Type species: pulchricolor Felder (= nymphaliaria Walker).
Melanothrix species all show extreme sexual dimorphism. This has made
association of males and females of the same species problematic. The synonymies
presented for the species below differ from those in Strand's (1922, in Seitz, Gross-Schmett.
Erde, 10: 418-9) treatment, changes being made for the following
reasons: alternans ()
and homochroa ()
have the most distinctive genitalia, both with an element of elongation, for
their respective sexes and are therefore associated; the synonymy of the
nymphaliaria-leucotrigona pair is based on genitalic features of both sexes; by
a process of elimination fumosa ()
and xanthomelas ()
are associated, both endemic to Borneo, each represented by a series of a single
sex, and with some concordance of dark areas on the forewing.
Males are all rich deep brown, more or less uniform except for paler marginal
zones and, in most species, a white mark postmedially at the tornus or in a
complete band. The genitalia have the uncus deeply bifid, each process with a
subbasal dorsal spur in all species except alternans. The valves are
approximately triangular with a divided apex in all species except alternans.
All species have a pair of small pouches containing scales set laterally in the
centre of the basal abdominal sternite (Fig. 84).
Females have much more extensive pale areas, white or yellow, on both wings and
tend to be a dark brown or black, and much larger than the respective males. The
genitalia have the ovipositor lobes relatively large, separated from the eighth
segment by a deep membrane; the eighth segment is weak ventrally except for a
narrow, sclerotised, slightly protrusive lamella antevaginalis. The ductus and
globular bursa are together shorter than the more distal segments. The distal
margin of the seventh sternite is more heavily sclerotised in a roughly
Males come to light at night but females do not and are often encountered during
the daytime. Nothing is known of the life history.
One species is known from the South-east Asian mainland and one further from
Sundaland, but three taxa are found only in Borneo or Borneo plus Palawan.
Philippines taxa such as philippina Rothschild, semperi Rothschild and
(+ var. baletana) Schultze may be allied to nymphaliaria, the Sundanian species,
but males are unknown and will be needed to establish the true status of these
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