Butterflies and skippers of the afrotropical region

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© Seventh edition (2008)

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Kedestes mohozutza. Photo courtesy Jeremy Dobson

Compiled by Mark C. Williams

183 van der Merwe Street, Rietondale
E-mail: mark.williams@up.ac.za


Latreille, 1809

Latreille, 1809

Evans, 1937

Coeliades pisistratus. Photo courtesy Jeremy Dobson

Genus Coeliades Hübner, 1818
Zuträge zur Sammlung exotischer Schmettlinge [sic] 1: 31 ([3] + 4-6 + [7] + 8-32 + [33] - [40] pp.) Augsburg.

Type-species: Papilio forestan Stoll, by subsequent designation (Hemming, 1935 in Carpenter, 1935 (Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 83: 436 (313-447)).

= Rhopalocampta Wallengren, 1857. Öfversigt af Kongl. Vetenskaps-Akademiens Förhandlingar. Stockholm annis 1838-1845. Collecta (n.s.) 2 (4): 47 (55 pp.). Type-species: Papilio forestan Stoll, by subsequent designation (Scudder, 1875. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 10: 263 (91-293).).
An Afrotropical genus of 17 large skippers.

Coeliades aeschylus (Plötz, 1884)
Ismene aeschylus Plötz, 1884. Stettiner Entomologische Zeitung 45: 65 (51-66).

Coeliades aeschylus. Male upperside, Mali (x2). Photo ex Torben Larsen.
Type locality: Senegal: “Senegal”.

Distribution: Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone (north).

Specific localities:

Senegal – Niokolo-Koba N.P. (Condamin, 1969).

Burkina Faso – Bamako (A Prost teste Larsen, 2005a); Banforo Waterfall (A. Prost teste Larsen, 2005a).

Common name: Senegal blue policeman.

Habitat: The Senegal blue policeman is limited to the Guinea savanna zone of West Africa (Gillies, 1982).

Habits: The flight is deliberate and slow (Collins, teste Larsen, 2005a). May be abundant following rains, as noted by Condamin (1969) in the Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal.

Early stages:
De Fleury, 1926 [larva and pupa].
Larval food:

Acridocarpus smeathmanni (Malpighiaceae) [Larsen, 2005a (Guinea)].

Coeliades anchises (Gerstaecker, 1871)
Ismene anchises Gerstaecker, 1871. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 1871 (1): 358 (345-363).

Type locality: Tanzania: [Zanzibar] “See Jipe”.

Distribution: Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Arabia (Yemen, Oman). The populations in southern Africa appear to be unstable and are possibly temporarily created by migrants from the north-east.

Common name: One-pip policeman.

Habitat: Moist and dry savanna woodland; riverine and coastal forest. Relatively common in East Africa and Arabia but rare in southern Africa. In Tanzania it is locally common in open habitats, along forest margins and in woodland, from almost sea-level to 2 400 m (Kielland, 1990d).

Habits: Migrations, some of them substantial, have been recorded in East Africa (Larsen, 1991). A single specimen has been seen at sea some 160 km from the coast. Adults feed readily from flowers and are known to mud-puddle. Males show hilltopping behaviour, defending territories from perches on shrubs or low trees or from the lower branches of large trees. The flight is fast and jerky and they are active from early morning to late evening.

Flight period: Recorded from October to May (Pringle, et al., 1994).

Early stages:
Henning, S. & Henning, G., 1989: 151 [as Coeliades anchises; locality not stated].

Final instar larva is orange-red to dark reddish brown, with shiny white transverse bands. Head orange red. The larva lives in a rolled up leaf of the foodplant. Consumes only about half of the distal portion of a leaf before moving to another. Pupation takes place in an elaborate shelter constructed from the leaves of the foodplant.

A colour photograph of the final instar larvae of C. anchises jucunda, by T.B. Larsen, is shown on page 53 of Henning, Henning, Joannou & Woodhall (1997).
Larval food:

Triaspis glaucophylla Engl. (Malpighiaceae) [Swanepoel, 1953: 285; as Triapis leendertziae; Potgietersrus, Limpopo Province; oviposition only; Kielland, 1990d: 227 (Tanzania)].

Dregea angolensis (Asclepiadaceae) [S. Henning and G. Henning, 1989: 151; as Mardenia angolensis; locality not stated].

Marsdenia angolensis N.E. Brown (Asclepiadaceae) [Van Someren, 1974: 324].

Acridocarpus species (Malpighiaceae) [Larsen, 1991: 389].

