Parnara monasi Trimen, 1889, Trimen, 1889

Cock, Matthew J. W. & Congdon, Colin E., 2012, Observations on the biology of Afrotropical Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera) principally from Kenya. Part 4. Hesperiinae: Aeromachini and Baorini, Zootaxa 3438, pp. 1-42: 31

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.246331


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scientific name

Parnara monasi Trimen, 1889


Parnara monasi Trimen, 1889  

Larsen (1991) reported this species from Kenya, based on a female (now in the National Museums of Kenya) which I captured in Kakamega Forest, 19 Aug 1988, at the D 267 crossing of the Ikuywa River. I have since found a male further north, by a patch of swampy grass where a stream crosses the track, 31 Aug 1995 and ABRI has specimens from Busia and Endebess, western Kenya. Dickson & Kroon (1978) associate this species with grassy banks of streams, or the edge of bush.

Food plants

A water-side grass has been observed to be the food plant in Natal (G.C. Clark in Dickson & Kroon 1978, Pringle et al. 1994). I have found it common in a wet meadow of Leersia hexandra   in Nigeria, and suspect this will prove to be a food plant. It is recorded as a pest of rice ( Oryza sativa   ) in Cameroun under the name P. naso   (of which P. monasi   was considered a subspecies until 1991) ( Heinrichs & Barrion 2004) but we have not traced the source of this information. Descamps (1956) mentions two other skippers as rice pests in his account of the insect pests of rice in Cameroun, but no Parnara   spp.

In Côte d’Ivoire, Vuattoux (1999) reared it on three grasses: Andropogon canaliculatus   , Imperata cylindrica   and Hyparrhenia   sp., which he characterises as grasses de savane brûlée ([regularly or annually] burnt savannah).

Williams’ (1989) and Davis & Barnes’ (1993) records of sugar cane and other Poaceae   as food plants of P. naso naso   in Mauritius are probably the origin of the food plant record of Saccharum   listed in Larsen (1991) for P. naso monasi   and Ackery et al. (1995) for P. naso   , including P. naso monasi   , since both these works followed Evans (1947) in treating P. m o n a s i as a subspecies of P. n a s o. However, when Heath et al. (2002) and Larsen (2005) treated P. monasi   as a separate species, they continued to list Saccharum   as a food plant. Although P. monasi   is quite likely to feed on Saccharum   , we have traced no records of it doing so.

Life history

We have not reared this species, but G.C. Clark (in Dickson & Kroon 1978, Plate 37) illustrates it in detail, and the following notes are taken from this source. Ovum yellow and hemispherical, turning blue-green, and developing red maculae before hatching. Leaf shelters a grass tube. The yellowish caterpillar has a dark head for the first three instars. The fourth instar has a pale brown head, dark posteriorly, with an inverted dark W on the face. The fifth instar has a brown head, with the posterior margin dark, a dark stripe down the median suture, running into a more or less rectangular dark area extending slightly wider than the clypeus, and interrupted by pale adfrontal plates. The pupa differs significantly from those of Pelopidas   , Borbo   and Gegenes   , as it is dark, with no frontal spike and covered with thick white fluff.