top of page

FAMILY HESPERIIDAE

A global family that in the Afrotropical region comprises 84 genera and includes 612 species, around 15% of the global species total. Afrotropical species are included within seven subgenera, which are further split into tribes. The majority of Afrotropical species are included within the subfamily Hesperiinae, although the phylogeny within this subgenus has yet to be clarified with certainty.

To date there have been 52 recorded species (Teniorhinus watsoni a west African species was recorded in error by Davenport and included in the Semuliki butterfly checklist (Forbes, 2018). This total represents nearly 30% of the the 171 species recorded for the adjacent Ituri Forest and the DRC Semliki Valley (Ducarme, 2018). This suggests targeted sampling would no doubt uncover additional species. A number of genera are completely missing from the species records and would be expected to be present, due to their presence in the DRC Ituri Forest and with Semuliki being a lowland forest. No information on these genera will be presented until official records have been confirmed.

Genera information for the Family Hesperiidae (with additional Semuliki records) has been taken from the Metamorphosis single genus documents published in pdf format by Mark Williams of the African Lepidopterists' Society.

Subfamily Coeliadinae

Of the currently eight allocated genera to this subfamily (phylogeny unresolved) there are four Afrotropical genera: Pyrrhiades, Pyrrhochalcia and Tekliades, each of these genera containing just a single species in west Africa (Pyrrhiades and Pyrrhochalcia) and Madagascar (Tekliades). The other genus is Coeliades, described below.

Genus Coeliades

There are 19 species in the Afrotropical region, eight species have been recorded in Uganda and three in Semuliki: Coeliades forestan, C. chalybe and C. libeon. Two uncommon species found in the Ituri Forest of the DRC and east of Semuliki in Uganda within the Mpanga Forest (C. bixana) and Entebbe (C. hanno) are probably present in Semuliki.

Coeliades libeon.jpeg
Coeliades libeon.jpeg

 Coeliades libeon (upper and underside, sexes similar)

 Coeliades chalybe and C. forestan (waiting on field images)

Subfamily Tagiadinae

This subfamily has been split into three tribes: Celaenorrhinini, Netrocorynini and Tagiadini. 

Tribe Tagiadini

This includes nine Afrotropical genera.

Genus Eagris

There are ten species within this genus, eight recorded from Uganda with three identified from Semuliki: Eagris lucetia, E. decastigama and E. tetrastigama. Only two species were detailed in the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018), E. tetrastigma being a new record for the site.

Eagris tetrastigma.jpeg

Eagris tetrastigma (male, underside)

Eagris lucetia.jpeg
Eagris lucetia.jpeg

Eagris lucetia (upper and underside)

Eagris decastigma (waiting on field image)

Genus Calleagris

A genus containing four species. Of these, two have been recorded in Uganda and both are found at Semuliki; Calleagris hollandi and C. lacteus

Calleagris hollandi and C. lacteus (waiting on field images)

Genus Tagiades

A genus containing15 species, predominantly from the Indomalayan and Australasian regions. Three species are from the Afrotropical region with only one being recorded in Uganda, that is also found at Semuliki; Tagiades flesus. The other two Afrotropical species are not found on the African mainland and are endemics of Madagascar and the Comoros Islands.

Tagiades flesus.jpeg
Tagiades flesus.jpeg

Tagiades flesus (male, upper and underside)

Tagiades flesus.jpeg

Tagiades flesus (female, upperside)

Tribe Celaenorrhinini

This includes ten Afrotropical genera, but so far only two genera have species recorded from Semuliki, Sarangesa and Scopulifera. This compares to the eight genera with species recorded from the DRC Ituri Forest and DRC Semliki Valley.

Genus Sarangesa

A genus containing 23 species, 21 found throughout the Afrotropical region. Of these, ten have been recorded in Uganda but only three from Semuliki; Sarangesa brigida, S. lucidella and S.tertullianus. Two have been detailed in the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018) with S. terullianus being the new addition.

Sarangesa brigida, S. lucidella and S. terullianus (waiting on field images)

Genus Scopulifera

A small Afrotropical genus containing seven species, two recorded from Uganda and one from Semuliki; Scopulifera nigropuncta. This is a new addition to the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018).

