Sphingidae Taxonomic Inventory

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Überlegungen zur Artenvielfalt der wilden Seidenspinner des Malaiischen Archipels, Teil I: Attacini (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2020
Authors:U. Paukstadt, Paukstadt L. H.
Journal:Beiträge zur Kenntnis der wilden Seidenspinner
Start Page:171
Date Published:11/2020

"The Malay Archipelago, also commonly known as Kepulauan Melayu (Malay), Kapuluang Malay (Tagalong), Nusantara (Bahasa), Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia), Spanish East Indies (today Philippines), Indo-Australian Archipelago and largely Maritime Southeast Asia separates the Indian and the Pacific Oceans and separates mainland Asia from Australia, too. The Malay Archipelago of over 25,000 islands and islets is the largest archipelago by area in the world. The land and sea area exceeds 2 million km2. The Malay Archipelago extends in its greatest west-east dimension from the northwestern tip of Sumatra to the southeastern tip of New Guinea for about 6,470 km and its greatest north-south dimension from the Babuyan Islands north of Luzon to Pulau Roti southwesterly of Timor for 3,560 km (distances taken from Google Maps). The Malay Archipelago includes the political units Brunei, East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), East Timor, Indonesia, parts of Papua New Guinea, and finally the Philippines. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the northwest and the Bismarck Archipelago in the east of the Malay Archipelago are excluded. The Malay Peninsula is also not included, although there are close zoogeographical relationships with the southwestern region of the Malay Archipelago. The main islands or archipelagos in Indonesia include the Greater Sunda Islands (Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi), the Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, Flores, Alor Islands, Sumba, and Timor), the Moluccas (Ambon, Seram, Kai Islands, Aru Islands, Tanimbar Islands, Babar Islands, Barat Daya Islands, Buru, Obi, Bacan, and Halmahera), and the western part of New Guinea (only the larger and more commonly known islands were listed). The eastern part of New Guinea forms the state of Papua New Guinea. The main islands in the Philippines are Luzon, Mindanao, and the Visayas. The islands of the Malay Archipelago enclose the Sulu, Sibuyan (also Sibu), Samar, Visayas, Bohol, Celebes, Banda, Molucca, Java, Flores, and Savu Seas. Further Straits (e.g., Luzon, Mindoro, Sunda, Makassar, and Lombok Strait) and Passages (e.g., Apo East, Verde Island, Mompog, Ticao, and Burias Passage) are more or less isolating islands within the Malay Archipelago. The Malay Archipelago is separated from mainland Asia by the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea, from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel and from Australia by the Timor and Arafura Sea and the Torres Strait. Geologically, the western region of the Malay Archipelago (Greater Sunda Islands, excluding Sulawesi) lies on the Sunda Shelf and the eastern region, namely New Guinea and the Aru Archipelago lies on the Sahul Shelf. The Archipelago is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world and part of the approximately 40,000 kilometers long Circum-Pacific-Belt (Ring of Fire) which is characterized by some active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. On the islands of Sumatra, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands volcanic activities produced many volcanoes over 3,000 m, while tectonic uplifts resulted in high mountain ranges on Borneo, including the Mt. Kinabalu (4,095 m) and the Indonesian western part of New Guinea, including Puncak Jaya (4,884 m), Puncak Mandala (4,760 m), and Puncak Trikora (4,750 m). Due to the position of the Malay Archipelago along the Equator the climate throughout the Malay Archipelago is mainly tropical but locally rather complex due to the topography of the islands.
In the past the Sunda and the Sahul Shelf areas of the Malay Archipelago had repeatedly fallen dry to varying degree during the ice-ages. As a result, continental islands of the Sunda Shelf were repeatedly merged with the Asian mainland and those of the Sahul Shelf with Australia, and had separated again during the warm periods. During the ice-ages, the temperatures in the region, which we now call as the Archipelago were significantly lower, which also caused the tree line / snow line to be much lower than today. At least there were glaciers on Borneo, Sumatra and New Guinea. Low temperatures and a different climate had a big impact on the fauna and flora. However, Sulawesi (Celebes) and many islands of the Moluccas and the Lesser Sunda Islands were neither connected to mainland Asia nor to Australia during one of the ice-ages but smaller islands in this region were occasionally connected to each other forming either land bridges or allow island hopping due to the fact that distances between islands and also between islands and nearby continents became much shorter. This led to the emergence of two major distribution areas for fauna and flora in the Malay Archipelago, namely the Oriental Region in the western part and the Australian Region in the eastern part of the Archipelago, respectively. Though Sulawesi, the central region of the Moluccas, and the Lesser Sunda Islands were neither connected to the Sunda Shelf nor to the Sahul Shelf an influence from both large regions is evident today. This is a so called buffer zone, a transitional zone, which can be characterized by a mixture of Asian and Australian fauna and flora elements, consequently with a very high percentage of endemic species. The naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace noticed during his scientific exploration of the southern portion of