Tristellateia species (Malpighiaceae) [Larsen, 1991: 389].

Ficus species (Moraceae) [Larsen, 1991: 389].
Coeliades anchises anchises (Gerstaecker, 1871)
Ismene anchises Gerstaecker, 1871. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 1871 (1): 358 (345-363).

Type locality: Tanzania: [Zanzibar] “See Jipe”.

Distribution: Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe (eastern border), South Africa (Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal – single records from the midlands and north), southern Arabia (Yemen).

Specific localities:

Kenya – Samburu (Larsen, 1991); Kitale area (Larsen, 1991); coast (Larsen, 1991); near Voi (Larsen, 1991).

Tanzania – Fairly common in the north but rare elsewhere (Kielland, 1990d). Nguru Mountains; Pugu Hills; Dar es Salaam; Rubeho Mountains; northern parts of Mpanda; Gombe in Kigoma (Kielland, 1990d).

Limpopo Province – Mokeetsi (Swanepoel, 1953); Bellevue (Swanepoel, 1953); Waterplaats, west of Potgietersrus (Swanepoel).

Mpumalanga – Swadini in the Blyde River Canyon National Park (Pringle, et al., 1994); Three rondavels lookout, Blyde River Canyon National Park (Williams).

KwaZulu-Natal – Umkomaas (Swanepoel, 1953); Umgeni Valley near Table Mountain (Pennington; single male); Umhlanga Rocks (Pennington); Durban (Pringle, et al., 1994).
taranis Hewitson, 1876 (as sp. of Ismene). Annals and Magazine of Natural History (4) 18: 347 (347-355). Tanzania: “Zanzibar”.
Coeliades anchises jucunda (Butler, 1881)
Hesperia jucunda Butler, 1881. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1881: 179 (175-180).

Type locality: Yemen: “Socotra”.

Distribution: Yemen (Island of Socotra), Oman.

Coeliades bixana Evans, 1940

Coeliades bixana Evans, 1940. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 48: 411 (405-411).

Type locality: Ghana: “Gold Coast”.

Distribution: Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria (south), Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Specific localities:

Guinea – Nimbas (Larsen, 2005a).

Ghana – Aburi (Larsen, 2005a).

Common name: Dark blue policeman.

Habitat: The dark blue policeman is a scarce butterfly that inhabits primary forest (Larsen, 2005a).

Habits: Apparently similar to those of C. chalybe (Larsen, 2005a).

Early stages:
Fontaine, 1988 [larva and pupa (Democratic Republic of Congo)].
Larval food:

Cassia species (Fabaceae) [Fontaine, 1988 (Democratic Republic of Congo)].

Triaspis odorata (Malpighiaceae) [Vuattoux, 1999 (Lamto, Ivory Coast)].
bixae Clerck, 1759. [preoccupied (Larsen, 2005a)].

Coeliades bocagii (Sharpe, 1893)
Rhopalocampta bocagii Sharpe, 1893. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1893: 557 (553-558).

Type locality: Sao Tome and Principe: “Angolares”.

Distribution: Sao Tome and Principe.


Early stages: Nothing published.

Larval food: Nothing published.

Coeliades chalybe (Westwood, 1852)
Ismene chalybe Westwood, 1852 in Doubleday & Westwood, [1846-52]. The genera of diurnal Lepidoptera 515 (1: 1-250 pp.; 2: 251-534 pp.) London.

Type locality: [West Africa]: “Guinea (not America)”.

Distribution: Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin (Fermon et al., 2001), Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, to Angola, to Ethiopia, Uganda (Kielland, 1990d), Kenya and Tanzania.

Recorded, erroneously, from Gambia according to Larsen (2005a) but given for Gambia by Emms & Barnett (2006).

Common name: Blue policeman.

Habitat: Forest and riverine vegetation from 700 to 1 800 m in Tanzania (Kielland, 1990d). The blue policeman is quite a common butterfly of the dense undergrowth of both primary and secondary forest (Larsen, 2005a).

Habits: The flight is very powerful and specimens settle on the underside of leaves. It is rather reluctant to fly and is usually only seen seen when disturbed from its roost in dense forest (Larsen, 1991). Both sexes feed at flowers on forest edges or along forest roads, especially in the early morning, late afternoon or on dull days (Larsen, 1991). A male has been observed feeding from bird droppings (Larsen, 2005a).

Early stages: Nothing published.

Larval food:

Theobroma cacao (Theobromaceae) (Cocoa) [Smith, 1965].

Asclepiadaceae [Van Someren, 1974: 324].

