RETHERA KOMAROVI STIPULARIS (Swinhoe, 1885)

GB: Madder Hawkmoth, RU: Komarova Brazhnik

Chaerocampa komarovi stipularis Swinhoe, 1885, Trans. ent. Soc. Lond. 18: 346.

Type locality: Chaman, Afghanistan [Pakistan, Baluchistan].


BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

Holarctic; western Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- unclear, probably the eastern half of the Iranian refuge, or Afghan subsection of the Turkestan refuge.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Female Rethera komarovi stipularis, Zeravshan Mountains, Kitab State Geological Reserve, Uzbekistan. Photo: © NHMUK.

Wingspan: 65--81mm. Larger and paler than the nominate subspecies, but not as large or pale as some races of subsp. rjabovi O. Bang-Haas, 1935. The predominant colour of the hindwings is pale orange rather than yellow.


ADULT BIOLOGY

A local subspecies, occurring in well-defined colonies amongst richer than normal vegetation. Forms a cline with subsp. rjabovi where they 'overlap' in range in western Afghanistan. Occurs in mountainous areas on steep, herb- and grass-covered hillsides (between 3000-3750m in Pakistan; 1000-2000m in Kazakhstan), especially those strewn with boulders and grazed by livestock; also on the sides of rocky gullies.


FLIGHT-TIME

Usually the last two weeks of May (e.g. Chaman, Pakistan), with a partial second brood in July/August. In the Boguty Mountains of Kazakhstan (east of Almaty), individuals were taken in late May and early June (Eitschberger & Lukhtanov, 1996); early May (7.v.2012) at 1060m along the Kyzylata River in the Karatau Mountains north of Kentau (Pascal Régnier, pers. comm. 2014). The individuals from northern Pakistan (Hindukush Mountains, 5 km E of Shandur Pass/Teru village) were captured 24-28.vi.2000 at 3000-3750m altitude (T. Melichar, pers. comm. 2013).


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Unknown, but probably as per subsp. rjabovi.

LARVA: Unknown, but probably as per subsp. rjabovi.

Hostplants. Unknown, but probably as per subsp. rjabovi.

PUPA: Unknown, but probably as per subsp. rjabovi.


PARASITOIDS

None recorded.


DISTRIBUTION

Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969), Baluchistan and the Hindukush area of western/northern Pakistan (leg. Z. Varga & G. Ronkay, ex coll. György Fábián, coll. Sphingidae museum of Czech Rep.) (Rafi et al., 2014), southern Uzbekistan (Western Gissar Mountains), Tajikistan (Derzhavets, 1984), Kyrgyzstan (Zardaly region etc.) and southern and eastern Kazakhstan (Eitschberger & Lukhtanov, 1996; Pascal Régnier, pers. comm. 2014; Shovkoon, 2015).

It may have a wider distribution than indicated due to the remote, inaccessible nature of its habitat.

Extra-limital range. None, although it may yet be found in the Chinese portion of the Pamirs and/or Tian Shan.


Global distribution of Rethera komarovi. Map: © Tony Pittaway.

OTHER SUBSPECIES

South-east Europe (northern Greece, Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, western Bulgaria) and western Turkey as subsp. drilon (Rebel & Zerny, 1931). Eastern Turkey, the mountains straddling Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraqi Kurdistan (Wiltshire, 1957), and from northern Iran south along the Zagros Mountains (Barou, 1967; Ghassemi, Alemansoor & Alehossein, 2009) to the rest of central, southern and eastern Iran (and maybe also western Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969)) as subsp. rjabovi O. Bang-Haas, 1935. The Kopet Dag mountains of northeastern Iran and southwestern Turkmenistan as subsp. komarovi (Christoph, 1885).


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