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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 105 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 just over 60% 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(with additional Semuliki records from the  Forbes (2018) publication) have been taken principally from Larsen's unpublished document on the Hesperiidae Family and from the Metamorphosis single genus documents published in pdf format by Mark Williams of the African Lepidopterists'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 recorded in the Ituri Forest of the DRC and also recorded 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 five identified from Semuliki: Eagris lucetia, E. decastigama, E. tetrastigama, E. tigris and E. nottoana. Only two species (E. lucetia and E. decastigama) were included in the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018).

Eagris tetrastigma.jpeg

Eagris tetrastigma (male, underside)

Eagris lucetia.jpeg
Eagris lucetia.jpeg

Eagris lucetia (upper and underside)

Eagris decastigma, E. tigris and E.nottoana (waiting on field images)

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)

Genus Abantis

An Afrotropical genus containing 34 species. Only one has been recorded so far at Semuliki, A. iruma. A disappointing genus total considering the eight species recorded from the Ituri Forest and DRC Semliki Valley although the majority of species within the group are considered rare.

Abantis iruma (waiting on field image)

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 the 21 Afrotropical species, ten have been recorded in Uganda with eight from Semuliki. Only two species were detailed in the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018): Sarangesa brigida and S. lucidella. The six additional records are: S. bouvieri, S. terullianus, S. maculata, S. thecla, S. loelius and S. haplopa. 

All eight species (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 Bettonula

An Afrotropical genus containing only a single species - Bettonula bettoni - recorded from Semuliki. This record is a new addition to the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018).

Bettonula bettoni (waiting on field image)

Genus Apallaga

A large Afrotropical genus containing 69 species, 11 recorded from Uganda and six so far from Semuliki: Apallaga fulgens, A homeyeri, A. darlustris, A. inexpectata, A. boadicea and A. alluaudi. There have been 15 species recorded from the Ituri Forest and Semliki Valley of the DRC and further species would therefore be expected at Semuliki with targeted sampling. All six 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

Apallaga alluaudi - possibly (male, upper and underside)

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

Apallaga alluaudi (female above, male below)

Apallaga fulgens - possibly (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 solely 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. alluaudi, A. boadicea A. inexpectata and A. homeyeri (waiting on field images for further confirmation)

Genus Celaenorrhinus

A global genus of which there are 20 Afrotropical species, seven recorded from Uganda and so far only three from Semuliki: Celaenorrhinus proxima, C. perimitans and C. macrostictus. All three species are new additions to the Semuliki checklist (Forbes, 2018). 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

Genus Eretis

A small Afrotropical genus containing 12 species with four recorded from Semuliki - E. buamba, E. melania, E. artorius and E.camerona. All four records are new additions to the Semuliki species checklist (Forbes, 2018).

Eretis buamba, E. melania, E. artorius and E. camerona (waiting on field images)

Celaenorrhinus perimitans (upper and underside)

The specimens shown are most likely C. perimitans. The two very similar species recorded at Semuliki (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)

Celaenorrhiinus macrostictus (waiting on field image)

Tribe Carcharodini

A global tribe that includes five Afrotropical genera, only one genus with a species representative has been recorded from Semuliki.

Genus Spialia

A small Afrotropical genus containing five species, one with a geographical range outside the Afrotropical realm. Only one species has been recorded from Semuliki - S. ploetzi, in comparison to the four species recorded from the Ituri Forest and the DRC Semliki Valley. S. ploetzi is a new addition to the Semuliki species list (Forbes, 2018).

Spialia ploetzi (waiting on field image)

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 Lepella

An Afrotropical genus containing a single species recorded from Semuliki: Lepella lepeletier. An additional record to the Semuliki species list (Forbes, 2018).

Lepella lepeletier (waiting on field image)

Genus Prosopalpus

Another small Afrotropical genus containing three species, one recorded from Semuliki: Prosopalpus styla. An additional record to the Semuliki species list (Forbes, 2018).

Prosopalpus styla (waiting on field image)

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 and seven from the Ituri Forest and DRC Semliki Valley. To date only two have been recorded from Semuliki: Gorgyra diversata and G. mocquerysii, another Hesperiidae genus that is under-represented at Semuliki and could benefit with targeted sampling. These two species are additional records to the Semuliki checklist (Forbes, 2018).

Gorgyra diversata and G. mocquerysii (waiting on field images)

Genus Teniorhinus

A small Afrotropical genus containing four species, two recorded from Uganda, both present at Semuliki: Teniorhinus ignita and T. niger.  The species T. watsoni, a west African species had been recorded in error from Semuliki (listed within the checklist (Forbes, 2018)) and has been removed from the current amended species total.

Teniorhinus ignita.jpeg

Teniorhinus ignita (male, underside)

Teniorhinus ignita.jpeg
Teniorhinus ignita.jpeg

Teniorhinus ignita (female, upper and underside)

Teniorhinus niger (waiting on field image)

Genus Hypoleucis

A small Afrotropical genus containing four species, all being recorded from Uganda with three being recorded from Semuliki: Hypoleucis tripunctata, H. dacena and H. ophiusa. Only H. tripunctata was recorded in the official species list (Forbes, 2018). The unrecorded species O. sophia has only been recorded at Budongo Forest, a submontane forest around 190km north-east of Semuliki.

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

Genus Andronymus

An Afrotropical genus containing 14 species, with six recorded from Uganda and three from Semuliki: Andronymus neander, A. gander and A. caesar. Only one species was detailed in the Semuliki butterfly checklist (Forbes, 2018): A neander. Seven species have been recorded from the Ituri Forest and Semliki Valley DRC and targeted sampling would no doubt increase this genus species representation at Semuliki.

