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Tarsolepis Butler

Tarsolepis sommeri Hübner  
Crino sommeri
Hübner, 1821, Samml. exot. Schmett. 2 p1. [197].
Tarsolepis remicauda Butler, 1872, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (4) 10: 125.
Tarsolepis sommeri Hübner; Kiriakoff 1968: 19.
Tarsolepis remicauda Butler; Nakamura 1976: 35.

Tarsolepis sommeri

The only possible species with which this could be confused is its congener rufobrunnea (see below). In sommeri the external silver triangle of the forewing is separated from the grey marginal zone by a dark brown crescent within its width rather than by a long, lenticular, ochreous yellow band. The hindwings above are paler brown basally, the veins picked out darker, the margin slightly rounded, crenulate, whereas in rufobrunnea the wing is uniform dark brown, the margin more or less straight. The ground colour below is fawn rather than pinkish. The female antennae are filiform rather than weakly pectinate. The third joint of the palp is long rather than short. The uncus of the male genitalia is bifurcate rather than entire. A tuft of red hair scales occurs ventrally at the base of the abdomen.

Geographical range. Oriental Region.

Habitat preference. The species has been recorded from a wide range of lowland forest types, but in the G. Mulu National Park was found more commonly in alluvial and secondary alluvial forest.

Biology. The adult has been recorded feeding from mammalian lachrymal secretions in Peninsular Malaysia (Bänziger 1972). Gaede (1930) referred to the larvae of Indian members of Tarsolepis as being white above with black- spotted, bright orange flanks; the larva is scantily haired; there are two thick black collars behind the head, and the posterior segments are studded with club-shaped purple hairs. This description should be treated with caution as it does not accord with the photograph of the larva of T. japonica Wileman & South in Issiki (1969) which shows a glabrous purple larva with a humped posterior end with produced, tapering anal claspers all held away from the twig at rest, as are the thoracic legs, the posterior one much longer than those anteriorly, itself pale posteriorly, dark anteriorly, the sharp dividing line extending obliquely backwards to above the spiracles. Gaede's description may refer to a Dudusa species. Kalshoven (1981) referred to a ‘colourful’ caterpillar feeding on rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum, Sapindaceae). They can defoliate the trees completely but are prone to disease. Pupation is just under the soil surface.

Semper (1896-1902) illustrated the larva of sommeri as being hairless, relatively unmodified, red except for a very broad dorsal green band over the abdominal segments; the green band is divided centrally and flanked at the spiracles by black lines and invested marginally with a scattering of grey dots. The taxon javana Swinhoe is a district species (S.E. Asia, Sumatra, Java, Philippines, ?New Guinea) and both these last larval descriptions may refer to it.

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