Scopulifera nigropuncta (waiting on field image)

Genus Apallaga

A large Afrotropical genus containing 69 species, 11 recorded from Uganda and five so far from Semuliki: Apallaga fulgens, A homeyeri, A. darlustris, A. inexpectata and A. alluaudi. All five species are new additions to the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018). Many thanks to Michel Libert for identification assistance, see Libert, (2014) for species descriptions and distributions.

Although the specimen below (first two images) has been identified as most probably a male A. alluaudi, it could also be a male A. fulgens. The two species are difficult to separate by differentiating males, but generally the forewing discal band is narrower in A. fulgens and also the males are more orange (second two images - possibly A. fulgens). The females are easier to characterise. This can be seen in the last image where the two sexes are present, the female clearly being an A. alluaadi.

Apallaga alluaudi.jpeg
Apallaga alluaudi.jpeg

(possibly) Apallaga alluaudi (male, upper and underside)

Apallaga fulgens.jpeg
Apallaga fulgens.jpeg
Apallaga allauadi.jpeg

Apallaga alluaudi (female above, male below)

(possibly) Apallaga fulgens (male, upper and underside)

The specimen below has been identified as most probably a male A. darlustris, but it could also be a male A. inexpectata. The id probability reflecting that A. darlustris is more commonly recorded than A. inexpectata. The two species are difficult to separate by differentiating males (genitalia dissection would allow a comparison).

Apalla darlustris (1)1-ink.jpeg
Apalla darlustris (2)1-ink.jpeg

Apallaga darlustris (male, upper and underside)

Apallaga fulgens, A. inexpectata and A. homeyeri (waiting on field images)

Genus Celaenorrhinus

A global genus of which there are 20 Afrotropical species, seven recorded from Uganda and so far only two from Semuliki: Celaenorrhinus proxima and C. perimitans. Both species are new additions to the Semuliki checklist. Further targeted sampling would be expected to increase this genus's species presence. The seven species recorded from Uganda have also been recorded from the DRC Ituri Forest or the DRC Semliki Valley.

Celanorrhinus perimitans.jpeg
Celanorrhinus perimitans.jpeg

Celaenorrhinus perimitans (upper and underside)

The specimens shown are most likely C. perimitans. The two species recoded at Ssemuliki (C.perimitans and C. proxima) are difficult to separate, but can be differentiated by a ratio of the maximum wing length divided by the width of the forewing white spot in space 2. The white spot in space 2 of C. proxima is shorter than C. perimitans and therefore the resulting figure from the ratio has been shown to be significantly greater for C. proxima.

Celanorrhinus perimitans.jpeg
Celanorrhinus perimitans.jpeg

Celaenorrhinus perimitans (uppersides)

Subfamily Hesperiinae

A global subfamily, predominantly Neotropical where it has been split into 13 tribes.

Tribe Hesperiini

A very large global tribe that includes 40 Afrotropical genera, 15 tribes with species recorded from Semuliki.

Genus Kedestes

A genus containing 14 species, three recorded from Uganda and one from Semuliki: Kedestes rogersi.  

Kedestes rogersi (waiting on field image)

Genus Gorgyra

An Afrotropical genus containing 24 species, nine recorded from Uganda but only one from Semuliki: Gorgyra diversata. This is an additional record to the Semuliki checklist (Forbes, 2018).

Gorgyra diversata (waiting on field image)

Genus Teniorhinus

A small Afrotropical genus containing four species, two recorded from Uganda and one from Semuliki: Teniorhinus ignita.  The species T. watsoni, a west African species had been recorded in error and has been removed from the amended species total.

Teniorhinus ignita.jpeg

Teniorhinus ignita (male, underside)

Teniorhinus ignita.jpeg
Teniorhinus ignita.jpeg

Teniorhinus ignita (female, upper and underside)

Genus Osmodes

An Afrotropical genus containing 14 species, ten recorded from Uganda but only two so far from Semuliki: Osmodes laronia and O. thora. Another under-represented genus where nine have been recorded from the Ituri Forest (Ducarme, 2018), seven of these have been recorded elsewhere in Uganda.

