NEOGURELCA MONTANA (Rothschild & Jordan, 1915) -- Narrow-banded hawkmoth

Male Neogurelca montana. Photo: © NHMUK

TAXONOMY

Gurelca montana Rothschild & Jordan, 1915, Novit. zool. 22: 289. Type locality: [China,] Tibet [probably western Yunnan/Sichuan].

Synonym. Gurelca montana Rothschild & Jordan, 1915.

Synonym. Gurelca saturata Mell, 1922.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan: 44mm. Upperside of body and forewing silky ashen-grey, without the reddish-brown markings of other species. Forewing with a short, dark, subbasal band bordered on the outer side with white; a dark oblique band from costa towards tornal angle, also bordered on the outer side with white, reaching M3 . The hindwing blackish-brown border less sharply defined than in Neogurelca himachala, strongly broadened at costa, where its inner margin reaches the proximal end of the apical lobe. Apical lobe ashy-bluish, bordered black proximally. Underside: forewing dark brown as far as the postdiscal line at inner angle, the postmedian line thin, brownish-yellow in fresh specimens and ivory-yellow in older ones. Hindwing ashy greyish-brown, anal area pale straw-coloured. Distal margin of forewing more deeply emarginate under M1 than in the other species; inner margin also deeply emarginate before tornal angle; costa of hindwing deeply emarginate (Bell & Scott, 1937).


ADULT BIOLOGY

According to Mell (1922b), this species is fairly common between July and October at 2000-2400m altitude on grassy slopes, but can ascend to over 3300m in Yunnan (ChangQiu Liu, pers. comm 2020).


Resting Neogurelca montana, Dali University, Cangshan, Yunnan, China, 9.xi.2020, 2200m. Photo: © ZhenBang Xu, 2020. Feeding Neogurelca montana, Shangri-La Alpine Botanical Garden, Diqing, Yunnan, China, viii.2017, 3300m. Photo: © ChangQiu Liu.

FLIGHT-TIME

July to October, sometimes into November.


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Unrecorded.

LARVA: According to Bell & Scott (1937, ex Mell), in the final instar horn of medium length, slightly up-curved, tip broadly bifid.

Head green with a white stripe separating face from cheek. Body green with a whitish subdorsal stripe from segment 2 to base of horn and thence on to 13, enclosing a rust-brown dorsal patch behind horn. There are pale oblique lateral stripes, the angles formed by the junction of the oblique stripes with the subdorsal stripe filled in with rusty-red, and the subdorsal stripe edged above with rusty-red near these junctions. Horn slate-colour with a pale ring beyond the middle. True legs reddish venter rust-brown on 2 to 4. Spiracles black with a white, dumbbell-shaped central slit.


Full-grown green form larva of Neogurelca montana. Image: Mell, 1922b

PUPA: Unrecorded.

Larval hostplants. In China on Paederia foetida (Rubiaceae) (Bell & Scott, 1937, ex Mell).


Paederia foetida, CAAS Campus, Beijing, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway.

PARASITOIDS

Unknown.


LOCAL DISTRIBUTION

China: Beijing (Baihua Shan; Zhoukoudian Town, 100m; Beijing Botanical Garden); Hebei; Yunnan (Yanmen; Cangshan (Dali University, 2200m); Diqing (Shangri-La Alpine Botanical Garden, 3300m)).

This species has recently been recorded west of Beijing in the Baihua Shan, Beijing Botanical Garden and Zhoukoudian Town (Taihang Shan, Fangshan District), indicating that it may occur all along the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, from Yunnan to Beijing (ZhenBang Xu, pers. comm. 2020 & 2021). In China, montane populations recorded as Neogurelca himachala sangaica (Butler, [1876]) should be checked carefully to make sure they are not Neogurelca montana.


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

Endemic to southern and central China.


Global distribution of Neogurelca montana. Map: © NHMUK.

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION



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© A.R. Pittaway & I.J. Kitching (The Natural History Museum, London)