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South African Butterfly

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Old Wednesday 14th June 2006, 19:22   #1
Widus
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Question South African Butterfly

Chief or Layman?
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Old Friday 23rd June 2006, 06:16   #2
pete woodall
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Hi Wildus

No one else has replied to this so I'll make a couple of comments although I'm no expert. I'm quoting from "Pennington's Butterflies of Southern Africa" (1978) ed CGC Dickson & DM Kroon.

Layman Amauris a. albimaculata - "the spots of the forewing are always pure white, whereas in A. echeria they are more often ochraceous. But the best way to distinguish the two is to observe the palpi, which in A. albimaculata have an elongate white stripe, but in A. echeria a white dot."

Chief Amauris e.echeria - "... variable species, ... usually shows ochraceous forewing spots".

After all that I'm undecided about your butterfly. the forewing spots do look pure white (=A. albimaculata) but some of Pennington's photos of A.echeria also show specimens with white spots but this is shown in the inland form vaal and subspecies lobengula His photo of A. e. echeria (the coastal subspecies) does show ochraceous forewing spots but how consistent this is I don't know - thus the comment about variability?
I can't make out the palps on your photo, this feature seems to be the clincher.

I have to say that your photo doesn't exactly match any of the ones in Pennington's, and he has got 5 of the two coastal subspecies, (2 of A.a.a. and 3 of A.e.e). e.g. the three apical spots on the forewing of your photo are more regular than those shown in his photos for either species.

That's the best I can do - I'd guess that it is a Layman but not certain of it.

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Old Saturday 24th June 2006, 07:55   #3
hkmoths
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Hi Widus & Pete,

The give away here is the spotting in the terminal area on the hindwing - one spot between each vein, not two (c.f. Layman and Chief). Also the pale orange medio-basal area does not extend to the costal edge of the hindwing.

I'd put very short odds on the Variable Diadem, Hypolimnas anthedon.
This is clearly illustrated on p.130 of Steve Woodhall's new (2005) Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Struik Publishers, Cape Town), ISBN 1 86872 724 6

cheers,

Roger.
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Last edited by hkmoths : Saturday 24th June 2006 at 08:04.
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Old Sunday 25th June 2006, 14:29   #4
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Hello Pete and Roger,

Thanks for your inputs. Sorry for having restriced the identification to the wrong genus in the first place.

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Old Tuesday 27th June 2006, 00:12   #5
pete woodall
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Hi Roger

Yes, I think that you are spot on with this id.

I don't have Woodhall's 2005 guide and Pennington's only gives a dorsal view of
Hypolimnas dubius wahlbergi f. anthedon which lacks the three white spots at the apex of the forewing and indeed any white spots on the border of the fore- or hindwing (dorsal view), but a ventral view of H. d. w. f. minima is pretty close to Widus' photo. [Clearly there has also been some changes to the taxonomy since that time with anthedon elevated to a full species. Where does H.d.w. f. minima now fit in?]

In the text of Pennington's there is a note that the form H.d.w.f. minima is a strong mimic of Amauris echeria - and it certainly had me confused.

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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 12:46   #6
hkmoths
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Variable Diadem taxonomy

Hi Pete,

I delved into an intermediate (chronologically speaking) book - Ivor Migdoll's Field Guide to the Butterflies of Southern Africa (1988, New Holland); he had this to say:

"... is a large and variable species with two forms of the southern African subspecies in South Africa, wahlbergi and mima. Form wahlbergi mimics the friar, Amauris niavius dominicanus, while form mima mimics the layman, Amauris albimaculata. .... The two forms are so different that for years they were believed to be separate species; in 1910, however, the results of breeding experiments were published which proved that the female of one form could produce offspring of its own and the other form. ....
"This butterfly was formerly known as Hypolimnas dubius wahlbergi."


fascinating stuff!

so: Hypolimnas anthedon Doubleday, 1845
ssp. wahlbergi Wallengren, 1857
f. mima Trimen, 1869 (mimics Amauris albimaculata - the layman)
f. wahlbergi (mimics Amauris niavius dominicanus - the friar)
See Markku Savela's website for a full breakdown on Hypolimnas taxonomy, and also why anthedon is not known as H. dubius any more.

cheers,

Roger.
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Last edited by hkmoths : Wednesday 28th June 2006 at 13:06.
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