Cynanchum species (Asclepiadaceae) [Kielland, 1990].

Acridocarpus sp. (Malpighiaceae) [M. Cock teste Larsen, 1991: 389].

Marsdenia sp. (Asclepiadaceae) [A. Atkins teste Larsen, 1991: 389].

Acridocarpus smeathmanni (Malpighiaceae) [Larsen, 2005a].
Coeliades chalybe chalybe (Westwood, 1852)
Ismene chalybe Westwood, 1852 in Doubleday & Westwood, [1846-52]. The genera of diurnal Lepidoptera 515 (1: 1-250 pp.; 2: 251-534 pp.) London.

Type locality: [West Africa]: “Guinea (not America)”.

Distribution: Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin (Fermon et al., 2001), Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, to Uganda, Kenya (west) (Evans, 1937), Tanzania (north), and Angola.

Specific localities:

Senegal – Basse Casamance (Larsen, 2005a; very rare).

Benin – Noyau Central, Lama Forest (Fermon et al., 2001).

Cameroon – Korup (Larsen, 2005a).

Kenya -

Tanzania – Mpanda; Kigoma; Usambaras; Kimboza Forest; Nguru Mountains; Kanga Mountains; Mwanihana Forest; Dabaga (Kielland, 1990d).
Coeliades chalybe immaculata Carpenter, 1935
Coeliades chalybe immaculata Carpenter, 1935. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 83: 404 (313-447).

Type locality: Ethiopia: “Alanga R. 6° 54', 35° 15' 2700'”.

Distribution: Ethiopia (south-west).

Coeliades ernesti (Grandidier, 1867)
Hesperia ernesti Grandidier, 1867. Revue et Magasin de Zoologie Pure et Appliquée 19: 274 (272-275).

Type locality: [Madagascar.] Morondava (Lees et al., 2003).

Distribution: Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion.

Specific localities:

Mauritius – Mondrain area of the Black River Gorges (J.R. Williams).

General notes: Introduced from Madagascar into Reunion in the 1950’s and recorded in Mauritius by J.R. Williams (Davis & Barnes, 1991).

Habitat: Forest, secondary forest and anthropogenic habitats (Lees et al., 2003).

Early stages: Nothing published.

Larval food: Nothing published.
pansa Hewitson, 1867 in Hewitson, 1867-71 (as sp. of Ismene). Illustrations of new species of exotic butterflies 4: 101 (118pp.). Madagascar: “Madagascar”.

Coeliades fervida (Butler, 1880)
Hesperia fervida Butler, 1880. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (5) 5: 339 (333-344, 384-395).

Type locality: Madagascar: “Fianarantsoa”.

Distribution: Madagascar (east, south-east, central).

Habitat: Forest and forest margins (Lees et al., 2003).

Early stages: Nothing published.

Larval food: Nothing published.

Coeliades fidia Evans, 1937
Coeliades fidia Evans, 1937. A catalogue of the African Hesperiidae indicating the classification and nomenclature adopted in the British Museum: 13 (212 pp.).

Type locality: Madagascar: “Madagascar (Mocoatana)”. Maevatanana (Lees et al., 2003).

Distribution: Madagascar (east, central, west).

Habitat: Unknown (Lees et al., 2003).

Early stages: Nothing published.

Larval food: Nothing published.

Coeliades forestan (Stoll, [1782])
Papilio forestan Stoll, 1782 in Stoll, [1780-2]. Die Uitlandsche Kapellen voorkomende in de drie waerrelddeelen Asia, Africa en America 4 [part]: x (29-252). Amsteldam & Utrecht.

Coeliades forestan forestan. Male. Left – upperside; right – underside. Wingspan: 46mm. Durban, Nat. E.L. Clark. (Transvaal Museum - TM2754).
Type locality: [Africa]: “Cote de Bengal”. [False locality.]

Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa, including Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin (Fermon et al., 2001), Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Madagascar, Reunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Comoro Islands, Seychelles (Kielland, 1990), Cape Verde Islands (Larsen, 1991).

Common name: Striped policeman.

Habitat: Shows a wide ecological tolerance being found in both wet primary forest and very dry savanna, such as the Kalahari in southern Africa. Perhaps commonest in moist savanna (woodland). Also recorded from grassland in South Africa (southern Gauteng and eastern Free State). In Tanzania the species occurs from sea-level to 2 600 m (Kielland, 1990).

