Doug Yanega dyanega at
Tue May 19 16:12:15 EDT 2009

>Hi. I have been looking on-line lately about the relationships 
>between the various species of Limenitis that live in North America. 
>They seem to all be surprisingly closely related. I have found 
>records of hybrids between all of the species that overlap; even 
>between lorquini and archippus, and L. archippus X L. arthemis 
>astyanax hybrids have been found forty-five times. There's a 
>photograph on BugGuide of what appears to be a hybrid between L. 
>weidemeyerii and L. archippus, which was taken in southeastern 
>Arizona. It is like a weidemeyerii without the white median bands, 
>and has relatively large dull orange postmedian spots on the 
>hindwing. Apparently, by what I've read, lorquini and arthemis form 
>a blend zone where they come together. With all this hybridization, 
>it would seem that all the Limenitis, or at least archippus and 
>arthemis, may be forms of one variable species. What has convinced 
>scientists that this is not the case?

If you haven't yet read it, the paper you need to see is:

Sean P. Mullen (2006). Wing pattern evolution and the origins of 
mimicry among North American admiral butterflies (Nymphalidae: 
Limenitis). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39: 747-758

This pretty much explains it all.

Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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