loammi skipper

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Fri Jul 26 16:16:19 EDT 2002

I have posted a photo of two pair of Atrytonopsis loammi on the home page
of TILS-leps-talk.  Anyone can access this by this URL
Males on left females on right.  The top pair are topotypes from
Jacksonville, FL.  The bottom pair from the Islands off the southern coast
of North Carolina.
I had posted on this situation on leps-talk and thought I'd also post some

A few years ago at the Lep Soc meeting at Wake Forest John Burns presented
a paper on a "new species" of Atrytonopsis from NC.   Well, afterwards I
wrote him that he needed to check the loammi in Fla which looked the same.
I also mentioned that I had found the same thing here in Berkeley County,
SC back in the 70s.  I offered him TTR as a vehicle of publication.  I made
this offer and contact as I knew he was off base on this one and figured it
would provide a tactful way of getting involved and getting this straight.
He never answered my letter.

This is still being researched by John and Steve Hall of NC DNR.  I think
they have backed off the on the new species - but I am not sure.  I
understand that DNA work is being done but loammi is now so scarce in Fl
that I do not know if they have been able to get any fresh specimens.  My
view is that two things are the central problem here.

First is that there are mainland NC coastal populations that various folks
have been calling "loammi" for years.  These, in my opinion, are _clearly_
odd populations of A. hianna.  This miss ID lead to the thinking that the
nearby (and very different) off shore critter was a "new" species.

The mainland coastal NC hianna pops are double brooded - so what. Lots of
northern skippers are single brooded "up north" and double brooded when
(and if) the get far enough south.  Meg cofaqui is a good example.  It is
strictly single brooded from GA north.  Subspecies  M. c. slotteni in
Florida can be found many months of the year as one goes further and
further south.  These mainland coastal NC hiana pops also tend to have more
spots on the HW than "typical" hianna.  These two facts led the locals to
think this was loammi.  I have see them, they are just double brooded and
heavily spotted hianna.  If there is anything "new" - it would be this as a
hianna subspecies.

These odd hianna are also what has led to the horrible situation of loammi
having been sunk (without any published research by the way) into they
synonymy of hianna in the popular lit and web lists in recent years!!!!!
I have one hianna female from Arkansas with a full set of ventral spots.
But otherwise it is the typical blackish gray-brown of hianna with the gray
dustings.   Hianna is also a tiny bug compared to most loammi.

I have as much experience in the wild with loammi as probably anyone alive
today. I first found it when I lived in Pensacola Florida in 1968-69.  I
have collected/observed it in panhandle (Escambia Co.) and central
(Seminole Co.) Fl when taken to its haunts by Rick Gillmore and Steve Roman
in the old days of the 70s.  I have found it here in SC. I have checked out
many specimens in collections.  I have topotypes in my collection.

Loammi varies in size and amounts of spots - old specimens from south fl
are giants with huge white spots.  Those from farther north are smaller.
Everywhere, loammi has an entirely different coloration than hianna. Loammi
is a worm brown with virtually no gray dusting.  Hianna is a dark gray
brown species.  the ventral spots on hianna vary greatly from population to
population and region to region.  For example in the NC mountains virtually
all individuals have one basal spot and some all three - but no PM spots.
In Clemson SC and Orangeburg SC areas the hianna are lighter, more gray
washed, and seldom any ventral spots.

There are only two species of Atrytonopsis in the eastern US - hianna and
loammi.  By the way the genitalia of Atrytonopsis are about the same and
not useful in determining species.

Ron Gatrelle


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