Osmodes laronia and O. thora (waiting on field images)

Genus Acleros

An Afrotropical genus containing eight species, four from Uganda but only two so far recorded from Semuliki: Acleros neavei and A. ploetzi. The two species not recorded from Semuliki, Acleros mackenii and A. nigrapex have both been recorded from the Ituri Forest and A. nigrapex also from the DRC Semliki Valley. With targeted sampling both these species should be expected to be found at Semuliki.

Acleros ploetzi and A. neavei (waiting on field images)

Genus Hypoleucis

A small Afrotropical genus containing four species, all being recorded from Uganda with two being sampled from Semuliki: Hypoleucis tripunctata and H. dacena. Only H. tripunctata was recorded in the official species checklist (Forbes, 2018). The species H. ophiusa has been recorded from the DRC Ituri Forest and its distribution would be expected to extend to the park while O. sophia has only been recorded at Budongo Forest, a submontane forest around 190km north-east of Semuliki.

Hypoleucis tripunctata and H. dacena (waiting on field images)

Genus Andronymus

An Afrotropical genus containing 14 species, with six recorded from Uganda and two from Semuliki: Andronymus neander and A. gander. Only one species was recorded in the Semuliki butterfly checklist, A. gander being an additional record (detail from Genus Andronymus, Williams 2021)

Andronymus neander and A. gander (waiting on field images)

Genus Zophopetes

An Afrotropical genus containing seven species, with four recorded from Uganda and two from Semuliki: Zophopetes dysmephila and Z. nobilior. The two Ugandan species not so far recorded from Semuliki: Zophopetes ganda and Z. quaternata have been recorded in the DRC Ituri Forest and DRC Semliki Valley respectively, so with targeted sampling would likely be found in the park.

Zophopetes dysmephila and Z. nobilior (waiting on field images)

Tribe Baorini

A tribe that includes seven Afrotropical genera.

Genus Borbo

A genus containing 16 species from within the Afrotropical region. Nine species have been recorded from Uganda, but only two recorded from Semuliki: Borbo fallax and B. chagwa. Only B. fallax was included in the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018). Three of the nine species (B. detecta, B. micans and B. kaka) from Uganda, not recorded from Semuliki have been found in Mpanga Forest, a forest patch 250km east of Semuliki while another three species (B. lugens, B. fatuellus and B. barbonica)  have been sampled either in the DRC Ituri Forest or Semliki Valley. This genus is severely under-represented at Semuliki and requires targeted sampling to increase the genus species records.

Borbo fallax and B. chagwa (waiting on field images)

Tribe Ceratrichiini

A tribe that includes seven Afrotropical genera.

Genus Ceratrichia

An Afrotropical genus containing 13 species, six recorded from Uganda and three from Semuliki: Ceratrichia semlikensis, C. wollastoni, and C. clara.

Ceratrichia semlikensis.jpeg
Ceratrichia semlikensis.jpg

Ceratricia semlikensis (male, upperside)

Ceratrichia clara and C. wollastoni (waiting on field images)

Genus Ceratricula

An Afrotropical monotypic genus, the single species being recorded at Semuliki: Ceratricula semilutea.

Ceratricula semilutea (waiting on field image)

Genus Pardaleodes

An Afrotropical genus containing six species, five recorded from Uganda and three from Semuliki: Pardaleodes tibillus, P. sator and P. incerta.

Pardaleodes incerta.jpeg
Pardaleodes incerta.jpeg
Pardaleodes incerta.jpeg

Pardaleodes incerta (male, upperside)

Pardaleodes incerta.jpeg
Pardaleodes incerta.jpeg

Pardaleodes incerta (male, underside)

Pardaleodes incerta (female, upper and underside)

Pardaleodes sator.jpeg
Pardaleodes sator.jpeg

Pardaleodes sator (male, upper and  underside - different specimens)

Upperside image by clicque (original posted on inaturalist)

Pardaleodes tibillus (waiting on field image)

Genus Meza

An Afrotropical genus containing ten species, three within Uganda and one recorded from Semuliki: Meza cybeutes. Four species have been recorded from the DRC Ituri Forest and Semliki Valley, including the three recorded from Uganda and along with M. cybeutes are M. meza and M. indusiata. The species M. mabillei is found in the DRC Ituri Forest but not yet recorded in Uganda.

