Miami Blue

John Calhoun John.Calhoun at
Thu Jan 17 13:40:59 EST 2002


The subspecies C. thomasi bethunebakeri appears to be endemic from the
standpoint of having its core distribution in Florida.  It is also known
from the Bimini Islands, but it is not common and its status there is
uncertain. An insect similar to C. thomasi has recently been found on Cuba,
but it's identity is under review (L. Hernandez, pers. comm.). Kurt, any
additional insight here?

As far as C. ammon, this is a recent colonist that has only been verified
from Big Pine Key. There appears to be no issue of competition as C. thomasi
has declined throughout its Florida range, not just on BPK.  The hostplant
of C. thomasi on BPK was never confirmed.  Because it largely occurred in
the pine rockland habitats where C. ammon now occurs, it could be inferred
that it fed upon the native and exotic species of acacias that are now
exploited by C. ammon.  Balloon-vine was never a common component of that
environment.  Even on BPK, I don't think competition with C. ammon is an
issue as this species was not widespread until after C. thomasi had
"disappeared" (last BPK observation was in 1993; C. ammon suddenly became
common about 1998-99).  Also, C. ammon successfully shares the acacias with
M. azia and H. ceraunus.  It is of interest to note that the ranges of these
species previously overlapped only in the Bahamas.

I do wish our paper was available, I think it will help answer a lot of
these questions.  Thanks to John Heppner for moving as quickly as possible
to publish!

John Calhoun


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