[leps-talk] Lycaena 'phlaeas'

Guy_VdP at t-online.de Guy_VdP at t-online.de
Mon Apr 15 19:16:15 EDT 2002

Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX schrieb:
> I agree that 'phlaeas' as an introduced organism to 
> eastern North America is 
> an interesting 'idea'. As Ken has pointed out there is 

I read somewhere - I think in a (translated) copy of Higgins' & Riley's
'Guide to the leps of Britain and Europe' that _Papilio machaon_
'might' be imported to north America as well. If you're interested I'll
search for it.

Back to _L. phlaeas_:

Belgian _phlaeas_ differ from the scandinavian ones in that the colour
of the hindwing underside is different.
*But* this might be because of the temperatures out there, Belgium is
rather temperate, Scandinavia (and if I recall well, the 'scandinavian'
subspecies is supposed to live N of the Polar circle) is rather cold.
The tails of the S European (I have a nice series from La Palma -
Canary Islands and some from Turkey) specimens are indeed longer, but
sometimes - in warmer summers (it's easier to collect mushrooms in
Belgium) the 2nd generation in Belgium also shows *signs* of these
These *may very well* depend on the temperatures during development.
There is also the form _caeruleopunctata_ Staudinger: a nice form, with
blue spots on ups of hindw. - *maybe* caused by higher humidity and
I have read some articles in Atalanta about _phlaeas_ being a wanderer
- this would of course have a very positive effect on the gene flow.
Though Leraut lists _aestivus_ Zeller, 1847 as a subspecies occurring
in France (no type location mentioned, but presumably S.E. Europe),
several other publications treat all populations on mainland Europe +
the British Isles + N. Africa as belonging to the nominotypical
And even though the French like to believe that they live in a big
country, if _phlaeas_ is a wanderer, it would not be big enough to hold
two ssp.


> substantiate such an 'idea'. Just as I have not been able 
> to find a solid 
> argument to support the interpretation/assumption/idea 
> that we even have 
> phlaeas anywhere in North America. The eastern temperate 
> North American 
> hypophlaeas differ not only in the color of the ventral 
> hindwing from 
> temperate European butterflies but also differ in a 
> structural character, 
> namely the absence of tails which are prevalent in the 
> later broods of the 
> european entity. There could easily be other differences, 
> I have not looked 
> closely at these critters. Nothing has ever been 
> published that I can recall 
> to demonstrate that all of our North American taxa are 
> even the same 
> species, let alone the same species as the European bugs. 
> The arctic beasts 
> on both continents are quite different from the more 
> southern butterflies so 
> at the moment I view the present published taxonomy as 
> guesswork, a 
> down-to-earth descriptor for lumping things on the basis 
> of superficial 
> similarity and with disregard for the differing 
> phenotypes; biologies and 
> ecologies of these butterflies which function as distinct 
> biological species 
> in nature and which are the same taxonomic species only 
> in the minds of 
> those who have published their interpretations on this 
> group of butterlfies. 
> This is just one of many things that need research rather 
> than continued 
> parroting of old published interpretations. Viewing the 
> arctic bugs, western 
> cordilleran bugs and the temperate eastern bugs as 
> distinct species is just 
> as reasonable, if not more reasonable, interpretation 
> than calling them all 
> the same species because somebody said so many years ago.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Norbert Kondla  P.Biol., RPBio.
> Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management
> 845 Columbia Avenue, Castlegar, British Columbia V1N 1H3
> Phone 250-365-8610
> Mailto:Norbert.Kondla at gems3.gov.bc.ca       
> http://www.env.gov.bc.ca
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