Ankola fan,

Cock, Matthew J. W. & Congdon, T. Colin E., 2014, Observations on the biology of Afrotropical Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera). Part 7. Hesperiinae incertae sedis: grass and bamboo feeders, Zootaxa 3872 (4), pp. 301-354: 320-321

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Ankola fan


Ankola fan  Holland, 1894

This species was described from Cameroon ( Holland 1894), and occurs from montane eastern Nigeria east to Kenya and south to Zambia ( Evans 1937, Larsen 2005, Heath et al. 2002). It seems to be quite common where it occurs, for example it is quite common and regularly seen at Kakamega Forest, particularly the southern part. At Kisii, adults flew in the surprisingly productive overgrown grounds of the Kisii Hotel around 1990, but perhaps no longer do so. Kielland (1990) associates it with swamp forests and marshy riversides in Tanzania.

Adult behaviour

The adults fly in sunlit clearings and margins of Kakamega Forest, settling on low vegetation, with their wings closed, and sometimes partially open. The flight is weak, and adults seldom fly far unless disturbed.

Food plants

MJWC found caterpillars in Kakamega Forest and Kisii on Panicum trichocladum  , growing in partially shaded situations, and growing up and through other vegetation. This is the ‘climbing grass’ referred to by Larsen (1991, 2005).

Leaf shelters

The shelter of a fourth instar caterpillar was well down on the plant stem, amongst other vegetation; it was 35mm long and made by cutting a notch from each end and folding the flap under.


The younger instars are undistinguished. The penultimate instar (Figure 19.1) has a dark brown head, 1.6 x 1.8mm wide x high (n= 1), irregularly reticulated; pronotum only diffusely darker; body translucent dull green with diffuse, pale, longitudinal subdorsal stripe; spiracles pale, inconspicuous; legs concolorous; anal plate rounded, the margin with long, pale, erect setae. The final instar caterpillar (Figure 19.2 – 3) is distinct from those of other Kenyan skippers; head 2.2 x 2.6mm wide x high (n= 1), light pale brown with broad dark line from behind apex laterally to stemmata; body yellow-white-green; dorsal line darker; broad, pale yellow-brown longitudinal subdorsal stripe; a similar adjacent dorsolateral stripe; paler ventrolaterally and ventrally. The final instar lasts about 22 days.


The pupal shelter is fully enclosed by rolling a grass blade, and blocking each end with a loose tangle of flocculent silk, incorporating a modest amount of white waxy flakes ( Figure 20View FIGURE 20). The pupa is smooth with slightly protuberant eyes; weakly chitinized pale brown; long, brown, erect setae on anterior and posterior portions of eyes, front of head and all dorsal regions; loosely covered with scattering of white waxy flakes; proboscis sheath projecting to cremaster. The weakly chitinized pupa, like those of Pardaleodes bule  and P. tibullus  ( Figure 17View FIGURE 17), normally collapses after emergence, and the similarities between the two genera are clear. This stage lasts 16–19 days.