Monza punctata punctata Aurivillius, 1910,

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: 349-350

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Monza punctata punctata Aurivillius, 1910


Monza punctata punctata Aurivillius, 1910  (Mt Mlanje, Malawi)

As noted above, this material is from the vicinity of the type locality (Mt Mlanje, Malawi) of the distinctive form crona, currently treated as a synonym of M. p. punctata ( Ackery et al. 1995)  , but likely to be a separate valid species (T.B. Larsen pers. comm. 2014). TCEC found early stages at Ruo Gorge at the foot of Mlanje Mountain, southern Malawi, feeding on a large-leaved Setaria  sp., identified as Setaria grandis  . Most reports indicate that S. grandis  is restricted to the Nyika Plateau of northern Malawi (e.g. Clayton 1989, Golding 2002), so this identification may need confirmation. The early stages were found in semi-shade along the road edge, and not on the much more plentiful food plant just outside the forest.

TCEC made observations on the leaf shelters ( Figure 48View FIGURE 48). A young caterpillar’s shelter consisted of the midrib and one leaf margin, rolled from the leaf apex back towards the base (Figure 48.1). A more advanced caterpillar was feeding on both sides of the midrib, but left the leaf margins intact (Figure 48.2), while the final instar caterpillar ate the leaf out to the margins on both sides, leaving a simple, tightly rolled tubular shelter (Figure 48.3). A field collected pupa was found in a dead-looking shelter, hanging down as described above for M. alberti  and M. cretacea  , tightly sealed at each end. The pupal shelter is lined with white waxy powder, but this hardly extends to the pupa (Figure 46.8 – 9, 47.5 – 6).

In the Ruo Gorge population, the penultimate instar caterpillars (Figure 49.1) have unmarked black heads, with no sign of paler colour, and no indication of black markings on the anal plate—very different in this respect from the Uluguru  population. In the final instar, the head is similar to the dark form illustrated from the Udzungwa Mountains, but laterally it is pale brown (Figure 49.2 – 3). There seems to be little variability in the head markings of the final instar, unlike M. p. punctata  from Tanzania. The pupa (Figure 49.4) is similar to that of the other populations of M. punctata  (Figure 46.8 – 9, 47.5 – 6).