ACTIAS Leach, 1815

Actias Leach, 1815, in Leach & Nodder, Zool. Miscell. 2: 25.

Type species: Actias luna (Linnaeus, 1758).

A Holarctic genus comprising about 18 species, of which two or three occur in North America and the rest in the eastern Palaearctic and Oriental regions.

HOSTPLANT FAMILIES: Many trees and shrubs.


ACTIAS SELENE (Hübner, [1810]) -- Indian Moon Moth

Actias selene (Hübner, [1810]), Samml. exot. Schmett. 1: 3, fig. 1.

(Taxonomic note. Many of the subspecies assigned to this species in the past have now been given specific status. [See notes on distribution for details.])


ACTIAS SELENE EBERTI Rougeot, 1969

Actias selene eberti Rougeot, 1969, Entomops 2(13): 165.

Type locality: Safed Koh, Sud, Kotkai, eastern Afghanistan.


BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

Holarctic; eastern Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- Sindian refuge.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan 116--122mm. Similar to the nominate form, but wings more blue-green with very reduced chocolate and cream eyespots. Body white, banded horizontally with purple-brown in line with the costa, which is of a similar colour. The 60mm hindwing tails are yellowish, with some pink. Males have more falcate wings than females.


Female Actias selene selene, India. Photo: © Tony Pittaway.

ADULT BIOLOGY

This nocturnal species inhabits open landscapes with scattered trees and shrubs up to 2400m altitude.


FLIGHT-TIME

Probably univoltine, with adults on the wing from mid to late June.


EARLY STAGES

Unknown, but probably the same as the nominate subspecies (see Gardiner, 1982 & below images).


Eggs of Actias selene selene, India. Photo: © Tony Pittaway.
Third instar larva Actias selene selene, Kunming, Yunnan, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Final instar larva Actias selene selene, Kunming, Yunnan, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway.

Hostplants. The nominate subspecies feeds on many species of tree and shrubs, and so may subsp. eberti.


PARASITOIDS

Unknown.


DISTRIBUTION

An eastern Palaearctic species which just penetrates the region in eastern Afghanistan, having been found in the Safed Koh mountain range, Nangarhar Province.

Extra-limital range. None.


OTHER SUBSPECIES

Only three -- selene Hübner, omeishana Watson and seitzi Kalis. These are distributed from northwestern India east to the Philippines, and from China south to Java and Sri Lanka.

The following, formally regarded as subspecies of Actias selene (or Actias artemis (Bremer & Grey)), are now treated as distinct species: Actias ningpoana Felder & Felder, Actias rhodopneuma Röber, Actias callandra Jordan, Actias laotiana Testout, Actias felicis Oberthür, Actias sinensis Walker, Actias gnoma (Butler), Actias dubernardi Oberthür, Actias appollo Röber, and Actias aliena (Butler).

A recent analysis of this group in the Russian Far East is given by Zolotuhin (2011).



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