Abantis zambesiaca

Cock, Matthew J. W. & Congdon, T. Colin E., 2011, Observations on the biology of Afro-tropical Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera) principally from Kenya. Part 2. Pyrginae: Tagiadini 2893, Zootaxa 2893 (1), pp. 1-66 : 50-52

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.11646/zootaxa.2893.1.1

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scientific name

Abantis zambesiaca


Abantis zambesiaca (Westwood 1874 (1873–1874)) ( Figures 42–45 View FIGURE 42 View FIGURE 43. 1–3 View FIGURE 44 View FIGURE 45 )

This species is widespread from Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania ( Evans 1937; Mendes & Bivar de Souza 2009). In Tanzania, it is found in woodland from Ngara southwards, and east to the Ruaha valley and Mikumi. Although the adults ( Figure 42 View FIGURE 42 ) are superficially similar to A. paradisea ( Figure 46 View FIGURE 46 ), actually the markings on the body are different and the caterpillars of the two species are very differently marked.

Dollman (unpublished) found caterpillars readily on a small shrub called “ndali” (probably this is ndale, i.e. Bobgunnia madagascariensis ( Fabaceae ), in Bemba a widely spoken language in Zambia ( RBGK 1999)) at Solwezi, Zambia, from November to May, and painted the caterpillar in lateral view – the similarity to Figure 44 View FIGURE 44 is evident. In southern Africa, Pericopsis angolensis and Bobgunnia madagascariensis (= Swartzia madagascariensis ) ( Fabaceae ) are reported as food plants (Paré & Mullin respectively in Pringle et al. 1994), and repeated by Heath et al. (2002) and to genus by Mendes & Bivar de Souza (2009). The final instar caterpillar is “greenish brown and the sides are heavily spotted in yellow” (Paré in Pringle et al. 1994). TCEC has reared this species on caterpillars from the same two species in Tanzania. Three shelters are shown in Figure 43 View FIGURE 43. 1–3 . Note the access hole at the nearside of the shelter 1. This was formed by cutting a minor cut from the edge of the shelter and pulling the edges together to make a tented shelter ( Greeney & Jones 2003). The young caterpillars habitually roost on the underside of the lid of the shelter. The ovum ( Figure 43.4 View FIGURE 43. 1–3 ) is similar to others of the genus, with a covering of long white linear scales.

The caterpillar is quite distinctive, with the body dull green with scattered yellow dots, and laterally an extensive area of yellow spots on segments T2–A9, the spots denser and larger on segments A1–A8. For the moment we know of no other similar Abantis spp. caterpillars.

The pupa ( Figure 45 View FIGURE 45 ) is similar to others of the genus, white with small black markings, and a strong wedgeshaped, upturned, bifurcate frontal projection. There are four empty and two complete dry pupae in NHM, ex Dollman coll. from northern Zambia. They are similar to those shown here, but the markings are darker and more extensive.