First records of African clearwing moths (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) nectaring on the invasive shrubby false buttonweed - Spermacoce verticillata L. (Rubiaceae) in guinea and Liberia, West Africa.
During an entomological expedition organized by the African Natural History Reserch Trust, UK, Lydia Mulvaney, numerous individuals of Lophoceps quinquepuncta were observed on grassy clearings in riverine forest at Chute de Ditinn, Fouta Djallon, Guinea, between 19-24 September 2019. They were nectaring on tiny white flowers of a low plant with globular flowerhead, later identified as Spermacoce verticillata. They were observed only during the late afternoon hours, between 17.00 and 18.00 local time. Over the few days of observation, probably several hundred were seen. In May 2020, it was observed that S. verticillata was also present in the secondary savannah grasslands and grassy forest edges in the Liberian Nimba Mountains. On 8 July 2020 in the afternoon after 15.00 a L. quinquepuncta specimen was spotted on the flowers along a forest glade and further specimens were found during the systematic check of the flowerheads. During about an hour's search, more than 15 specimens were seen, plus a small, unidentified Episannina (Sesiidae; Sesiinae) specimen, all nectaring on the same plant species. This is thought to be the first records of African clearwing moths (Sesiidae) nectaring on the invasive shrubby false buttonweed (S. verticillata) in Guinea and Liberia.