Monday 22 August 2016

Lepidochrysops liberti & Ceratrichia fako: Two new species of Butterfly from the slopes of Mount Cameroon.

Mount Cameroon is a 4095 m high stratovolcano (cone shaped volcano made up of successive layers of ash and lava) on the coast of Cameroon, about 80 km northwest of the capital, Douala. The volcano sits slightly to the north of the Central African Shear Zone, which cuts though the country from southwest to northeast. The slopes of Mount Cameroon are considered an important biodiversity hotspot, having formed part of the Gulf of Guinea Highlands forest refugium during the Pleistocene glacial maximums when the surrounding lowlands were an arid grassland, enabling forest species to survive here that were wiped out in the lowlands.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 11 August 2016, Szabolcs Sáfián of the Institute of Silviculture and Forest Protection at the University of West Hungary and the Faculty of Science at the University of South Bohemia and Robert Tropek of the Faculty of Science at Charles University in Prague and the Institute of Entomology of the Czech Academy of Science describe two new species of Butterfly from the slopes of Mount Cameroon discovered during expeditions to the area, in 2014-15.

The first species is assigned to the Polyommatinae (Blues), being placed in the genus Lepidochrysops, and given the specific name liberti, in honour of the lepidopterist Michel Libert, who devoted his life to studying the Butterflies of Africa. The species was found in Elephant-disturbed mosaic forest on the southwestern slopes of Mount Cameroon, at altitudes of between 1100 m and 1200 m. 

Male specimen of Lepidochrysops liberti in dorsal view. Sáfián & Tropek (2016).

Male specimens of Lepidochrysops liberti had wingspans of slightly over 30 mm across and had white wings with blue colouring around the bases and black on the tips of the forewings as well as a single black spot on each hindwing. The single female found had a wingspan of 40.5 mm, with stronger black markings.

Female specimen of Lepidochrysops liberti in dorsal view. Sáfián & Tropek (2016).

The second new species described is assigned to the Hesperiidae (Skippers), being placed in the genus Ceratrichia and given the specific name fako, from 'Fako' the local name for Mount Cameroon.  The species was first discovered in sub-montane forest at an altitude of about 1700 m, above the town of Bokwaongo-Buea, then later at a number of other localities on the southwestern slopes of the mountain between 1100 m and 1500 m.

Male specimen of Ceratrichia fako in dorsal view. Sáfián & Tropek (2016).

These Butterflies had wingspans of slightly over 25 mm and were chocolate brown in colour with a scattering of gold scales on their wings. The underside of the hind wing is yellow, with a pattern of spots. Females are similar to the males, but with spots on both sides of the forewings.

Female specimen of Ceratrichia fako in dorsal view. Sáfián & Tropek (2016).

See also...

Notomela joliveti: A new species of Flea Beetle from Principe Island.

Flea Beetles, Alticini, are highly specialized Leaf Beetles, Chrysomelidae, which get their common name from their highly modified rear legs, which enable them to make sudden long jumps when threatened. They are small for Leaf Beetles, though not exceptionally so, and are herbivorous, with each species favoring...

A new species of Arctiid Moth from southwest Cameroon.                                                 Lichen Moths, Wasp Moths and Footmen. They are unusual for Moths in that they have sound producing organs used to communicate (though not at any frequency Humans can hear). Their caterpillars are typically extremely hairy, and often absorb toxins...

Explosions on Mount Cameroon.

An explosion on Mount Cameroon is said to have injured two tourist guides working on the mountain on Friday 3 February 2012. Local people also reported seeing bursts of flame and clouds of ash. Residents close to the mountain have reportedly been voluntarily moving away from the volcano, which has a history...

Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.