View Image Gallery of Subfamily Epipleminae

The epiplemines are very much smaller than most members of the other subfamilies. The majority have hindwings with tails at Rs and M3, the fasciation is often sharply angled, the angle more or less in line with the more posterior tail. The submarginal zone of the forewing is often darker distal to an irregularly lunulate or arcuate boundary. Some genera have vein M2 in the hindwing weak or absent. The costal margin of the hindwing is often strongly excavate centrally. There are usually two anal veins compared with one in other subfamilies (Common, 1990) (but see Chionoplema Gen.n and Monobolodes Warren for exceptions).

The male antennae are frequently lamellate, often also uniserrate. In some genera they are strongly bipectinate. The strip separating the male tympanum from the counter-tympanum is diagnostically sclerotised, rather than membranous (Minet, 1983, 1994[5]). Male tympana are illustrated in Figs 162 and 163, and female ones in Fig 165. A frenulum is present (Scoble, 1992).

There are no really definitive features of the male genitalia, though the base of the valve usually supports one or two hair pencils. The transtillae sometimes form a bridge between the valves. Several genera prove exceptions to the observation of Common (1990) that uraniids lack a gnathus. In addition to the Bornean genera where this is stated to occur, a gnathus is found in the Neotropical genus Psamathia Walker, the Australian genus Dysrhombia Warren, and the Oriental (continental) genus Eversmannia Staudinger. It is frequently divided though in Eversmannia it is entire, distally trifid.

The larval head is hypognathous. The body cuticle is finely spinulose, and the primary setae arise from prominent pinacula or chalazae: there are no secondary setae (Common, 1990). Common noted the crochets in the larvae of Phazaca to be uniordinal in anterior and posterior curved bands on each proleg. In general, the crochets form a strongly curved mesoseries, resembling a penellipse and the prolegs have strongly sclerotised lateral plates (Holloway, Bradley & Carter, 1987).

The pupal cremaster has four pairs of hooked shaftlets, the same groundplan state as in the other uraniid subfamilies and geometroid groups, but often the most distal pair is enlarged, with reduction or loss of the others. Pupation is usually in a cocoon.

Lees & Smith (1991) noted that host-plants recorded for the subfamily overlapped almost completely the much wider range recorded for the Sphingidae (see also Holloway (1987)). However, there appears to be a much stronger trend for specialisation within epiplemine genera or species groups within genera. Only Dysaethria quadricaudata Walker (Dysaethria quadricaudata Walker comb. n. - Dysaethria scopocera Hampson comb.n. longiductus ssp.n) is definitely polyphagous though within the Rubiaceae. Plant families exploited by Bornean genera are Annonaceae, Bignoniaceae, Caprifoliaceae, Daphniphyllaceae, Oleaceae, Rubiaceae, Scrophulariaceae and Verbenaceae. Only the Rubiaceae and Daphniphyllaceae are recorded for more than one genus. In addition to the species discussed here, "Epiplema" latifasciata Moore was noted as feeding on Fagraea ("Fagiaea", Loganiaceae) in the original description.

The resting posture of the adults is sometimes modified, particularly in Phazaca Walker, Monobolodes Warren and two new genera (below). The wings are otherwise held flat against, or parallel to, the substrate at rest.

The subfamily is pantropical, extending only weakly into temperate zones (e.g. in China and Japan). However, it has a much greater representation in montane zones than do the other subfamilies. The group appears to be proportionally more diverse in Australasian tropical faunas, particularly that of New Guinea, than in Oriental ones (Holloway, 1993), though it does not extend further east than Samoa. Janse (1932) described the southern African fauna and Boudinot (1982) that of Madagascar.

The generic classification requires extensive revision, and an attempt has been made here to rationalise the situation in the Indo-Australian tropics. Application of the genus-group name Epiplema Herrich-Schäffer, based on a robust Neotropical species, E. acutangularia Herrich-Schäffer, to Indo-Australian taxa is inappropriate, though a few species listed at the end of the account below have yet to be found better placements.

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