View Image Gallery of Family Lasiocampidae

Gastropacha Ochsenheimer

Type species: quercifolia Linnaeus.

Synonyms: Estigena Moore (type species pardale Walker); Stenophylloides Hampson (type species sikkima Moore); Tauscheria Bryk (type species muscovit Bryk (= africana Holland).

This is probably the most widespread lasiocampid genus, extending throughout the Old World to Sulawesi.

The genera Sporostigena Bethune-Baker and Isostigena Bethune-Baker from New Guinea are externally very similar to some Oriental Gastropacha taxa but have distinctive genitalic features (see comments below under Micropacha Roepke).

The genus typifies the subfamily Gastropachinae, best defined by the unusual development of venation in the humeral area, with many humeral veins arising in sequence from vein Sc, which itself forms a large cell with Rs basal to the point of contact (Fig. 3). When the insect is at rest this portion protrudes well beyond the costa of the forewing to give a cryptic 'dead leaf ' effect; it is the most strongly patterned area of the hindwings for this reason.

Figure 3. Hindwing venation of Lasiocampidae: left, most frequent South-east Asian configuration (paralebeda); top right, gastropachine configuration (Gastropacha leopoldi), with numerous humeral veins anterior to Sc, and a major additional cell between Sc and Rs; bottom right, Syrastrena, with rather basal humeral veins, otherwise similar to Paralebeda.

The Oriental members of the genus were reviewed by Tams (1935) and Lajonquière (1976, 1977a). Both these authors defined the genus on characteristics of genitalia. In the male the tegumen is divided into two lobes, each bearing a large spine. The valve is associated with the vinculum over much of its length and gives rise to a dorsal lobe and a ventral spur, the latter usually serrate. The juxta consists of a pair of long, acute, serrate processes anterior to the ventral process of the valve. The aedeagus vesica bears one or more clusters of cornuti. The eighth sternite is only weakly modified, usually in the form of slight expansion and heavier sclerotisation (pardale).

The larva of the type species was described by Carter (1984). The head and body are extensively covered with secondary setae. The prothorax has raised lateral tubercles bearing a brush of forward-directed setae. All segments have large subventral tubercles bearing downward-directed setae forming 'lappets'. The meso- and metathorax have saddle-like dorsal plates bearing broad, pointed scale-like setae. Pupation is in a large, elongate silken cocoon in which larval hairs are embedded.

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