Metisella Hemming, 1934

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 : 488-489

publication ID

https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4226.4.3

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:8753ADEF-2888-46CD-A6DE-6BDF9D3CE0DC

DOI

https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5669996

persistent identifier

https://treatment.plazi.org/id/6140B34B-4B10-044B-1C97-FDDDFAEDFC6D

treatment provided by

Plazi

scientific name

Metisella Hemming, 1934
status

 

Metisella Hemming, 1934

Hemming (1934) introduced this genus name for the Afrotropical species which had previously been placed in the genera Cyclopides Hübner (a genus now restricted to the Palaearctic Region) and Watsonia Tutt (an unavailable homonym). The type species is M. metis (Linnaeus) . The genus is restricted to the African mainland ( Ackery et al. 1995), since although M. malgacha (Boisduval) was described from Madagascar, this is considered a false type locality for this South African species ( Evans 1937, Viette 1956, Ackery et al. 1995, Lees et al. 2003).

The genus currently includes about 22 species, mostly occurring in eastern and southern Africa ( Ackery et al. 1995). R. de Jong plans to complete a revision of the genus, which he started many years ago, and we can anticipate that although there will be significant taxonomic changes, it will be straightforward to relate our species to the revision.

Several South African species have been reared from various grasses and one species from mountain bamboo ( Bergbambos tesselata ) ( Table 1). In addition Clark (1940) provides a description and monotone plate of the complete life history of M. metis (Linnaeus) , G.C. Clark (in Dickson & Kroon 1978) provides detailed colour illustrations of the full life cycle of Metisella malgacha malgacha (Boisduval) , M. metis paris Evans, Henning et al. (1997) include photographs of the caterpillar and pupa of M. malgacha malgacha and M. metis , and Henning & Roos (2001) and Roos & Henning (2002) include a partial life history description of Metisella meninx (Trimen) , the latter with photographs of the ova and first two instars.

Metisella sp. Food plants References

Metisella malgacha Grasses Murray 1959 ; Dickson & Kroon 1978

malgacha (Boisduval) Ehrharta erecta Murray 1959 ; Dickson & Kroon 1978; Henning et al.1997;

Woodhall 2005

Metisella meninx (Trimen) Unidentified marsh grass Henning et al.1997; Woodhall 2005

Leersia hexandra Henning & Roos 2001

Metisella metis (Cramer) Grasses Platt 1921 , Clark 1940, Murray 1959

Ehrharta erecta Murray 1959 ; Dickson & Kroon 1978; Migdoll 1988; Pringle et al. 1994; Henning et al.1997; Woodhall 2005 Stenotaphrum secundatum Murray 1959 ; Dickson & Kroon 1978; Migdoll 1988; Pringle (= S. glabrum , S. dimidiatum ) et al. 1994; Henning et al.1997; Woodhall 2005 Panicum deustum Dickson & Kroon 1978 ; Pringle et al. 1994; Henning et al.1997; Woodhall 2005

Stipa dregeana Dickson & Kroon 1978 ; Migdoll 1988; Pringle et al. 1994; Henning et al.1997; Woodhall 2005

Setaria megaphylla 1 Henning et al.1997; Woodhall 2005

Metisella syrinx (Trimen) Bergbambos tesselata Dickson & Kroon 1978 ; Henning & Henning 1989; Pringle et

(= Thamnocalamus tesselatus , al. 1994; Henning et al.1997; Woodhall 2005 Arundinaria tesselata )

1This may be a synonym of S. sulcata (Tropicos 2016) .

Little was documented about the biology of this genus in East Africa until we started our studies. Le Pelley (1959) included no Metisella spp. in his list of East African agricultural pests, nor did Van Someren (1974) in his catalogue of the food plants of East African butterflies. In his list of East African Lepidoptera food plants Sevastopulo (1975) gave the food plants of M. willemi and M. metis as ‘grasses generally’; it is not clear what he meant when he listed M. metis as this is a species restricted to South Africa ( Ackery et al. 1995). Sevastopulo (1981) added no further records for Metisella spp. in his second list, and he did not document the life history of any in his rearing (Sevastopulo unpublished). Kielland (1990) stated that ‘little is known of the early stages, but many, if not all, may feed on grasses’ although he only gives one substantive record, i.e. grasses for M. willemi , doubtless taken from Sevastopulo (1975). Larsen (1991) was able to include some of MJWC’s food plant records in his Butterflies of Kenya, and based on these and the records from South Africa ( Table 1) concluded that the food plants are always grasses and bamboos, which he considered ‘almost certainly’ the case in Larsen (2005). Similarly, Heath et al. (2002) indicate the food plants for all eight species of Metisella in Zambia are ‘presumably grass, Ehrharta species’. The published observations to date offer no reason to doubt the conclusion that this is a genus of grass and bamboo feeders.

This genus includes eight species found in the wooded highland areas of Kenya. One species, M. kakamega De Jong , is a Kenyan endemic known only from Kakamega Forest where it is rare and/or localised. Several others are localised on particular mountain ranges. We have reared six Metisella spp. in Kenya and Tanzania, and observed oviposition by a seventh. These partial life histories include five of the eight Kenyan species of Metisella .

In South Africa, recorded parasitoids of M. metis paris Evans include Apanteles sp., Meteorus testaceus Szepligeti ( Braconidae ) as late larval parasitoids, and two tachinids, Nemorilla cruciata (Wiedemann) and Theocarcelia incedens (Rondoni) as larval-pupal parasitoids ( Dickson & Kroon 1978, Plate 21). The last named has also been reared from Spialia ferax (Wallengren) (Pyrginae, Carcharodini ) ( Dickson & Kroon 1978).

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Arthropoda

Class

Insecta

Order

Lepidoptera

Family

Hesperiidae

Loc

Metisella Hemming, 1934

Cock, Matthew J. W. & Congdon, T. Colin E. 2017
2017
Loc

Leersia hexandra

Henning & Roos 2001
2001
Loc

Panicum deustum

Dickson & Kroon 1978
1978
Loc

Stipa dregeana

Dickson & Kroon 1978
1978
Loc

Bergbambos tesselata

Dickson & Kroon 1978
1978
Loc

Metisella malgacha

Grasses Murray 1959
1959
Loc

Ehrharta erecta

Murray 1959
1959
Loc

Ehrharta erecta

Murray 1959
1959
Loc

Stenotaphrum secundatum

Murray 1959
1959
Loc

Metisella metis

(Cramer) Grasses Platt 1921
1921