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Teldenia Moore

Type species: alba Moore, Sri Lanka.

The genus was reviewed by Wilkinson (1967), who described numerous new species. It consists of small, pure white species without a falcate apex to the forewings. The wing pattern consists of variations on a theme of irregularly punctate or lunulate postmedials and submarginals in buff, rufous or dark brown, and a series of marginal dark brown lunules. The postmedial often consists of a double row of markings, the outer component paler than the inner. In some species there are antemedial marks also.

The male abdomen has the eighth tergite much larger than the sternite, both variable in form, often distally bifid or bilobed. The uncus can be entire or divided; the socii are digitate, setose, arising from a ventral position on the tegumen rather than laterally. The valves are simple, digitate to broad, with processes from the costa in a few species. The aedeagus vesica usually has several cornuti, often short, thornlike.

In the female, the ovipositor lobes are complex, usually divided, the ventral part often with a papillate lateral extension. The ductus is long, sometimes convolute, variable in width, terminating in a relatively small, globular or pyriform bursa that lacks a signum.

The larva of the type species was illustrated by Moore (1883-1884), who described it as having tubercles anteriorly and posteriorly: a slender dorsal process on T3 and also a long, tapering anal process. The head is cleft dorsally, purple in colour. The body is green with subdorsal rows of purple spots and lateral ones of black spots. The pupa is green with black stripes.

Bell (MS) reared an Indian species, T. vestigiata Butler. It was similar to that described by Moore: the process on T3 is apically bifid, the more posterior on A8 consists of two slightly curved, digitate processes. The suranal process is almost half the length of the rest of the body, slender and flexed upwards at a subbasal node. The colour is variable, pinkish-brown to greenish grey with a darker dorsal line, or diagonal lateral variegation in brown. The processes can be ringed broadly with yellow. The pupa has a long, slender cremaster, with three pairs of hooks apically and subapically, and a fourth at two thirds.

The larvae let themselves down on silks from the host tree when about to pupate, and spin a silken network on leaves in the undergrowth to shape them into cradles wherein they pupate on a rough silken pad, held by the cremaster, with the network above them. The adults emerge after only about three days, the pupa then protruding up through the covering network.

The host-plants recorded by Bell were Hopea (Dipterocarpaceae) and possibly (pupating larvae found beneath the tree) Grewia (Tiliaceae); Moore noted Eugenia (Myrtaceae). Teldenia pura Warren has been reared in New Guinea from Terminalia (Combretaceae) (unpublished IIE records).

The genus ranges throughout the Indo-Australian tropics but has its centre of diversity in New Guinea where a possible sister-genus, Argodrepana Wilkinson, also occurs: the genus Ditrigona Moore, discussed next, is also related.

There are approximately thirty species, divided by Wilkinson into four species-groups. Two species occur in Borneo, one from each of the Oriental and most widespread species groups. One is also the most widespread individual species. The other two species groups are predominantly Australasian. However, these groups are not all strongly supported by the similarity matrix generated by Wilkinson (see also Wilkinson (1970b)). No cladistic treatment of Wilkinson's character matrices has been attempted.

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