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Another New Record for Hong Kong - Cephrenes acalle Hopffer, 1874

(Family Hesperiidae)



Several larvae were found in leaf shelter typical of the Hesperiidae family around the Peak. They were reared under indoor condition and were found to be distinctly different from the material on hand. They turned out to be another new record for Hong Kong.

Cephrenes acalle ¡ñ

Cephrenes acalle ¡ð

Tip of its uncus

Male genitalia of Cephrenes acalle



According to Evans 1949 in his master work "A catalogue of the Hesperiidae from Europe, Asia and Australia in the British Museum", there are five species recorded under this genus, with only one species found in the South East Asia and the rest found in the southern hemisphere namely in the Papuan and Australian region.

 The general distribution of the subspecies of Cephrenes acalle Hopffer, 1874 is as follows:

 acella  Sulawesi ; chrysozona Philippines; negrosiana Philippines; kayapu Engano & Bawean;

kliana Borneo; niasica Malaysia and Thailand; nicobarica Nicobar; oceanica India, Laos, Thailand Hainan

Further to Parsons¡¦ publication on the Butterflies of Papua New Guinea, there are at least eight species including Cephrenes trichopepla (Lower, 1908); Cephrenes augiades (C. Felder, 1868); Cephrenes moseleyi (Butler, 1884); Cephrenes shortlandica (Swinhoe, 1915); Cephrenes augiana Evans 1934; Cephrenes augusta Evans, 1934 and another unnamed Cephrenes species to be described.

The change of the name from chrysozona to acalle is the result of the checking by Maruyama (1991) on Hopffer¡¦s type of Hesperia acalle, which was found to be the same as Cephrenes chrysozona lompa Evans, 1934. R. de Jong who had checked the genitalia of the type also confirmed this.



Cephrenes feeds on many host plants over its entire range but mainly on Arecaceae (Palmae), like the popular Coconut. This Cephrenes acalle is found feeding on Livistona chinensis (Jacq.) R. Br. on Hong Kong Island. Although adults have seldom been seen like many adult skippers, its immature stages are readily found throughout the Hong Kong Island. Its distribution appears to be spreading and it will appear in the New Territories very shortly. It seems to arrive in Hong Kong following the importation of various palms of which it feeds.

Both sexes are dimorphic. The male resembles Telicota species but without sex bands. While, the female is much paler. The butterfly is generally larger than the Telicota counterparts and that may very well be mistaken as a Telicota species especially if it is a male.     


5th or final instar larva

Head capsule of the 5th instar larva

Livistona chinensis (Jacq.) R. Br.



  I have prepared the following for your further reference: 

a) Cephrenes acalle chrysozona - Manila, Philippines 

Cephrenes acalle chrysozona from Manila, Philippines


b) Cephrenes acalle kliana - Sandakan, Sabah 


Final instar larva


Head capsule of the final instar larva



The female Cephrenes acalle kliana


c) Cephrenes augiades websteri - Rabual, PNG 

 I would like to thank the consorted effort of many HKLS members in bringing this new record to light for Hong Kong.. Without their assistance,  it is not possible to survey this butterfly in details and rear through its life history. 

(prepared by J J Young)

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