Nepheronia argia mhondana (Suffert, 1904)

Liseki, Steven D. & Vane-Wright, Richard I., 2014, Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea) of Mount Kilimanjaro: family Pieridae, subfamily Pierinae, Journal of Natural History 48 (25 - 26), pp. 1543-1583 : 1559

publication ID 10.1080/00222933.2014.886343

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Nepheronia argia mhondana (Suffert, 1904)


Nepheronia argia mhondana (Suffert, 1904)

Kielland 1990: 266 (1 fig). Larsen 1996: pl. 5, figs 39 i,ii. d’ Abrera 1997: 69 (3 figs of subsp. mhondana ; 8 figs of subsp. argia ). SI: Figure 20a–d.

Forewing length: male 36–41 mm (mean (n = 6) 38.28 mm, SD = 1.493); female 35– 38 mm (mean (n = 5) 36.72 mm, SD = 1.055).

Records. Considered to be the largest African pierid ( Pringle et al. 1994), this species is found in coastal, warm and riparian (riverine) forest, and heavy woodland in eastern Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, northern Zambia and Mozambique ( Ackery et al. 1995; Williams 2010). Within Tanzania it occurs from the Northern Highlands to Pare Mts, and coastal forests to Pugu hills, the Ukaguru Mts, Rubeho Mts, the Udzungwa range to the Njombe highlands, Tukuyu and the Livingstone Mts, Masagati forest, and forests of the Ulanga District to Rondo plateau near Lindi, where it can be encountered from lowlands up to 2000 m ( Kielland 1990, p.54). Kielland did not give specific records for the Northern Highlands, but there is old material from Kilimanjaro in the BMNH (probably including material noted by Butler 1888: 96, as N. argia (Fabricius, 1775)) , form “varia” was recorded from Kilimanjaro at 2000 m by Aurivillius (1910a, p.12), and the species was encountered at the same height in the forest zone by Liseki (2009). Another subspecies is found in northwestern parts of the country. Outside Tanzania, this species occurs widely in southern and central Africa ( Ackery et al. 1995, p.180).

Both sexes are variable. Across the range of N. argia mhondana the males never have any orange, but females are both variable and polymorphic. Illustrated is a female f. “aurosa” from Kilimanjaro (SI: Figure 20c,d), but we have not seen enough material from the mountain to assess its variability there. Female form “mhondana” looks very similar to “aurosa” but lacks forewing basal orange above. Form “giara” is a piebald “mhondana”. Male-like females occur; “sulphurea” is an all yellow “aurosa”; “idotea” has little or no orange; “semiflava” is reverse piebald with an orange flush to the forewings beneath; “varia” is like “giara” but with an orange flush to the upperside; while “mixta” is like a “semiflava” with orange on the upperside. Several of these forms are well illustrated by d’ Abrera (1997, p.69). The male is generally distinguished from other Nepheronia by the large, rhomboidal, dark apical marking on the forewing underside.













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