Another Interesting Example

Richard Worth rworth at
Wed Apr 5 17:29:40 EDT 2000

I, too, would like to think that these are two separate species.  I 
don't think there is any gene flow between the east (cybele) and west 
(leto) forms.  Does eastern cybele make it very far west of the 
Rockies?  I've collected it south of Denver before.  The western 
populations ALL seem to have evolved yellow and black females while 
the eastern pops NEVER have this form, to the best of my knowledge. 
I know this is a single character (we won't go there, already been), 
but it seems like it might be important.  Maybe some mating studies 
are needed.  Are they host specific when it comes to their choice of 
violets (same species of hosts east and west)?  Up here in the 
coastal part of the northwest we have ssp. pugetensis which does look 
very much like leto but a bit brighter in color.  I would love to 
find a female but they don't come out of the forest very much.  Just 
a second opinion /observation

>Apologies for any inadvertant creation of cranial cramps but before I forget
>this example: Speyeria cybele/leto. A 1940's list lumped these into one
>species without presenting any data or rationale. A 1990 list of Utah
>butterflies available on the web splits these into two species without
>presenting any data or rationale.  In the absence of data or published
>rationale's my sense of promoting stability in this case would be to go back
>to the original usage of the authors who described cybele and leto as
>distinct species (at least I think that is the way it happened with no
>literature here at the office to refer to). Just my opinion, form your own
>based on available information and preferred concepts of species/subspecies
>Norbert Kondla  P.Biol., RPBio.
>Forest Ecosystem Specialist, Ministry of Environment
>845 Columbia Avenue, Castlegar, British Columbia V1N 1H3
>Phone 250-365-8610
>Mailto:Norbert.Kondla at

Richard A. Worth
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Plant Division
rworth at
(503) 986-6461

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