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Phalera acutoides sp. n.  

Phalera acutoides (paratype)

29 mm, 36 mm. The facies is as illustrated. The species is in a group with the Javan acuta Gaede and the Himalayan raya Moore (?= alaya Nakamura) and goniophora Hampson (? = himalayana Nakamura). Males have the hindwing darker grey than in other species and the forewing fasciae, especially the antemedial, more broken and obscure; the reniform is more evident as a diffuse, pale spot. The male genitalia are closest to those of acuta but the gnathal processes are more deeply cleft, cupped rather than just curved; the juxta is more narrowly bilobed with a more developed central prominence; the valve has a rugose process from the costa and a more elongate, less lobed, central flange; the dorsal subapical lobe of the valve is more downturned.

Holotype BRUNEI: 300 m, Ulu Temburong, rainforest, 10.2.1980 (Lt. Col. M.G. Allen), BM notodontid slide 764.

Paratypes: 1 Temburong [BRUNEI] L.P. 298, 300 m, 21.ii.1982 (T.W.Harman); 1 NORTH BORNEO: Sabah, Tawau distr., 500-700 ft 17.x- 5.xi.1973 (C.J.H. Pruett), BM 1974-277; 2 Bidi, SARAWAK, 1907- 1908 (C.J. Brooks); 1 (Muzium Brunei) BRUNEI: Sg. Burong, mixed dipterocarp, 100 ft, 9 June 1981.

Geographical range.
Borneo, ?Peninsular Malaysia (one worn in BMNH from Kuala Lumpur).

Habitat preference. All specimens have been taken in lowland rain forest.

Biology. Kalshoven (1981) described the larva of acuta as looking like a small piece of porcelain with a shiny back, a brown lateral stripe and a grey head. It feeds on various Leguminosae including Erythrina and Cassia. The species was identified as raya but could be sundana Holloway rather than acuta, as the former is much more common and the two species have been confused in the past.

The larva of raya has been discovered in India (Bell MS). It is long, slender, cylindrical, with all prolegs. The head is broad, semi-elliptical, ochreous green, with moderate, black-tipped, white hairs. The body is smooth, enamel blue-white above a 2 mm rose-maroon spiracular band, below which is a narrower white one; the ventral surface is clear rich green with black patches at the bases of the true legs, but the posterior abdominal segments are more maroon-fuscous with black side-patches. The body is invested with blister-like patches with glassy tubercles which bear white or black hairs. In early instars the dorsolateral tubercles of thoracic sement 1 are prolonged into hard cylindrical processes as long as the thoracic segments altogether; they are on the anterior margin perpendicular to the surface.

The sluggish larvae live on the undersides of leaves along the midrib, eating from the edge inwards. When young they raise their anal ends in the air but later instars lie full-stretched. Pupation is underground in a fine earthen cell, with little silk lining.

The Indian host-plants are all Leguminosae such as Wagatea, Derris and Cassia.

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