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Amerila astreus Drury  
Sphinx astreus Drury, 1773, Illust. nat. Hist. exot. Insects 2: 49, p1. 28.
Phalaena melanthus Cramer, 1780, Uitl. Kapellen 3: 286.
Rhodogastria astreus curtisi Rothschild, 1910, Novit. zool. 17: 185.
Rhodogastria astreus Drury; Holloway, 1976: 5; Barlow, 1982: 75.

Amerila astreus

This and the next species are externally very similar but for the dorsal part of the abdomen. This is entirely pink in astreus but only apically so in omissa. In omissa the aedeagus vesica is relatively much longer basal to the lobe bearing the cornuti; and the basal part of the juxta is more complex, partly divided into two.

Taxonomic note. The Sundanian race is curtisi Rothschild; an account of the subspecies by that author can be found in Seitz Gross-Schmett. Erde 10: 261 (1914).

Geographical range. Indian Subregion to S. China, Sundaland and the Philippines, Moluccas and New Guinea.

Habitat preference. The species was recorded from the lowlands to 2000m on G. Kinabalu, and a similar altitude range was noted during the survey of the G. Mulu National Park.

Biology. The life history has been described by Bell (MS). The egg is shiny white, a very pale yellow, microscopically pitted and highly domed. They are laid singly.

The young larva is green, living on the underside of leaves. Later instars are green with orange heads, black verrucae and hairs. The final, sixth instar has a cylindrical to slightly fusiform body. The head is light yellow, tinged greenish, with white setae. The body surface is smooth, dull, the segments well marked, light grass-green in colour, with black verrucae giving rise to conical tufts of white setal hairs, the dorsolateral tufts of T2, T3 and the posterior abdominal segments being twice the length of the rest. The larvae become pink before pupation which is in a cocoon incorporating earth particles on the ground.

Bell gave as host plants Dioscorea (Dioscoreaceae), Smilax (Smilacaceae), Ixora (Rubiaceae), and Marsdenia (Asclepiadaceae). The species has also been recorded from Beaumontia (Apocynaceae) by Sevastopulo (1940).

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