Handmaiden Moth and Longicorn Beetle from Guinea

Location: Guinea, West Africa
November 18, 2010 4:13 pm
Photo 1. This is the funniest bug I’ve ever seen. It is NOT PHOTOSHOPPED. It couldn’t fly, but maybe because it was injured. We saw it during dry season.

Handmaiden Moth

Photos 2 and 3. This beetle was also seen during the dry season. Its head is like that of a locust and it had big pinchers. It was flightless.
Signature: Gabriel

Longicorn Beetle

Hi Gabriel,
We believe the moth is one of the Arctiid Moths.  We will try to send the image to an expert in Arctiids named Julian Donahue in the hope that he can provide a species identification.  The Beetle is a Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae.  They are commonly called Longicorns.

Longicorn Beetle

More identifications courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Gabriel:
I believe the longicorn is probably Phryneta aurocincta (Cerambycidae: Lamiinae: Phrynetini). It is widely distributed through west and central Africa.  The moth looks like it could be Amata (=Syntomis) alicia, an Arctiid in the subfamily Ctenuchiinae.  It apparently occurs in north, east and south Africa, but I wasn’t able to confirm that west Africa is also in its range.  It seems the Ctenuchiinae are known as handmaidens in Africa, and Amata alicia has the delightful common name Maid Alice (perhaps also Heady Maiden).  Another possibility could be A. tomasina, which definitely occurs in West Africa and looks quite similar to the posted photo in some illustrations, but overall doesn’t appear to be as close a match. Anyway, I think that is probably the correct genus. Hopefully Julian Donahue can nail it down. Regards.  Karl

Thanks Karl.

Julian Donahue confirms Karl’s identification
November 21, 2010
Appears to be in the genus Amata (placed in Syntomis by Hampson in 1898), close to alicia Butler, 1876–reported from Abyssinia, Somalia, and South Africa. I don’t have the resources at hand to do any better than this (need to see the underside coloration).
A search on Google Images of this name produces photos of similar moths (but beware of misidentifications!), which don’t show as much black at the base of the abdomen.
Julian P. Donahue

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