Coeliades chalybe chalybe,

Collins, Steve C., 2017, Observations on the biology of Afrotropical Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera). Part 12. New information and corrections, Zootaxa 4312 (3), pp. 471-496: 474-475

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Coeliades chalybe chalybe


Coeliades chalybe chalybe  (Westwood, [1852])

Cock (2010b, Figures 15–17View FIGURE 15View FIGURE 16View FIGURE 17) illustrated final and penultimate instar caterpillars and the pupa of this species from Côte d’Ivoire. Rienk de Jong found a final instar caterpillar ( Figure 2View FIGURE 2) at Ebogo , Cameroon on an unidentified plant about 30cm above the ground on a very shady forest track. Since the caterpillar did not feed before pupating three days later, the leaf in Figure 2View FIGURE 2 may not be the food plant. Figure 2View FIGURE 2 in dorsolateral view shows the lateral markings more clearly than Cock’s (2010b) figure, although otherwise the two caterpillars appear to be more or less identical. 

The caterpillar pupated in a semi-transparent plastic container, and R. de Jong took a sequence of images from the day of pupation until the day before emergence. On the day of pupation (Figure 3.1) the caterpillar colours were retained by the pupa on the abdomen, although the thorax and head were red like the head of the caterpillar. The ventral ground colour is pale orange and the black markings are fixed on the day after pupation (Figure 3.2). The ground colour becomes slightly paler over the next 14 days (Figure 3.3–5). The day before emergence the head, thorax and wings of the pupa are white, but this appears to be due to a white waxy efflorescence on the surface of the pupa (it is abraded between the wings). There is no sign of the brightly coloured body of the adult ( Figure 4View FIGURE 4) as the pupa cuticle is opaque. This sequence of changes is not unusual amongst Hesperiidae  , although the brightly coloured caterpillar markings of the newly formed pupa are especially striking. For those species with a translucent pupa cuticle the changes may be more obvious, especially as the adult colouring becomes visible. Illustrating or describing a pupa based on one occasion can be misleading, when pupae of different ages are compared. We have been aware of this during the course of this sequence of papers, and so have not normally illustrated newly formed pupae or pupae about to emerge, and given the dates of pupation and emergence when recorded.