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Phycidopsis Hampson

Phycidopsis albovittata Hampson
Phycidopsis albovittata Hampson, 1893, Illustr. typical Specimens Lepid. Heterocera Colln
    Br.  Mus.
    Sentana violascens Gaede, 1930: 620, syn. n.
    Phycidopsis albovittata Hampson; Kiriakoff 1968: 29.

Phycidopsis albovittata (Java)

A small species akin to Porsica in general appearance but with the forewing costa edged narrowly with dark brown; posterior to the costal edge is a longitudinal pale silver-grey area that grades darker dorsad into a broad, dull purplish grey area along the dorsum.

Taxonomic notes. Gaede's holotype of violascens was taken from a S. Indian series reared by T.R.D. Bell. The genitalia of a male from this series were found to be identical to those of albovittata. Sentana Gaede therefore sinks to Phycidopsis Hampson syn. n., as the above taxa are the relevant type species.

Javan and Sumatran males differ in genitalia, especially uncus structure, from typical Indian ones (see Figs.), as do those from Sulawesi. When further material is available it may be possible to describe these as subspecies. Bornean males might be expected to resemble those from Sumatra.

Geographical range. Sri Lanka, India, Sundaland, Luzon, Sulawesi.

Habitat preference. Unknown; there is only a single Bornean female, from Balipapars (?Balikpapan).

Biology. The life history in India is known (Bell MS). The mature larva is typical of the Gargetta group but much more slender, with longer stematopods; the body is 30 mm long, the stematopods of equal length, thin, divergent and able to be spiralled over the basal half by the larva. The head is round, slightly bilobed dorsally, smooth, white, with a maroon band down each lobe, and with rather long, pointed black hairs. The body surface is glossy, invested with hairs as long as the diameter of the body, erect, black, arising from minute green tubercles. The colour is dull green with a subdorsal maroon line that is broader over the thorax but often broken posteriorly; the maroon line is bordered by a faint white line below. The spiracles are small, black, and there is a spiracular line visible. There is a 'pulsating' dorsal line. There are ventrolateral maroon blotches on the thoracic legs and similar ones associated with the anterior two prolegs.

The young larva is thin, threadlike, white in colour. It sits on the under-sides of leaves and on sticks and twigs where it is perfectly camouflaged.

Initially it eats small windows or holes in the leaves of the host-plant, Antidesma (Stylaginaceae); later it eats from the edge of a leaf, lying along the eaten portion which is usually taken to the midrib from the base upwards. It either lies stretched or looped centrally with the tails erect. Pupation is in a loose silken cocoon under the surface of the earth.

The adult holds the wings tightly scrolled round the body in cylindrical fashion when at rest.

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