Amerila vidua (Cramer)
Male. Fw length 23-26 mm, comparatively broad; fw ochre, central area, from the base to the postdiscal region weakly scaled and partly transparent, suffused with brown scales but not sharply delimited; fw veins finely lined with dark scales, a slightly broader streak along the discal vein; hw pale creamy brown, overall weakly scaled, dark at the apex and with a pinkish tint. Head, thorax, and dorsal base of abdomen greyish ochre; tegulae with a single black spot basally; outer sides of fore and mid femora, tibiae, and tarsi dark brown; outer sides of hind femora and tibiae ochre, inner sides of all legs pinkish red. Abdomen dorsally pink at the base, darker red towards the tip, ventrally pale ochre suffused with pink, without obvious androconial organs.
Female. As male.
|view on leftside of vinculum and valva, lateral view||inner side of right valva||tegumen/uncus, dorsal view||aedeagus with vesica everted|
|Uncus short, triangular, and distally with a small pointed tip. Valvae large, oval-shaped, distally rounded; outer surface with long extrusible, hirsute, tube-like coremata which distally bear a bush of long, broad, spade-like scales; inner sclerotized process short and smooth, curved, and apically pointed. Vesica distally with a small series of small, straight, parallel cornuti of different sizes on a broad papillate appendage.|
West and East Africa; from Sierra Leone to Cameroon and western Zaire; Kenya and Tanzania.
In the past, a conglomerate of species has been treated under this name, but the true identity of vidua remained unclear due to lack of type material. Most previous authors from Walker (1855) and Hampson (1901, 1920) to Goodger & Watson (1995) held the view that all African Amerila specimens with pale brown, partly suffused forewings belong to a single species, which was referred to as A. vidua or as A. mauritia ([Stoll, 1781]), a species described from Mauritius, and with which several other taxa have been synonymized (see Hampson, 1901). From examination of male genitalia during the course of this study, it became clear that in western Africa two common, externally similar, but genitalial distinct species exist, which occur sympatrically over large parts of their range. For A. puella, one of the former junior synonyms, type material allowed to verify the identify of that taxon (see above). As no type material of Cramer's vidua could be found at ITZA nor in any of the other museum collections examined, and the original diagnosis and plate by Cramer (l.c.) could fit either one of the two taxa, a neotype had to be selected to clarify the identity and to stabilize the nomenclature. The species was originally described from the "Cote de Guinée" (l.c.), which would restrict the type locality to western Africa somewhere around the Guinea gulf. A recently collected specimen from Ghana was choosen as neotype because of its good state.
For the differentiation between A. vidua and A. puella see the latter species.
Phalaena vidua Cramer, 1780: 127; pl. 264, fig. C. Neotype male (here designated): West Africa, Ghana, Kakum National Park, nr Cape Coast, 16.04.1995, at Heliotropium bait, M. Boppré # 95-2011 / Genitalia preparation, M.Boppré # 95-059 [presented to BMNH; abdomen dissected]. Type locality: GHANA: Kakum National Park, vicinity of Cape Coast.
Additional material examined. SIERRA LEONE: 1889 (1 male, MNHU); Banana i., i.1873 (1 male, BMNH). GHANA: Ashanti: Kwadoso, 25.+29.v.1995 (2 males, MB), Bobiri, 27.iv.+8.v.1995 (5 males, MB); Anfoega, 1956 (1 male, AMES). CAMEROON: S. of Bafia, xi.-xii.1914 (1 male, MNHU). ZAIRE: Leopoldville [= Kinshasa], iii.1902 (1 male, BMNH). KENYA: Western: Kakamega: Kakamega Forest, 2.-5.vii.1980 (2 males,MB); Coast: Kwale: Shimba Hills, 27.vii.1979 (1 male, MB), 7.-10.vi.1980 (2 males, 1 female, MB), 27.vi.1980 (2 males, MB), 2.-12.vii.1980 (3 males, MB), 10.viii.1982 (1 male, MB). TANZANIA: Tanga: Amani, 10.xi.1905 (1 male, MNHU); Bukoka, 27.xi.1962 (1 male, ZSSM).