Caenides soritia Hewitson, 1876, Hewitson, 1876

Cock, Matthew J. W., Congdon, T. Colin E. & Collins, Steve C., 2016, Observations on the biology of Afrotropical Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera). Part 9. Hesperiinae incertae sedis: Zingiberales feeders, genera of unknown biology and an overview of the Hesperiinae incertae sedis, Zootaxa 4066 (3), pp. 201-247: 225-226

publication ID

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Caenides soritia Hewitson, 1876


Caenides soritia Hewitson, 1876  

Sevastopulo (unpublished, 1975) reared this species from an unidentified Zingiberaceae   in Entebbe, Uganda, a record repeated in Ackery et al. (1995) and Larsen (2005). In his unpublished records, Sevastopulo (unpublished) described the partial life history as follows, from a fully fed caterpillar found 13 Oct 1952, which prepared its pupation shelter 19 Oct, and a female emerged 9 Nov. ‘ Head yellowish, densely punctate, heart-shaped. 1 st somite [T 1] very narrow forming a neck. Body pale grey, with a darker grey dorsal line, shining. Sublateral and ventral area, legs and prolegs whitish grey. Spiracles white. Anal flap large and rounded, fringed with a few colourless setae. Secondary segmental divisions very well marked. Penultimate instar similar to final. Lives in a cell formed from a turned-over flap of leaf. Pupa formed in a cell formed of rolled leaf; the upper end closed, the lower open but blocked by a few threads of white silk thickened by white wax spun criss-cross inside the opening, these look rather like white legs, and may be intended to give the impression that the cell is occupied by a spider. The walls of the cell and the pupa itself covered with a white waxy powder. The pupa is placed head downwards in the cell and is supported by a girdle and silken cross-cable to which the cremaster is attached. Pupa moth-like in shape, the abdomen olive yellow, the thorax and wing cases brownish-olive. Prothoracic spiracle with a crescent shaped, rugose, raised mark immediately behind it. Cremaster a stout spike ending in a cluster of hooked bristles. ’

We note that Sevastopulo was familiar with the penultimate instar, so there seems little possibility that this food plant is in error, due to a ‘wandering larva’ as suggested by Larsen & Collins (2011). Where Sevastopulo refers to the head as heart-shaped, his photographs indicate an oval head indent at the apex, rather than heartshaped, which would imply that it is significantly wider in the dorsal half than the ventral half. The description of the pupa and the white wax on the pupa and in the pupal leaf shelter are similar to what we have reported for C. dacela (Cock et al. 2014)   . The ‘crescent shaped, rugose, raised mark immediately behind’ the prothoracic spiracle, sounds like that noted for C. dacena   below (and C. dacela   ).

Vuattoux (1999) records rearing one specimen from oil palm, Elaeis guineensis   , and capturing a second in gallery forest of Bandama [River] (Un seul élevage a été réalisé sur le palmier à huile Elaeis guineensis   . Un autre adulte a été capturé dans la forêt galerie du Bandama le 2 mai 1972). MJWC re-examined the voucher specimen for the second of these, and found that it is actually a male C. dacela   , which is a known palm-feeder (Cock et al. 2014). It seems reasonable to assume that the specimen reared from oil palm is also C. dacela   , and that MJWC managed to list the wrong name for this identification which he made for R. Vuattoux (the species are too distinct to suggest an error in identification). Caenides soritia   is, therefore, only reliably recorded from a Zingiberaceae   food plant. Unlike C. dacena   treated next, it has not been suggested that C. soritia   is misplaced with the remaining palm and Marantaceae-feeding Caenides   spp.