Habits: This is the most widespread and common species of the genus in the Afrotropics (Larsen, 1991). Usually single specimens are encountered (Larsen, 2005a). The flight is powerful and skipping. It often investigates a stand of plants, then dashes rapidly to the next clump of vegetation (Larsen, 1991). Individuals are active from early in the morning to late in the evening. Flowers (e.g. Tridax (Larsen, 2005a)) and muddy spots are regularly visited. Specimens will also settle on perspiring humans (Larsen, 1991). Males are known to show hilltopping behaviour. Hilltopping behaviour is not pronounced, males seldom remaining on the hilltop for any length of time. Males also sometimes establish territories on the flats (Pringle et al., 1994). Specimens often roost on the undersurface of leaves (Larsen, 1991). Kielland (1990) notes that males are attracted to bird droppings on rocks in riverbeds. Further observations on feeding behaviours are reported by Farquharson (1921: 406) and in the Proc. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1916, p. lxxx and 1917, p. lxxviii. Scent-marking behaviours by males were reported by Williams & Woodhall (2006), apparently the first time such behaviour has been reported in Lepidoptera.

Flight period: All year but scarcer in the winter months in temperate areas.

Early stages:
Mansel Weale, in Trimen & Bowker, 1889, Vol. 3: 369 [as Hesperia Forestan (Cramer); ex King William’s Town, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa].

Larva. Pale-yellow, with purplish or crimson transverse bands. Head brick-red or yellowish, with two frontal rows of black spots – the upper row of six, the lower of five; mandibles black. Each segment with a deep crimson or purplish transverse median band; the yellow ground between these bands crossed by two narrow streaks of the same colour. Anal segment with three somewhat angulated black marks. Above spiracles a series of rather elevated yellowish spots. Legs black; pro-legs deep yellow or orange. About an inch in length, but variable in size. Feeds on Robinia pseud-acacia (and probably on Erythrina caffra), fastening the pinnae of a leaf together with silk and feeding in the shelter thus formed. – J.P. Mansel Weale, in epist.

Pupa. Pale greyish-green, covered with a dense chalky-white efflorescence; first three dorsal segmental incisions of abdomen yellow. Under surface with nine small black spots, viz., one on each eye-case, one (rather smaller) on middle line of haustellum, two (not so widely apart as those on eyes) on middle pair of legs, two (very minute) on third pair of legs, not so widely apart as the two preceding them, and two (larger than the rest and sub-rhomboidal) on wing-covers, a little more widely apart than those on eyes. Spiracles linear, black. Head with an acute, median, superior, small, short, slender black projection; a similar projection, rather dorsal than lateral, on each side of collar of thorax, and a little below it, on shoulder, three black dots arranged triangularly. Anal projection blackish. Length ¾ inch; greatest width (across base of abdomen and wing-covers) ¼ inch. (Described from a King William’s Town example sent to me by Mr. Mansel Weale, from which the imago emerged on 24th March 1873.). I have also reared a ♂ imago from a similar pupa received from Colonel Bowker (D’Urban, Natal) in March 1881. (Plat II. Fig. 6a). Mr. Weale wrote in 1873 that his Robinia trees at Brooklyn, near King William’s Town, were covered with the larvae of Forestan, which completely riddled the clusters of leaves within which they fed.”
Murray, 1932: 584 (S. A. J. of Sci. 29: 584-588).
Darlow, 1949b.
Pinhey, 1949.
Clark, in Dickson & Kroon, 1978: plate 1 [as Coeliades forestan; Durban, KwaZulu-Natal].
Larval food:

Canavalia ensiformis A.P. de Candolle (Fabaceae) [Davis & Barnes, 1991; Mauritius].

Canavalia species (Fabaceae) [Kielland, 1990d].

Cassia species (Fabaceae) [Larsen, 1991: 390].

Cassipourea congoensis (Rhizophoraceae) [Vuattoux, 1999 (Ivory Coast)].

Combretum bracteosum (Hochst.) Brandis ex Engl. (Combretaceae) [Dickson & Kroon, 1978: 182].

Combretum mauritianum (Combretaceae) [Dickson & Kroon, 1978: 182; as Combretum apiculatum Sond.].

Combretum panniculatum Ventenat (Combretaceae) [Van Someren, 1974: 324].

Conchocarpus species (Rutaceae) [Larsen, 2005a].

Crotalaria species (Fabaceae) [Van Someren, 1974: 324].

Dioclea reflexa (Fabaceae) [Larsen, 2005a].

Dregea species (Asclepiadaceae) [Larsen, 1991: 390].

Erythrina caffra (Fabaceae) [Mansel Weale, in Trimen & Bowker, 1889: 369; probably].
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