Saturniidae of Nepal
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compiled by Wolfgang A. Nässig

Recent treatises on the Saturniidae of Nepal were published by M. Allen in 1993 and within the publication series “Moths of Nepal” of Japanese authors (1992–1998):
M. Allen (1993): Marvellous moths of Nepal
Know Nepal Series no. 6. (Edited by Trilok Chandra Majupuria, Kathmandu [Nepal]; published by Rohit Kumar, Lashkar/Gwalior [India]; printed by Craftsman Press, Bangkok [Thailand]), 72 pp., col. ill., ISBN 974-7315-46-7 

Also available from Erich BAUER, Antiquariat Goecke & Evers.

To this book the following corrections have to be made (see below). — Allen listed a total of 22 species of Saturniidae found by him in nepal, with a few misidentifications and printer’s errors in the legends.

M. Allen (1993)
T. Haruta (founding editor, †):
Moths of Napal
Part 1 (1992), Part 2 (1993), Part 3 (1994), Part 4 (1995), Part 5 (1998)

There is no complete checklist of Nepalese Saturniidae provided thus far by the authors; in the 5 contributions listed below they counted 20 species, with several misidentifications.
  • T. Haruta (1992): Moths of Nepal, Part 1, Saturniidae. — Tinea, Tokyo, 13, Suppl. 2: 93–94, pl. 25/26.
  • T. Haruta (1993): [Addenda to part 1], Saturniidae. — Tinea, Tokyo, 13, Suppl. 3: 147, pl. 63.
  • T. Haruta (1994): Saturniidae. — Tinea, Tokyo, 14, Suppl. 1: 159, pl. 93.
  • T. Haruta (1995): [Higher altitude moths and addenda to parts 1–3], Saturniidae. — Tinea, Tokyo, 14, Suppl. 2: 89, pl. 104.
  • Y. Kishida (1998): [Moths from central and western Nepal], Saturniidae. — Tinea, Tokyo, 15, Suppl. 1: 39–40, pl. 134.
Also available from Erich BAUER, Antiquariat Goecke & Evers.

To these books the following corrections have to be made (see below).

Moths of Nepal
Additional information see in Brechlin (1997).

The following species of Saturniidae
are presently known from Nepal:
Systematic arrangement according to the order used in the more recent Sumatran and Philippine Saturniidae faunas. Additions or changes in comparison to the literature are listed and explained in footnotes following the list. The systematics and nomenclature applied here are therefore not identical with the original treatments! — See also the disclaimer below. — References see at the end.

Based on the present knowledge, we count at least 27 species of Saturniidae in Nepal (there are most likely more).

Superfamily Bombycoidea Latreille, 1802
Family Saturniidae Boisduval, 1837 (“1834”)
Subfamily Salassinae Michener, 1949
Genus Salassa Moore, 1859 (see footnote 1)

Subfamily Saturniinae Boisduval, 1837 (“1834”)

Tribe Attacini Blanchard, 1840
Genus Attacus Linnaeus, 1767

Attacus atlas (Linnaeus, 1758)
Genus Archaeoattacus Watson, 1914 (see footnote 2)
Archaeoattacus edwardsii (White, 1859)
Genus Samia Hübner, [1819] 1816
most likely more than one species, yet unidentified (see footnote 3)
Tribe Saturniini Boisduval, 1837 (“1834”)
Genus Rhodinia Staudinger, 1892
Rhodinia newara Moore, 1872 (see footnote 4)
Genus Actias Leach, 1815
Actias maenas (Doubleday, 1847)
Actias selene (Hübner, 1806)
Genus Saturnia Schrank, 1802
Subgenus Rinaca Walker, 1855 (see footnote 5)
Saturnia (Rinaca) zuleika Hope, 1843
Saturnia (Rinaca) thibeta Westwood, 1853
Saturnia (Rinaca) simla Westwood, 1847
Saturnia (Rinaca) cachara Moore, 1872
Saturnia (Rinaca) witti Brechlin, 1997 (see footnote 6)
Saturnia (Rinaca) anna Moore, 1865 (see footnote 7)
Saturnia (Rinaca) lindia Moore, 1865 (see footnote 8)
Saturnia (Rinaca) grotei Moore, 1859
Subgenus Saturnia Schrank, 1802
Saturnia (Saturnia) pyretorum Westwood, 1847(?)  (see footnote 9)
Genus Loepa Moore, 1859
Loepa miranda Moore, 1865