Meza cybeutes (waiting on field image)

Tribe Astictopterini

A large tribe that includes a number Afrotropical genera.

Genus Gamia

An Afrotropical genus containing three species, two recorded from within Uganda and just the one recorded from Semuliki: Gamia shellyi. The other species recorded from Uganda; Gamia buchholzi has been recorded from the DRC Ituri Forest and should be found within the park with targeted sampling.

Gamia shellyi  (waiting on field image)

Genus Caenides

An Afrotropical genus containing nine species, three recorded from within Uganda and two from Semuliki: Caenides dacela and C. kangvensis. Only C. dacela was recorded in the published species checklist for the park (Forbes, 2018). The third species recorded from Uganda, C. xychus has been recorded from both the DRC Ituri Forest and Semliki Valley and would be expected to be recorded in the park with targeted sampling.

Caenides dacela and C. kangvensis (waiting on field images)

Genus Monza

A small Afrotropical genus containing three species, all recorded from within Uganda with two being found at Semuliki: Monza punctata and M. cretacea. Only M. punctata was recorded in the published species checklist for the park (Forbes, 2018). The third with a record for Uganda, M. alberti has been recorded from both the DRC Ituri Forest and Semliki Valley and also in Mpanga Forest, a submontane forest patch 250km east of Semuliki. It would therefore be expected to be recorded in the park with targeted sampling.

Monza punctata and M. cretacea (waiting on field images)

Tribe Gretnini

A monotypic tribe that includes the genus Gretna.

Genus Gretna

An Afrotropical genus containing nine species, six recorded from within Uganda and two recorded from Semuliki: Gretna cylinda and G. zaremba. Only G. cylinda was included in the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018). The four other species recorded from Uganda; Gamia balenge, G. bugoma, G. carmen and G. waga have all been recorded from the DRC Ituri Forest and should be found within the park with targeted sampling.

Gretna cylinda and G. zaremba (waiting on field images)

Genus Pteroteinon

An Afrotropical genus containing 10 species, five recorded from within Uganda and two recorded from Semuliki: Pteroteinon caenira and P. capronnieri. Both species are additions to the published checklist (Forbes, 2018). Seven of the 10 species have been recorded in the adjacent Ituri Forest of the DRC and targeted sampling of further Hesperiidae species would increase the species number within this genus.

Pteroteinon caenira.jpeg

Pteroteinon caenira (male, underside)

Image by clicque (original posted on inaturalist)

Pteroteinon capronnieri (waiting on field image)

Specific genus site links, references and bibliography:

Ackery, P.R.Smith, C.R. and Vane-Wright, R.I., (1995). Carcasson's African Butterflies: An annotated Catalogue of the Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea of the Afrotropical Region. British Museum (Natural History), London, U.K.

Cong, Q., et al., (2019). Fifty new genera of Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera). Insecta Mundi 731, pp. 1–56. 

Evans, W.H. (1937). A catalogue of the African Hesperiidae indicating the classification and nomenclature adopted in the British Museum. The British Museum.

Libert, M., (2014). Sur la taxonomie du genre Celaenorrhinus Hübner en Afrique (Lepidoptera, Hesperiidae). ABRI, Nairobi, Kenya.

Williams, M.W., (2023). Classification of the Afrotropical butterflies to generic level. Metamorphosis 26, pp 102-108.

Williams, M.W., (2023). Genus Eagris. Metamorphosis.

Zhang, J., et al., (2019). Three new subfamilies of skipper butterflies (Lepidoptera, Hesperiidae). Zookeys 861, pp. 91–105.

Zhang, J., et al., (2022). Taxonomic changes suggested by the genomic analysis of Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera). Insecta Mundi  921.

Zhu, L., et al., (2023). Mitogenomic phylogenetic analyses provide novel insights into the taxonomic problems of several hesperiid taxa (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Scientific Reports 13, 7901.

bottom of page