Belciana Walker, 1862

Behounek, G., Han, H. L. & Kononenko, V. S., 2015, A revision of the genus Belciana Walker, 1862 with description of three new species (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae: Pantheinae) from East and South East Asia. Revision of Pantheinae, contribution XII, Zootaxa 4027 (3), pp. 341-365: 342-343

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Belciana Walker, 1862


Genus Belciana Walker, 1862 

Belciana Walker, 1862  , Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Zoology) 6: 182. Type-species: Dandaca biformis Walker, 1858  , List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum 15: 1671, by monotypy. Holotype: Borneo, Sarawak (NHM).

Synonymy: Nalca Walker, 1866  , List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum 35: 1983, unnecessary replacement name.

References: Nye 1975: 77; Poole 1998: 160; Holloway 2009: 18.

Diagnosis. Medium sized moth, wingspan 34-46 mm, resembling species of Donda  and Belciades Kozhanchikov, 1950  ( Behounek & Kononenko 2011 a, 2011 b). Eyes naked, labial palps moderate long with long third segment; venation of forewing quadrifine type (vein M 2 in hindwing well developed). The colouration and wing pattern are very similar and uniform in all species of the genus. Forewing cryptic pale bluish-green, saladgreen or grassy green; wing pattern is somewhat similar to Belciades  (Behounek & Kononenko 2011 b) represented by brown subbasal field, one or two brown patches in costal part of medial and subterminal fields and wide brown patch in apical and tornal angles; medial field with thin dark-brown medial line, while in some species it absent or represents by waved white lines. The hindwing is usually dull greyish-brown, paler towards base; in some species with well-defined brownish terminal bands, and often with a series of diffuse medial and submedial fasciae.

In the male genitalia uncus rather slender, arched, apically abrupt, with hook-like spur on the top, or gradually tipped and hooked; tegumen broad, without penicular extensions; juxta shield-like; subuncus present as sclerotised plate. Valva broad, rounded, usually weakly sclerotised, except its central and dorsal parts along costa; the base of valva in most cases membranous, bearing a broad coremata; sacculus small; harpe short, sometimes spine-like. Aedeagus with vesica globular basally, bears moderate to small cornuti. The female genitalia have quadrangular ovipositor; apophyses anteriores and posteriores ones short or moderate in length, usually equal in length; shape of antrum and postvaginal plate vary from species to species, in some cases split or divided for two lobes; ductus bursae short, membranous or with sclerotised patches; corpus bursae sack-like, with variable sclerotised patches in junction with ductus bursae. The shape of antrum and shape of sclerotisation of ductus bursae and caudal part of corpus bursae have special importance for separation of the species in this genus and related groups of Pantheinae  (Behounek & Kononenko 2009). By structure of male and female genitalia the East Asian species of Belciana  could be separated for five species groups: biformis  -group [ B. biformis  , B. hemodoides Holloway, 2009  , B. sulawesiana  sp. n., B. sp. (Irian Jaya), and B. sp. (Lombok I.)], pratti  -group ( B. pratti  and B. hreblayi  sp. n.), prasina  -group [( B. prasina  and B. bicolor Wileman & West, 1929  )], hemodi  -group [( B. hemodi  , B. sp. ( China, Shaanxi) and B. pinratanai  sp. n.)] and scorpio  -group ( B. scorpio Galsworthy, 1997  ).

The genus Belciana  is a member of East Asian Pantheinae  generic group including genera Belciades  , Donda, Anabelcia  , Viridistria  and Diphteroides, which could be characterised by green or greenish wing colouration with rather similar cryptic patterns. The genus Belciana  has predominantly a South-East Asiatic distribution, with thirteen species known from Central and South China, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia in the continental part, and in Sundaland, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea where it is apparently more diverse, represented by isolated endemic species in the remote islands. Similar to many other Pantheinae  , the species of Belciana  are rather rare in the collections; therefore the records of the new species are expected in further entomological exploration of South East Asia and especially its island part.

Note. In the course of the present study we examined all known species of the genus Diphteroides (typespecies Diphteroides kenricki Bethune-Baker, 1906  ) described or referred as Belciana  . This genus includes seven species [ D. kenricki Bethune-Baker, 1906  , D. caerulea (Hampson, 1926)  comb. n., D. habroscia ( Prout, 1924)  comb. n., D. patricolor ( Prout, 1924)  comb. n., D. serrata Bethune-Baker, 1906  , D. subserrata ( Prout, 1924)  comb. n.] distributed exclusively in New Guinea, and D. sophronia ( Prout, 1924)  comb. n. known from Indonesia (Sumatra). Despite the external similarity of some species to Belciana  , particularly the bluish-green ground colour of forewing and certain elements of the wing pattern resembling those of Belciana  , the genus Diphteroides well differs from the latter genus by structure of male and female genitalia. The imago of the type-species, Diphteroides kenricki  , and its male and female genitalia are illustrated here ( Figs 30, 31View FIGURES 25 – 31, 42View FIGURES 41 – 45). The male genitalia of D. kenricki  have simply straight uncus, strongly sclerotised tegumen with characteristic for the genus long lateral spines; strongly sclerotised narrow valva with strong costa, plate-like digitus, strong comb-like clasper with short wide and rounded harpe; the vesica of aedeagus bulbous, bearing a small patch of short cornuti at junction with aedeagus. The female has complex strongly sclerotised antrum, short sclerotised and ribbed ductus bursae and elongate corpus bursae. Herewith we confirm the separation of Diphteroides from Belciana  which has been done by Holloway (2009).