Loepa katinka (Westwood, 1847)
Loepa diversiocellata Bryk, 1944
Loepa sikkima sikkima Moore, 1865 (see footnote 10)

Genus Cricula Walker, 1855
Cricula trifenestrata (Helfer, 1837) (see footnote 11)
Genus Antheraea Hübner, 1819 [“1816”]
Subgenus Antheraeopsis Wood-Mason, 1886
Antheraea (Antheraeopsis) spec.  (see footnote 12)
Subgenus Antheraea Hübner, 1819 [“1816”]
Antheraea (Antheraea) frithi Moore, 1859
Antheraea (Antheraea) mylitta (Drury, 1773) (see footnote 13)
Antheraea (Antheraea) helferi Moore, 1892 (see footnote 14)
Antheraea (Antheraea) (pernyi) roylii roylii Moore, 1865  (see footnote 15)
Possible further species of Saturniidae in Nepal:
Many of the species known from the North Indian Himalaya might also be detected in Nepal. Collecting at light in Nepal still was not yet done in all areas of the country at all times of the year, and we expect several further taxa to be discovered. Even the discovery of totally new species might not yet be ruled out, see Brechlin (1997).


Important Note/Disclaimer: Any taxonomic changes proposed here within this web page are not proposed as valid taxonomic acts in accordance with the Code; they are only suggestions to promote the ongoing discussion among the specialists. Real changes must await a publication in print.

Additional references see below!

  1. It is possible that there may be more species of the subfamily and genus living in Nepal than those listed by Allen and the Japanese authors cited here. For example, it can be expected that one of the “big reddish” species of the genus Salassa may be found in Nepal.  — Back.
  2. The species of the genus Archaeoattacus are sometimes misplaced in Attacus, but Archaeoattacus appears to be more closely related to Samia than to Attacus.  — Back.
  3. The valid names for the species of Samia living in Nepal remain to be assessed; a revision of the whole genus is in preparation by R.S. Peigler and S. Naumann. — Back.
  4. See also corrections below. — Back.
  5. The subdivisions of the genus Saturnia follow Nässig (1994). Caligula Moore, 1862 is senior objective synonym of Dictyoploca Jordan, 1911. The name Caligula was used in subjective synonymy to Rinaca Walker, 1855 as a subgenus of Saturnia Schrank, 1802 by Nässig (1994). — Back.
  6. This species was described by Brechlin (1997). It is the Himalayan representative of the boisduvalii/jonasi species-group, known from the type locality and close localities in the Nepalese Ganesh Himal area thus far only.  — Back.
  7. These three species grotei, lindia and anna make up, together with some further taxa in China, the monophyletic grotei-group from the Himalaya, Tibet and further to the east. — Back.
  8. This species was not listed by Allen (1993), but listed and illustrated by Haruta (1995). — Back.
  9. This species was placed in the subgenus Eriogyna Jordan, 1913. However, Nässig (1994) synonymized Eriogyna with Saturnia (Saturnia). — The true identities of the Himalayan members of the subgenus remain to be assessed. — Back.
  10. This species was listed by Allen (1993) and Haruta (1994), but the illustrations provided showed other species. We expect that the true L. sikkima will be found to live within the political borders of Nepal, but the specimens illustrated thus far are other taxa. For further misidentifications in this genus, see below (under Allen and the Japanese authors).  — Back.
  11. The specimens of the genus Cricula illustrated by Allen and Haruta may be trifenestrata, but for a safe determination the specimens must be dissected. The additional presence in Nepal of C. andrei seems to be likely. — Back.
  12. This species was illustrated by Allen (1993) under the name “Antheraea assamensis Helfer, 1837”. The true A. (Ao.) assamensis is indeed a Himalayan species, but the identity of the specimens illustrated remains to be assessed. (Studies are in preparation, see under the website  — Back.
  13. Allen (1993: fig. 40.c) figured a specimen which evidently is A. mylitta under the name of A. frithi. The female figured by him in fig. 40.d might either be A. frithi or A. mylitta, while the specimen figured in his fig. 41.b most likely really is A. frithi.  — Back.
  14. A. helferi was listed for Nepal by Haruta (1992), but the specimen illustrated by him is not that species (recte: A. roylii). However, it is quite likely that A. helferi might also be found in Nepal.  — Back.
  15. An orange colour form of A. roylii was misidentified by Haruta (1992) as “A. helferi”. — This species is, for a special elevation range and series of vegetational zones, the most common Antheraea species in the whole eastern Himalaya range, thus also in Nepal. — Back.

