Speyeria Shenanigans and Pieris

Chris J. Durden drdn at mail.utexas.edu
Tue Sep 11 14:20:52 EDT 2001

For distinguishing (in the field) small individuals of *Speyeria coronis* 
subspp. from similar-appearing average-sized *Speyeria "zerene"* subspp. I 
find body odor is a good key character. These small *coronis* smell like 
the other *coronis*, not like the *zerene*.
............Chris Durden

At 09:06 AM 9/11/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>Barbara asked about field marks.  I'm not sure which butterflies she's
>specifically referring to (I think it's the Speyeria that Norbert has on his
>e-Board), but I can say that she's not the only one who struggles with these
>identifications.  The Fritillaries I enjoyed in Oregon recently were also
>virtually impossible to separate.  There's no question that there are
>various forms on the wing - especially when you consider both the ventral
>and dorsal views (which Norbert's page does not show), but there are also
>very many similarities.  Size is a factor, along with the coloration (and
>extent of scaling) of the disc on the ventral hindwing.  The degree and
>pattern of black scaling on the dorsal forewing is a good identifier, as
>well as the extent of silver spotting.  The size and coloration of the
>submarginal band on the ventral hindwing is also a good identifier.  Of
>course, one would like to think that identification might be as simple as
>knowing your location - but that isn't always enough.  I, too, ran into what
>I'm sure map to multiple "subspecies" of S. zerene.  With that much
>variation, it's difficult to isolate the differences.
>I did witness a number of mating pairs - and I think that outside of
>bringing them into captivity, it's only through field observation that we
>can gain any insight.  It would appear that there is no cross breeding
>amongst species, but I can't prove that with my field observations alone.
>It's tempting to consider the possibility that all of these bugs are the
>same critter.  On the other hand, it's truly overwhelming when you stumble
>into a Fritillary frenzy and you consider the possibility that they might
>just in fact all be different.  I saw at least three frits that day which
>were totally unique from all of the others.  When it's one in thousands
>you're looking at, you can't hardly afford to ignore even a single one.
>In 90 degree F. plus heat, it's not for the faint hearted, that's for sure.
>Mark Walker


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