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1 July 2006 Not a Tiger but a Dagger: The Larva of Comachara cadburyi and Reassignment of the Genus to Acronictinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
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Abstract

Comachara cadburyi Franclemont has been classified as a sarrothripine (Noctuidae), lithosiine (Arctiidae), and afridine (Nolidae). Larval morphology and behavior indicate a close phylogenetic relationship with Polygrammate hebraeicum Hübner, an acronictine noctuid. The egg and larva of Comachara are described and illustrated with line drawings and scanning electron micrographs. Photographs of last instars of both Comachara and Polygrammate are provided. Larval feeding and pupation habits of C. cadburyi are briefly described and compared with those of Polygrammate. Larvae of both Polygrammate and Comachara exhibit a dramatic coloration change in the last instar, transitioning from a green phase to a mottled, steely gray form. As the color change progresses, the larva ceases feeding and enters a wandering phase, during which it seeks out wood in which to pupate. Interpretation of L group setal homologies on the ninth abdominal segment is briefly addressed. Comachara provides a poignant example of the importance of immatures in elucidating phylogeny—adult features of Comachara misled a number of the twentieth century century’s finest lepidopterists.

David L. Wagner, Eric W. Hossler, and Fred E. Hossler "Not a Tiger but a Dagger: The Larva of Comachara cadburyi and Reassignment of the Genus to Acronictinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)," Annals of the Entomological Society of America 99(4), (1 July 2006). https://doi.org/10.1603/0013-8746(2006)99[638:NATBAD]2.0.CO;2
Received: 7 February 2003; Accepted: 1 January 2006; Published: 1 July 2006
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