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0. Sphenarches anisodactylus identification features 1a. Aranda, ACT, 20 February 2010 1b. Aranda, ACT, 20 February 2010 1c. Aranda, ACT, 20 February 2010 1d. Worba Park, QLD - Image copyright Nick Monaghan 3a. Type specimen of Pterophorus diffusalis Walker, 1864

Sphenarches anisodactylus (Walker, 1864)


  • Oxyptilus anisodactylus Walker, 1864[1][2]
  • Pterophorus diffusalis Walker, 1864[1][2]
  • Sphenarches synophrys Meyrick, 1886[1][2]
  • Sphenarches croesus Strand, 1913[1][2]
  • Megalorhipida rishwani Makhan, 1994[1]
  • Pselnophorus dolichos Matsumura, 1931[2]
  • Sphenarches caffer auctt.[2]

Meyrick[3] accepted a suggestion from Lord Walsingham that Sphenarches anisodactylus is a synonym for Sphenarches caffer (interpreted to be an error based on authors identifying specimens as caffer which do not match the type for that species):

Sphenarches caffer, Z.

Oxyptilus caffer, Z., Linn. Ent., vi., 348, Caff., 118; 0. anisodactylus, Walk., 934; 0. Walkeri, Wlsm., Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1881, 279; Sphenarches synophrys_, Meyr., Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1886, 17.

Also from Sydney, New South Wales; one specimen in February. I am indebted to the kindness of Lord Walsingham for calling my attention to the above synonymic identification, in which, after examination of his specimens, I fully agree. The range of the species therefore extends from South and West Africa through Ceylon to Australia and the South Pacific Islands.


Walker[4] described the Australian type specimen of Pterophorus diffusalis:

Male. Pale ochraceous. Head, abdomen and legs mostly whitish. Fore wings with a white band at a little beyond two-thirds of the length, and with a white transverse submarginal line; a few black hairs on the fringe of each cleft. Hind wings with several black squamous hairs near the tip of the third or hindmost plume, which is very slender. Length of the body 5 lines; of the wings 12 lines.

a, b. Moreton Bay. From Mr Diggles' collection.

Walker[4] also described the type specimen of Oxyptilus anisodactylus:

Male and female. Dull pale ochraceous. Hind tibiae blackish about the base of the spurs. Fore wings with two indistinct darker bands, with a whitish subcostal dot at one-third of the length and with a larger and more distinct whitish costal dot at two-thirds of the length; a whitish oblique submarginal line. Hind plume of the hind wings fringed with black for one fourth of the length near the tip. Length of the body 5 lines; of the wings 10 lines.

a, b. Ceylon. From M. Nietner's collection.

Life Cycle

Cassani et al.[5] describe the life history and immature stages.

Larval host plants[1][6]:

  • Acanthaceae: Brillantaisia lamium (Nees) Benth. (on inflorescence)
  • Asteraceae: Centratherum punctatum Cass.; Eupatorium betonicaeforme (DC.) Baker
  • Cucurbitaceae: Cucurbita pepo L.; Lagenaria Ser.; Lagenaria leucantha (syn. Lagenaria siceraria, syn. Lagenaria vulgaris) (on flowers); Lagenaria leucantha var. clavata Makino; Lagenaria leucantha var. gourda Makino; Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.
  • Euphorbiaceae: Caperonia St.-Hil. (on flowers); Caperonia castaneifolia (L.) St.-Hil.; Caperonia regalis (auct.)
  • Fabaceae: Cajanus DC.; Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. (syn. Cajanus bicolor, syn. Cajanus indicus) (on flowers and pods); Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet (syn. Dolichos lablab L.) (in seeds); Mimosa pudica; Phaseolus L.; Phaseolus vulgaris L.
  • Geraniaceae: Geranium L. (on flowers); Geranium maculatum L.; Pelargonium L'Hér ex Aiton (on flower buds and flowers)
  • Lamiaceae: Mentha piperata L.
  • Malvaceae: Hibiscus mutabilis L. (on flowers); Theobroma cacao L.
  • Marantaceae: Thalia geniculata L. (on flowers)
  • Orchidaceae: (on flowers)
  • Oxalidaceae: Averrhoe bilimbi L. (on flowers and leaves); Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC. (on flowers)
  • Passifloraceae: Passiflora foetida L. (on green bracts of flowers and young fruits)
  • Scrophulariaceae: Antirrhinum majus L. (on flowers)
  • Verbenaceae: Lantana L.; Lantana camara L.


  • Life Unseen - image of Sphenarches anisodactylus by Nick Monaghan


  1. Gielis, C., 2003a, World Catalogue of Insects, Volume 4, Pterophoroidea & Alucitoidea (Lepidoptera) (198 pp., Apollo Books, Stenstrup)
  2. Schaffer, M. & Nielsen, E.S., 1996, Pterophoridae, pp. 157-158, in Nielsen, E.S., Edwards, E.D. & Rangsi, T.V. (eds.), Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, Volume 4, Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia (529 pp., CSIRO, Collingwood)
  3. Meyrick, E., 1887, On Pyralidina from Australia and the South Pacific. (Transactions of The Entomological Society of London 1887: 185-268) - BHL
  4. Walker, F., 1864, List of the specimens of lepidopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum 30. Lepidoptera Heterocera: pp. 926-953 (London) - Google
  5. Cassani, J.R., Habeck, D. H. & Matthews, D. L., 1990, Life History and Immature Stages of a Plume Moth Sphenarches anisodactylus (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) in Florida (The Florida Entomologist, Vol. 73, No. 2, pp. 257-266) - JSTOR
  6. Matthews, D.L. & Lott, T.A., 2005, Larval Hostplants of the Pterophoridae (Lepidoptera: Pterophoroidea) (Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute Volume 76) (324 pp., American Entomological Institute, Gainesville)


newtopic Attach files

I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
0._Sphenarches_anisodactylus_identification.jpgjpg 0._Sphenarches_anisodactylus_identification.jpg manage 108 K 2010-02-26 - 15:52 DonaldHobern 0. Sphenarches anisodactylus identification features
1a-Aranda-20100220.jpgjpg 1a-Aranda-20100220.jpg manage 511 K 2010-02-21 - 23:38 DonaldHobern 1a. Aranda, ACT, 20 February 2010
1b-Aranda-20100220.jpgjpg 1b-Aranda-20100220.jpg manage 467 K 2010-02-21 - 23:39 DonaldHobern 1b. Aranda, ACT, 20 February 2010
1c-Aranda-20100220.jpgjpg 1c-Aranda-20100220.jpg manage 528 K 2010-02-21 - 23:40 DonaldHobern 1c. Aranda, ACT, 20 February 2010
1d-WorbaPark-200706.jpgjpg 1d-WorbaPark-200706.jpg manage 99 K 2010-02-21 - 23:43 DonaldHobern 1d. Worba Park, QLD - Image copyright Nick Monaghan
3a._Type_specimen_of_Pterophorus_diffusalis_Walker_1864.jpgjpg 3a._Type_specimen_of_Pterophorus_diffusalis_Walker_1864.jpg manage 693 K 2010-02-25 - 14:39 DonaldHobern 3a. Type specimen of Pterophorus diffusalis Walker, 1864