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The Tigermoths (Erebidae, Arctiinae, Arctiini) of Papua Indonesia

by Rob de Vos



Utetheisa (Utetheisa) pulchelloides Hampson, 1907

[Utetheisa pulchelloides Hampson, 1907] (holotype: Peros Banhos, Diamant Island, Chagos Archipelago, British Indian Ocean Territory, in BMNH)


ssp. papuana Strand, 1919 [Utetheisa pulchella f. papuana] (holotype: "New Guinea", in BMNH)
dorsifusa Prout, 1920
Utetheisa dorsifumata Prout, 1920 (holotype: Anggi Lakes, Arfak, in BMNH)
Utetheisa pulchelloides aphanis Jordan, 1939 (holotype: Sudest Island, Louisiade Archipelago, PNG, in BMNH)


The subspecies papuana shows a wide range of variation. Attemps to divide the variations into more subspecies are frustrated by the sympatric occurance of the variations which therefore have to be considered to be no more than colour forms.

Some extreme examples of these forms are depicted below but intermediates also exists. The nomotypical form is figured above.

Distinguishing characters with lotrix

Although most forms of pulchelloides papuana have a quite different appearance than lotrix, the typical form might cause some problems with distinguishing. The sibling species pulchella Linnaeus, 1758, lotrix Cramer, 1777 and pulchelloides Hampson, 1907 always were object to confusion when trying to identify by external characters. The genitalia, however, show distinct differences. The males also show a difference in the antenna which might be of use for a fast determination. With some practice you will even notice a difference in the thickness of the filiform female antenna. Males of pulchelloides have dentated antenna (even visible with naked eye after some practice), those of lotrix are thinner and more like a string of pearls, with rounded segments. The females of pulchelloides have thicker filiform antenna than those of lotrix. The pictures below show photographs of the male antenna and male genitalia, with an inlay of an antenna filament detail.

Utetheisa pulchella is restricted to Europe and Africa and is not expected to occur in Papua. Therefore we only depict lotrix and pulchelloides.







STATUS: Common, especially in the Star Mountains (Abmisibil). It seems to prefer mountainous areas.

PAPUA LOCALITIES: New Guinea: Abmisibil (Star Mts.), Anggi Lakes (Arfak), Araboe Bivak, Batimban, Butiptiri, Dohunsehik (Arfak), Foja Mts., Ilaga, Irai (Arfak), Kobrey, Mabilabol, Manokwari, Merauke, Mokwam, Nabire, Ninay Valley, Okaba, Lake Paniai, Sentani, Wamena. Details in gazetteer.

EXTERNAL DISTRIBUTION: The species is widely distributed in Indo-Australia and the southern Oceanic islands. There are many subspecies of which ssp. papuana is the representative of New Guinea.

DATA SOURCES: BMNH, KSP, RMNH, ZMAN. Literature (see below).





Literature refering to New Guinea

Meyrick, E., 1889. On some Lepidoptera from New Guinea. The Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1889: 455-522.
Hampson, G.F., 1894. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma, Moths Vol. II: 609 pp. Taylor & Francis, London.
Rothschild, L.W., 1914. In: Seitz, A. Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde 10: Spinner und Schwarmer des Indo-Australischen Gebiets, Arctiidae: 236-263. A. Kernen, Stuttgart.
Rothschild, L.W., 1916. On the Lepidoptera in the Tring Museum sent by Mr. A.S. Meek from the Admiralty Islands, Dampier and Vulcan Islands. Novitates Zoologicae 23(3) 319-334.
Strand, E., 1919. Lepidopterorum Catalogus 22: Arctiidae: Subfam. Arctiinae: 1-416. W. Junk, Berlin.
Hampson, G.F., 1920. Catalogue of the Lepidoptera Phalaenae. Supplement, volume 2. Catalogue of the Lithosiadae (Arctianae) and Phalaenoididae in the collection of the British Museum: 619 pp. British Museum, London.
Prout, L.B., 1920. New Moths in the Joicey Collection. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History (9)5: 286-293.
Jordan, K., 1939. On the constancy and variability of the differences between the Old World species of Utetheisa (Lepid.; Arctiidae). Novitates Zoologicae 41(3) 251-291.
Robinson, G.S., 1971. The genus Utetheisa Hübner in Fiji with a description of a new species (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation 83 123-130.
Holloway, J.D., 1988. The Moths of Borneo 6, Arctiidae, Syntominae, Euchromiinae, Arctiinae, Aganainae (to Noctuidae): 101 pp. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.
Edwards, E.D., 1996. Arctiidae. In: Nielsen, E.S., E.D. Edwards & T.V. Rangsi, 1996. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera: 4 1-529 [278-285].