Metisella trisignatus trisignatus Neave, 1904

Cock, Matthew J. W. & Congdon, T. Colin E., 2017, Observations on the Biology of Afrotropical Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera) with particular reference to Kenya. Part 11. Heteropterinae, Zootaxa 4226 (4), pp. 487-508 : 505

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Metisella trisignatus trisignatus Neave, 1904


Metisella trisignatus trisignatus Neave, 1904

The species was described from Entebbe, Uganda ( Neave 1904), but this is may be an error ( Ackery et al. 1995). Subspecies trisignatus was thought to be restricted to the western Highlands of Kenya and northern Tanzania , but T.B. Larsen (unpublished) knew of records from highland forests of eastern and north-eastern Uganda and southern South Sudan, and TCEC has found it as far south as the Udzungwas in Tanzania . Subspecies tanga Evans occurs in the highlands of central and western Tanzania and north-east Zambia ( Ackery et al. 1995, T.B. Larsen unpublished).

This species always has three strong orange spots on the fore wing upper side. Occasional specimens of M. quadrisignatus have reduced spotting, but it is the spot in space 5 which is lost first, so the markings never coincide with those of M. trisignatus . MJWC has not found the range of these two species to overlap, but this is not based on extensive collecting.

Restricted to suitable parts of western Kenya, in MJWC’s experience this is mostly a forest species, although its capture at the Kisii Hotel , Kisii (see also M. willemi ), suggests it is more adaptable than that. Adult behaviour is similar to that of other orange spotted species of the genus ( Figure 22 View FIGURE 22 ). It is an occasional feeder at damp mud in Kakamega Forest .

Larsen (1991) states that the food plants are various grasses, but this is an assumption. A possible caterpillar is described in the introduction to this section above ( Figure 21 View FIGURE 21 ).