Chris J. Durden drdn at
Thu Nov 7 11:53:51 EST 2002

I have no information on the fertility of the wild *V. atalanta* X *V. 
annabella* offspring. I suspect they are infertile because none of the 
pictures I have seen suggest the kind of asymmetric phenotypic expression 
one would expect in a backcross. They do reach maturity however, and I 
think this is a valuable indicator of genetic, developmental and 
physiologic lack of distance.
   What one considers a genus is really a matter of style, balanced by the 
prevailing practice of fellow researchers in each group. Beefalo is I think 
a good example of this situation. Both *Bison bonasus* and *B. bison* 
produce hybrids when crossed with *Bos taurus*. Van Gelder 1977 and Groves 
1981 both consider *Bison* to be a subgenus of *Bos*, yet we are reluctant 
to go against the long tradition of considering *Bison* and *Bos* to be 
distinct genera.
    It is possible that the type species *Vanessa atalanta* and *Cynthia 
cardui* may belong to different genera, and that *annabella* should be 
assigned to *Vanessa* because of the greater similarity of male genitalia, 
rather than to *Cynthia* because of the similar color pattern. Perhaps 
*Cynthia* should include only *C. cardui* and *C. kershawi*.  I know of no 
wild or lab hybrids between *V. atalanta* and *C. cardui* and a test of *V. 
indica* X *C. kershawi* would be most instructive because of their lack of 
.....................Chris Durden

At 06:16 PM 11/6/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>Hi all.
>    I think Chris brings up a good point: If two entities can hybridize in
>the wild is that in itself sufficient to consider them congeneric?
>   I'm not a taxonomist or an entomologist but I can't help but wonder if two
>butterflies can mate and produce fertile offspring and you can still
>consider them affiliated with different genera what exactly then does that
>taxon (genus) mean?
>                                             Bill Yule
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Chris J. Durden" <drdn at>
>To: <leps-l at>
>Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2002 12:40 PM
>Subject: Re: Cynthia
> > To me the occurrence of occasional wild hybrids between *V. atalanta* and
> > *C. annabella* suggests that they should be considered congeneric and that
> > *Cynthia* should be ranked as a weak subgenus of *Vanessa*.
> > ................Chris Durden
> >
> > At 11:57 AM 11/4/2002 -0800, you wrote:
> > >Hi Bill et al.,
> > >
> > >Cynthia resurrected by W. D. Field (1971, Smithsonian Contrib. Zool. 84)
> > >for
> > >cardui, kershawi, virginiensis, altissima, braziliensis, terpsichore,
> > >myrinna, annabella, carye
> > >
> > >Vanessa ss. is for atalanta, tameamea, samani, indica, dejeanii
> > >
> > >Bassaris ss. for itea and gonerilla
> > >
> > >Lately, the monophyly of Vanessa + Cynthia + Bassaris  has been
> > >supported by molecular and morphological cladistic analysis by Nylin et
> > >al (2001, Biol. J. Linn Soc. 132:441-468), although they do not have an
> > >opinion on whether the clade should be one genus or three.
> > >
> > >Cheers,
> > >
> > >Andy Brower
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >  ------------------------------------------------------------
> >
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> >
> >
> >
> >


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