A revision of the genus Metaxaglaea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae, Cuculliinae) with descriptions of two new species
Two new species, Metaxaglaea violacea and M.australis, are described and figured from southeastern North America. Distributions and life histories, including figures of the larvae, are given for all species in the genus. Eggs of four species are also figured. The larva of M. violacea differs strikingly from that of other species of this or any related genus, although the adults can be reliably distinguished from M. viatica only by color. M. australis is at best only statistically separable from M. semitaria on the basis of male genitalia but differs markedly in egg characters as well as exhibiting subtle differences in adult maculation and at least one distinctive larval character. Certain characters of the male genitalia are markedly variable in M. viatica and M. violacea. In particular, the presence or absence of certain spines on the valves is variable within all populations studied. Every species of the genus occurs in partial sympatry with at least three congeners, but no single locality is known to have all of the five species. Flight seasons of all species overlap broadly in any given locality. There appears to be essentially complete separation of larval feeding niches, although the natural food-plants of M. australis are not yet known.