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

Genus Zophopetes

An Afrotropical genus containing seven species, with four recorded from Uganda and these four species also recorded from Semuliki: Zophopetes dysmephila, Z. nobilor, Z. ganda and Z. cerymica; the latter two species being additional records to the Forbes (2018) Semuliki species list publication The Ugandan species not so far recorded from Semuliki: Zophopetes quaternata has been recorded from the DRC Semliki Valley, so with targeted sampling would likely be found in the park.

Zophopetes dysmephila, Z. cerymica, Z. nobilor and Z. ganda (waiting on field images)

Genus Xanthodisca

A small Afrotropical genus containing three species, with two recorded from Semuliki: Xanthodisca vibius and X. astrape. Both species are additions to the Forbes (2018) publication. Both species have also been recorded from the Ituri Forest  

Xanthodisca vibius and X. astrape (waiting on field images)

Genus Fresna

A small Afrotropical genus comprising six species, with three recorded from Semuliki: Fresna joppa, F. nyassae and F. netopha, all additional records not included in the Semuliki species list publication (Forbes, 2018). A further three species have been recorded from the Ituri Forest and targeted sampling at Semuliki should expect to find these.

Fresna nyassae, F. netopha and F .joppa (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, with six species present at Semuliki: Borbo fallax, B. micans, B. fatuellus, B. borbonica, B. detecta and B. lugens. Only Borbo fallax was included in the Forbes (2018) species list.

All six species (waiting on field images)

Genus Zenonia

An Afrotropical genus comprising three species, two recorded from Uganda and both recorded from Semuliki: Zenonia zena and Z. crasta. Both records are additional to the Forbes (2018) species list. 

Zenonia zena and Z. crasta (waiting on field images)

Genus Pelopidas

A broad Afro-Euroasia genus comprising two species found within the Afrotropical region: P. thrax and P. mathias, both recorded from Semuliki. Both records are additional to the Forbes (2018) species list. 

Pelopidas thrax and P. mathias (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, eight from the Ituri Forest and DRC Semliki Valley and five from Semuliki: Ceratrichia semlikensis, C. wollastoni, C. clara, C. hollandi and C. enta. The latter two species are additional records to the Forbes (2018) checklist.

Ceratrichia semlikensis.jpeg
Ceratrichia semlikensis.jpg

Ceratricia semlikensis (male, upperside)

Ceratrichia clara, C. wollastoni, C. hollandi and C. enta (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 four from Semuliki: Pardaleodes tibillus, P. sator, P. incerta and P. bule.

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 and P. bule (waiting on field images)

Genus Ankola

An Afrotropical monotypic genus containing the species Ankola fan which has been recorded at Semuliki. This is an additional record to the Forbes (2018) publication.

Ankola fan (waiting on field image)

Genus Meza

An Afrotropical genus containing ten species, four within Uganda and one recorded from Semuliki: Meza cybeutes. Four species have been recorded from the DRC Ituri Forest and DRC Semliki Valley, including all four recorded from Uganda: M. cybeutes, M. mezaM. indusiata and M. mabillei. 

Meza cybeutes (waiting on field image)

Tribe Astictopterini

A large tribe that includes a number Afrotropical genera.

Genus Osmodes

An Afrotropical genus containing 14 species, ten recorded from Uganda and seven rom Semuliki: Osmodes laronia, O. thora,  O. O. banghaasi, O. adoniaO. adosusO. lux and O. hollandi. Only two were included in the Forbes (2018) publication: Osmodes laronia and O. thora, so an additional five records are now known for this genus. An increase of recorded species would have been expected, with nine species of this genus presently recorded from the Ituri Forest.

All seven species (waiting on field images)

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 and recorded from Semuliki: Monza punctata, M. cretacea and M. alberti. Only M. punctata was included in the published species checklist for the park (Forbes, 2018) with M. cretacea and M. alberti being additional records.

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

Genus Rhabdomantis

A small Afrotropical genus comprising two species, one being recorded from Semuliki: Rhabdomantis galatia. This is an additional record to the publication Forbes (2018). The second species within this genus R. sosia has been recorded in both the Ituri Forest and Semliki Valley DRC and would be expected to be present at Semuliki. 

​Rhabdomantis galatia (waiting on field image)

Genus Acleros

An Afrotropical genus containing eight species, four from Uganda and all four so far recorded from Semuliki: Acleros neavei, A. ploetzi, A. nigrapex and A. bibundica. The latter two species are additional to that detailed in Forbes (2018).

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

Genus Semalea

An Afrotropical genus containing five species with two being recorded from Semuliki: Semalea pulvina and S. sextilis. Both species are additional records to the Forbes (2018) species list.

Semalea pulvina and S. sextilis (waiting on field images)

Genus Paronymus

An Afrotropical genus containing 15 species with one being recorded from Semuliki: Paronymus ligora. Four species have been recorded from the Ituri Forest, including P. ligora and further species would be expected to be found with targeted sampling.

Paronymus ligora (waiting on field image)

Genus Chondrolepis

An Afrotropical genus comprising principally submontane species and therefore as would be expected only one has been recorded at Semuliki: C. niveicornis. This is an additional record to the Forbes (2018) Semuliki species list. 

Chondrolepis niveicornis (waiting on field image)

Genus Mopala

An Afrotropical monotypic genus comprising the single species: Mopala orma and  recorded from Semuliki; an addition to the species list of Forbes (2018).

Mopala orma (waiting on field image)

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 species list (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)

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)

Specific references

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.

Larsen, T.B., (2015). A revision of the Family Hesperiidae (unpublished document), ABRI, Nairobi, Kenya.

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). Encyclopaedia of Afrotropical Butterflies (digital edition), Lepidopterists' Society of Africa..

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.

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