Key West Leps

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Tue Jan 8 12:21:58 EST 2002

Randy,  I think you have the paper where Harry Pavulaan and I described
Brephidium isophthalma insularus from South Carolina (if not let me know
and I will email the pdf to you).  In that paper we raised the question of
sibling speciation between insularus (Island Pigmy Blue) and pseudofea
(Florida Pigmy Blue).  This was based on the very different types of
antennal clubs found on true topotypical pseudofea Key West and topotypical
insularus from Beaufort Co., SC

The clubs of true pseudofea are short, spoon shaped, and 1/3 to 1/2 red
tipped.  In insularus they are long, tube shaped, and usually all black to
very little red on tips.
The shape and color of the antennal clubs was one of the main diagnostic
features of pseudofea mentioned in its original description.

So while in Key West hit the marsh areas and look for this. North end of
Island to south side, toward air base, good area.  This is such a little
critter that not only is the entire adult overlooked or missed but also its
details - like antennal club size and color.  It would not surprise me that
two species are involved and that true pseudofea is actually the less
"common" of the insularus is known to extend into at least north

Pseudofea does not range north of Florida as all specimens Harry and I have
seen from the "north" are insularus. This is why the use of "Eastern Pigmy
Blue" as a common name is totally way off.  Florida Pigmy and Island Pigmy
are the two best (and most correct) common names by which to refer to these
two taxa.  The use of "blanket" common names that cover several subspecies
or hidden siblings works heartily to the detriment of unique taxon
recognition and thus their conservation.



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