The publications of Allen (1993) and Haruta (1992–1995) contain a few misidentifications and errors regarding Saturniidae and Brahmaeidae, which we like to correct here: 

(This text was already published by Nässig & Brechlin in Brechlin 1997: 424; it is supplemented here.)

Corrections for M. Allen (1993)
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  • P. 54: recte Archaeoattacus edwardsii
  • P. 58, fig. 40.c appears to be a male of Antheraea mylitta
  • P. 60/61: Figs. 42.b & 42.c figure Loepa katinka, fig. 44 is L. miranda; L. sikkima is not illustrated. 
  • P. 62, figs. 45.b & 45.c are interchanged, the specimen top right is the female of Rhodinia newara, the specimen bottom right is the male of Cricula sp. (Possibly andrei instead of trifenestrata? This requires dissection.) 
  • P. 63, figs. 46.b & 46.c illustrate Saturnia (Rinaca) zuleika. 
  • P. 65, figs. 48.a & 48.b figure Saturnia (Rinaca) thibeta. 
  • P. 66, figs. 49.a & 49.b are both males, but the question is whether this really is Saturnia (Saturnia) pyretorum or another species; the Nepalese specimens are not yet studied. 
  • P. 68: recte Brahmaea wallichii
  • P. 69: the caterpillar figured on top left is Saturnia zuleika.

Corrections for the Japanese series “Moths of Nepal” (1992–1998)
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Part 1 (Haruta 1992)

  • Plate 25: fig. 1 is Brahmaea hearseyi, fig. 2 is Br. wallichii
  • Plate 25: fig. 5 recte Archaeoattacus edwardsii. 
  • Plate 26, fig. 3 illustrates the orange-brownish form of Antheraea roylei and not A. helferi — we do not doubt that A. helferi may well live in Nepal, but the illustration is clearly misidentified. 
  • Plate 26, fig. 9: As long as the identity of the true cynthia of Drury, 1775 remains obscure (see Peigler 1992), entomologists should be cautious using that name. The specimen illustrated is, most likely, not canningii, but its true identity remains open. 

Part 2 (Haruta 1993)
  • Plate 63: the generic name Dictyoploca is a junior objective synonym and, therefore, must not be used; the best combination would be Saturnia (Rinaca) simla

Part 3 (Haruta 1994)
  • P. 159: The same problems with the spelling of Archaeoattacus edwardsii and the use of Samia “cynthia” already mentioned; a second Samia species (probably canningii, see figure in Allen) lives as well in Nepal. 
  • In spite of the correction by the author, the specimen figured on pl. 26, fig. 2, is utmost likely Loepa katinka (wingshape, fasciae, etc.) and surely not L. sikkima, although we agree that L. sikkima will most likely be found in Nepal as well. 
  • The Loepa figured on pl. 93, fig. 5 is surely not katinka; this worn specimen is most likely L. miranda. In any case, for a safe identification of Loepa species a dissection is inevitable. 

Part 4 (Haruta 1995)
  • No evident corrections. 

Part 5 (Kishida 1998)
  • P. 40:  Misspelling: recte Saturnia, not “Satrunia”.

Additional references
  • Brechlin, R. (1997): Saturnia (Rinaca) witti n. sp., eine neue Saturniide aus Nepal (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). — Nachr. entomol. Ver. Apollo, Frankfurt/Main, N.F. 17 (4): 423–433.
  • Nässig, W. A. (1994): Vorschlag für ein neues Konzept der Gattung Saturnia Schrank 1802 (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). — Nachr. entomol. Ver. Apollo, Frankfurt am Main, N.F. 15 (3): 253–266

© 2000–2002 by W. A. Nässig — compiled & published 30. December 1999–8. May 2000, last changes 18. January 2002
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