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Olene mendosa Hübner
  Olene mendosa
Hübner, 1823, Zuträge Samml. exot. Schmett., (2): 19.
  Antipha basalis
Walker, 1855, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 4: 806.
  Nioda fusiformis
Walker, 1855, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 5:1070.
     Rilia lanceolata
Walker, 1855, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 5:1075.
     Dasychira sawanta
Moore, [1860] 1858-9, Cat. Lepid. Insects Mus. E. Ind. Co., 2: 340.
     Dasychira basalis
Walker, 1865, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 32: 362.
     Dasychira basigera
Walker, 1865, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 32: 363.
     Dasychira divisa
Walker, 1865, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 32: 363.
     Rilia distinguenda
Walker, 1865, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln Br. Mus., 32: 435.
     Turriga invasa
Walker, 1869, Characters undescribed Lepid. Heterocera: 15.

Olene mendosa

Olene mendosa

Olene mendosa

Olene mendosa

This is a very variable species in both sexes. Males occur in two forms, themselves showing variability: with a pale or dark blotch restricted to basal to the transverse black antemedial; with whitish or pinkish blotches extending in an irregular sequence of three in the subcostal zone. The discal stigma is inconspicuous. The commoner female form has irregular, longitudinal dark brown zone in the centre of the wing. A rarer form is paler, with basal and postdiscal brown areas, the latter bounded basally by the discal lunule. The hindwings of both sexes are paler than in congeners.

Taxonomic note. Schintlmeister (1994) separated the form lacking extensive blotching along the forewing costa as a distinct species, sawanta Moore, but there are no differences in male genitalia between the two forms, and both were reared in a series of siblings in India, so the taxa are treated as synonymous here as in Nielsen, Edwards & Rangsi (1996). Similar male dimorphism is seen in the related African O. [Argila] basalis Walker comb. n. and, as seen above, in Orgyia osseata. The original description of O. basalis has priority over the second instance of this specific epithet in the synonymy of mendosa, but Antipha basalis has page priority (806 versus 810). Nevertheless, in the interests of stability, Antipha basalis is best also treated as a junior secondary homonym of Argila basalis.

Geographical range. Oriental tropics east to New Guinea and Australia.

Habitat preference. Light trap records during recent surveys show the species as infrequent from the lowlands (including mangrove) to 1620m, but its pest status (see below) indicates it may attain much higher abundance on occasions, particularly in cultivated areas.

Biology. The larva has been described by Bell (MS), Gardner (1938), Sevastopulo (1938, 1942), and Chey (1987), being illustrated in the last reference. Early instars differ from later ones in having only the first two of the four dorsal brushes well developed; the third is shorter, pale, and the fourth remains dark as the rest of the body. The final instar has them all pale dull orange, though Gardner and Sevastopulo described them as greyish white. The head, legs and prolegs are crimson. The body is black with paler tracery and a dorsal row of segmental white streaks posterior to the brushes. The setae are generally white except in the more dense pencils flanking the head and dorsally at the rear, where they are black. A lateral white pencil precedes a more flocculent black one on A2.

The host-plant range is very large and includes (references cited above; Sevastopulo, 1940; Pholboon, 1965; Browne, 1968; Kuroko & Lewvanich, 1993; Hutacherern & Tubtim, 1995; unpublished IIE and FRIM records): Mangifera (Anacardiaceae); Ceiba, Durio (Bombacaceae); Terminalia (Combretaceae); Raphanus (Cruciferae); Shorea, Dipterocarpus(Dipterocarpaceae); Aleurites, Excoecaria, Ricinus (Euphorbiaceae);Pelargonium (Geraniaceae); Saccharum, Sorghum, Zea (Gramineae); Cinnamomum (Lauraceae); Careya (Lecythidaceae); Acacia, Arachis, Bauhinia, Butea, Cajanus, Cassia, Dalbergia, Pithecellobium, Sesbania, Vigna (Leguminosae); Lagerstroemia (Lythraceae); Hibiscus (Malvaceae); Zizyphus (Rhamnaceae); Rosa (Rosaceae); Coffea (Rubiaceae); Populus (Salicaceae); Santalum (Santalaceae); Dimocarpus, Litchi, Nephelium, Schleichera (Sapindaceae); Achras, Palaquium (Sapotaceae); Melongena, Solanum (Solanaceae); Camellia (Theaceae); Tectona (Verbenaceae).

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