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Volume 48, 1915
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Art XLI.—Description of a New Species of Melanchra from Mount Egmont.

[Read before the Wanganui Philosophical Society, 1st November, 1915.]

Melanchra olivea n. sp.

Expanse of wings slightly under 1 ¾ m. The antennae of the male are deeply serrated, with the serrations finely ciliated. The forewings are very rich brown, strongly tinged with claret-colour; there is a short blackish-brown basal streak, very broad at the base; the first line is slightly curved oblique, extending from ¼ of costa to ⅓ of dorsum; the claviform is large; the orbicular is large, oval, oblique, not closed towards the costa; the reniform very large, ear-shaped, also open towards the costa, and inwardly edged with whitish towards the termen; both reniform and orbicular are sharply outlined in very dark rich brown; there is also a darker brownish cloud between them; the second line is rich brown finely waved, indistinct except towards the dorsum; the subterminal line is rusty-brown, obscurely edged with whitish ochreous; the terminal area is obscurely clouded with blackish; the hindwings are dark brown, paler towards the base.

The type specimen was captured in the early part of January, 1915, and was the only specimen obtained during that trip.* The food plant of this species is not yet known. It may be worth noting here that very few of the large-bodied moths were seen till about 9 p.m, after which time they would be flying m numbers. This happened every night and with great punctuality. Curious, too, the light-bodied moths, which were not attracted by light, though plentiful before 9 p.m, would then become very scarce.

[Footnote] * Since writing the above I have obtained a good series of this moth from Mount Egmont during a short trip m January, 1916. These were all caught at light on the veranda of the Mountain House (altitude, 3,000 ft.). During this trip the female was caught. It is a beautiful moth, with the antennae simple, expanse of wings greater, colour richer, and markings more distinct than in the male. I have lately seen the collection of Mr George Howes, of Dunedin, and was surprised to find a series of a moth which appears to be the southern form of M. olivea. The striking points are: Palpi densely covered with grey hair; foreuings uniformly bluish-grey with markings generally red-brown; outer margin of reniform strongly bent inwards. It is interesting to note that two specimens of this latter form were caught on Egmont during the January, 1916, trip. I had considered these to belong to a new species till I saw the intermediate varieties in Howes's collection.