Vanessa movements and Peck's skipper

bill and Dale droberts03 at
Thu Jun 7 17:33:28 EDT 2001

      Thanks for responding to the second question of my post concerning Peck's
skipper. I was beginning to think that my taxonomy query got swept up in the
"sound and fury" of the Vanessa migration (irruption, emigration, whatever?).
      So if I understand correctly it is a nomenclatural issue for Pyle, who
apparently believes that Polites peckius and P.coras are conspecific and P.
coras would take precedence, having been validly published first?  I suppose we
could guess that Glassberg does NOT believe they are conspecific, but then
again maybe he just uses the more familar taxon since it is ONLY a field
guide.  Which brings me to the question  ; Does zoological nomenclatural policy
make exceptions to rules of precedence the way Botanical nomenclature does if
the committee votes it in? Is this getting too technical here? I'm starting to
feel like I'm pulling ticks off a dead elephant.
                                              Anyway thanks again for the

                                                                 Bill Yule

"Chris J. Durden" wrote:

> Bill,
>     I was recently in Quebec, Ontario and upstate New York where the
> *Vanessa* species were *atalanta* which was abundant and moving north and
> *virginiensis* which was common. I saw no *cardui*. As far as I know, a
> southward movement in the fall has not yet been documented in North America
> so the movement of *atalanta* would be an emigration from the south or an
> immigration to the north.
> At 02:11 PM 6/2/2001 -0400, you wrote:
> >Hi Everyone,
> >        This is my first post to this group so please be gentle with me.
> >I have a couple of questions that I'd like to pose to the group and as
> >I'm both an amateur and somewhat of a beginner (one of those expatriated
> >birders) I'm not even sure that these questions are appro[priate for
> >this forum but here goes:
> >1. The large movement of Vanessa sps.(V. atalanta, V.cardui), Admiral
> >and Lady, that we are experiencing here in the northeastern U.S., is
> >this properly termed an irruption, emigration or migration? Are these
> >terms interchangable or is one or  another term more accurately
> >descriptive of what's happening?
> *P. coras* is the older name which takes precedence if the two are the same
> species. This name was for many years not recognized because of the obscure
> original description and older references use *peckius* exclusively.
>     *P. peckius* was described by Kirby (1837) from a specimen collected by
> Bigsby in Upper Canada (now Ontario). Bigsby was chief surveyor on the
> boundary survey and spent a lot of time on Drummond Island which was then
> in Upper Canada and is now in Michigan. It flies in meadow glades in mixed
> deciduous/coniferous woodland from New England to Montana, south in
> mountains to western North Carolina and Colorado. The VHW patch pattern is
> of large patches with diffuse edges.
>     *P. coras* was described by Cramer (1775) from a specimen he thought
> came from Surinam but which looks like it came from the Dutch settlements
> around New York. It flies in old fields and is particularly common on
> relict prairie in South Dakota. It ranges at lower elevations across the
> South and north to western Pennsylvania. The VHW patch pattern is of small
> patches with crisp edges.
>     These butterflies have been assumed to belong to the same species. I am
> not at all sure that this is really so.
>     Remember that field guides try to keep things simple. Corners are cut,
> and sometimes things are made more complicated!
> ................Chris Durden
> >2. Polites peckius vs.Polites coras ? Since I use "field guides" rather
> >than monographs to ID butterflies I'm confused about the classification
> >of Peck's skipper in the Glassberg book vs. the classification of
> >Yellowpatch skipper in Pyle's Audubon guide. I'm not interested so much
> >in the competing English vernacular names as I am in the competing
> >Latinized binomials. Specifically are the two different specific
> >circumscriptions taxonomic issues or nomenclatural issues?
> >                                                             Thanks,
> >
> >Bill Yule
> >
> >
> >
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