Abantis arctomarginata Lathy 1901

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 : 45-46

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

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Abantis arctomarginata Lathy 1901


Abantis arctomarginata Lathy 1901 ( Figures 35–38 View FIGURE 35 View FIGURE 36 View FIGURE 37 View FIGURE 38 )

Collins & Larsen (1994) recognised three species in the Abantis bismarcki Karsch group. All are rare. Abantis arctomarginata ( Figure 35 View FIGURE 35 ) is restricted to Malawi and Tanzania. Abantis bamptoni is found further west and south and is treated below. Abantis bismarcki is found from Ghana to southern Sudan and western Kenya, but the early stages have not been documented ( Larsen 2005).

Abantis arctomarginata was described from Zomba in southern Malawi ( Lathy 1901), and is also known from Mulanje, Malawi (S.A. Neave specimen in NHM; T.B. Larsen pers. comm. 2010), and from south–central Tanzania (Mafinga, Mufindi District). Probably it occurs in suitable habitat along the east side of Lake Malawi. I. Bampton (pers. comm.) has observed that males hill-top, and TCEC has confirmed this. In contrast, Bampton considered that males of A. bamptoni do not hill-top.

The food plant records and observations in Pringle et al. (1994) are referable to A. bamptoni (below). Collins & Larsen (1994) report that C. Congdon and I. Bampton reared A. arctomarginata on Uapaca ( Phyllanthaceae ) in southern Tanzania. Congdon & Collins (1998) specify this as U. kirkiana . The food plants now known to TCEC are U. kirkiana , U. nitida and U. sansibarica . Although the adult is seldom seen, the caterpillars of this butterfly are not difficult to find. The female prefers to lay her eggs ( Figure 36.1 View FIGURE 36 ) on coppiced Uapaca . The caterpillar makes a one-cut shelter ( Figure 36.2 View FIGURE 36 ) to rest under, which is easily seen because of the paler leaf under surface ( Figure 36.3 View FIGURE 36 ). It is likely that the butterfly will be found more widely where the food plant is plentiful.

The caterpillars ( Figure 37 View FIGURE 37 ) are similar to those of A. bamptoni ( Figure 40 View FIGURE 40 ), having a group of small yellow spots dorsolaterally on the anterior margin of segments A1–A8, most extensive on segments A2–A6. The pupae of these two species ( Figures 38 View FIGURE 38 , 41 View FIGURE 41 ) are also very similar.