sevastopulo (1938- 1947 (17)) and Bell (MS). The head is much higher than wide. The prolegs are equal, long; the claspers are carried erect, modified into slender stematopods. The first six abdominal segments have paired conical protruberances, the seventh having a ventrolateral tooth and tubercle on each side, and the eighth being expanded laterally, strongly convex dorsally. The thorax is narrow. The colour is dark brown but there are white and yellow patches and fine lines. Pupation is in a tough, shining yellow silken cocoon spun between two leaves.

The larva is polyphagous and a pest of tea, coffee, rambutan and mango; outbreaks in tea plantations in Sumatra and Java are often checked by a braconid wasp, Apanteles taprobanae (Kalshoven 1981). Other hosts include Ricinus (Euphorbiaceae), Careya (Myrtaceae) and numerous Leguminosae such as Cajanus, Cassia, Ougeinia, Pithecellobium and Wagatea (Gardner 1943; Sevastopulo 1938-1947; Bell MS; Browne 1968)

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