the Malay Archipelago (1854 to 1862), a clear division of Asian and Australian species. He has drawn a line which runs at sea through the Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia), between Borneo and Sulawesi in the north and between Bali and Lombok in the south. This line was named Wallace’s Line by the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley and separates the Biogeographical realms of Asia and Wallacea. The Wallace’s Line was modified by Huxley (he included the Philippines except Palawan) and Mayr (he excluded the Philippines). The Wallacea is the transitional zone in between the Wallace’s Line and the Lydekker Line. The Lydekker Line mostly follows the border of the Sahul Shelf. The Australian genus Eucalyptus does not cross the Wallace’s Line but remaining flora does not follow this line to the same extent as the fauna does. Small rodents and plants whose seeds cannot tolerate sea-water were not able to cross even narrow water barriers between islands. Since the wild silkmoths only live for a few days, their mobility is very limited. If there has been any long-distance dispersal possible in the past, then only via land or land bridges, due to island hopping, or in certain large weather situations with the help of (rather by chance) winds such as monsoon winds or trade winds. Accidental carry-over during the migration waves of humans together with their agricultural plants would also be possible for certain species and, of course, a targeted spread of individual wild silkmoth species in the context of other use (i.g., silk production, food, and other products).
The following facts obviously played an important role in the extraordinarily high biodiversity of the Saturniidae of the Malay Archipelago: low mobility due to the short-lived nature of the imagines, repeated connections of the continental islands to mainland Southeast Asia and Australia via dry continental shelf regions during the ice-ages caused by much lower sea level, as well as repeated isolations of the same continental islands from the mainlands due to rising sea levels during the warm periods, repeated temporary emergences of land bridges and temporary opportunities for island hopping during or just after the ice-ages, drastic changes in the flora during the ice-ages and post-glacials, the special geographical location of individual islands or archipelagos, the topography of the islands, climatic conditions, and finally more important the insular isolation of individual islands or archipelagos. Major volcanic eruptions in the past, e.g. Toba / Sumatra (74,000 years ago), Samalas / Lombok (in 1257), Tambora / Sumbawa (in 1815), Krakatau / Sunda Strait (in 1883), Pinatubo / Luzon (in ca. 1465), and Apo / Mindanao (unknown) can also have had impacts on the biodiversity and distribution of Saturniidae in the Malay Archipelago. A distribution as a cultural follower (“Kulturfolger”) cannot be ruled out for some species in mainland Asia and the Malay Archipelago, as well as an economic use and distribution in silkworm breeding.
All these peculiarities contributed to a high biodiversity in the fauna and flora of the Malay Archipelago, though certain mainland Asian taxa of the family Saturniidae are absent in the Malay Archipelago: Aglia OCHSENHEIMER, 1810 (Agliinae) and Salassa MOORE, 1859 (Salassinae), Cachosaturnia NAUMANN, LÖFFLER & NÄSSIG, 2012, Neoris MOORE, 1862, Rhodinia STAUDINGER, 1892, Rinaca WALKER, 1855, Saturnia VON PAULA SCHRANK, 1802, the taxa of the watsoni-complex of the genus Samia HÜBNER, [1819], Solus WATSON, 1913, and Sinobirma BRYK, 1944 (Saturniinae). This probably happened with some non-Southeast Asian taxa because they could never cross the Himalaya and its foothills and with montane taxa, since connecting mountain ranges between the Himalayan foothills (e.g., Cameron Highlands / Peninsular Malaysia and the Annamese Cordillera or Truong Son mountain range / Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) and similar high mountain ranges in the Archipelago (e.g., Barisan Range / Sumatra and Crocker Range / Borneo) never exist. Taxa of these genera did never find their way to the Archipelago due to isolation caused by topography. The Pinus-eating taxa of the genus Actias LEACH in Leach & Nodder, 1815 are also missing in the Malay Archipelago, at least they have not yet been found, although large autochthonous pine forests exist, for example, in the interior of Sumatra. With the exception of the maenas- and selene-groups, none of the mainland Asian species-groups of the genus Actias found their way to the Malay Archipelago and a few lowland taxa of the Saturniidae of the Malay Archipelago never found their way across the Isthmus of Kra on the Malay Peninsula towards mainland Asia, e.g., taxa of the subgenus Loepantheraea TOXOPEUS, 1940 and of the larissa-subgroup (sensu Brechlin 2014) of the paphia/frithi-group (sensu Nässig 1991) of the subgenus Antheraea HÜBNER, [1819] 1816. The present distribution pattern among the Saturniids may also confirm the temporary existence of land bridges in prehistoric times.
New collections of wild silkmoths and genetic studies (by BOLD) have confirmed numerous new taxa and new distribution limits in the Malay Archipelago, cf. Paukstadt & Paukstadt (2020a, b). In this contribution to knowledge the wild silkmoths the current distribution of so far recognized Saturniid taxa in the Malay Archipelago is presented and compared with mainland Asia and Australia. Probable dispersal directions and invasion ways are shown. This contribution is based on our current state of knowledge about the Saturniidae of the Malay Archipelago and represents a revision and addition to an almost similar older publication on the same theme, cf. Paukstadt & Paukstadt (2004)."

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