FAMILY BRAHMAEIDAE
View Image Gallery of Family Brahmaeidae

Brahmaea hearseyi White
Brahmaea hearseyi White, 1862, Proc. ent. Soc. Lond., (3) 1: 26.

Brahmaea whitei Butler, 1866, Proc. zool. Soc. Lond., 1866: 119.


Brahmaea hearseyi
(.61 natural size)


Diagnosis.
It would be impossible to confuse this species with any other.

Taxonomic notes. B. celebica Toxopeus stat. n., from Sulawesi, is here recognised as distinct. It is smaller, with fewer component fasciae in the subbasal and submarginal zones of the forewing; the subapical pale sector of the submarginal zone is not so strongly distinguished from the rest as in hearseyi being significantly pale only at its posterior margins; this subapical pale zone is basally convex as in hearseyi rather than concave as in wallichii, but restricted to the dashes on the veins. In the male genitalia the valves have merely denser sclerotisation distally on the sacculus rather than a distinct lobe. B. hearseyi has a conspicuous invagination between the seventh and eighth sternites that is lacking in celebica.

Geographical range. N.E. Himalaya, W. China, Burma, Sundaland (ssp ardjoeno Kalis = luchli Dupont in Java), Philippines.


Habitat preference. In Borneo the species has been taken infrequently in lowland rainforest and up to 1000m on G. Mulu and 1200m on G. Kinabalu; in Sulawesi B. celebica was encountered more in montane forests.

Biology. The larva was found by K.R.C. Tuck at Genting Tea Estate, W. Malaysia and reared through to pupation. Middle instars had the head, filaments, true legs and prolegs black, the venter reddish; each segment is ringed anteriorly with black, and is laterally, below the spiracles, broadly bright yellow (this yellow extends completely over the dorsum on the thorax). The abdominal dorsum is whitish with two black patches on either side. The final instar, from which the filaments are lost, has the upper surface bright yellow, ringed and marked with white. On each segment the spiracles occur in a broken black triangle that expands towards the anterior; below this triangle are stripes of orange-yellow and pink. The venter is greenish white; the prolegs are ringed black and greenish white.


When threatened, the larva erects its anterior half and tucks in its head, presenting to the attacker the thoracic dorsum with filaments or (in the final instar) eye-spots.


The host-plant in the wild was not identified. The larva was reared on Ligustrum (Oleaceae) in the U.K. These descriptions are based on colour transparencies in the BMNH.

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