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Designation of a lectotype of Nisoniades somnus and notes on the occurrence of Erynnis icelus in Florida (Hesperiidae)

Authors:
  • McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History

Abstract and Figures

Nisoniades somnus Lintner was described in 1881 from one male and one female from "Indian River, Florida." Neither specimen was identified as the holotype, therefore a lectotype and paralectotype are hereby designated. Dubious reports of Erynnis icelus from Florida also are examined. Additional key words: Erynnis brizo, type locality, paralectotype.
Nisoniades somnus Lintner. 1, Lectotype male; 2, Paralectotype female. in Edwards' hand as "somnus/ ~/Ind. Riv." and is considered a topotype. Unlike most of Edwards' specimens, the types of N. somnus do not possess locality data. Edwards did not place labels on his individual specimens until he sold his collection to W. J. Holland in the late 1880's (Brown 1964). At that time, he prepared labels that typically included the name of the species, sex of the specimen and a brief (sometimes cryptic) mention of the location of capture. Edwards probably did not affix such labels to the N. somnus types because Lintner's labels already were present. The difficulty experienced by most nineteenth century lepidopterists in recognizing distinct differences between E . h. somnus and E. icelus contributed to confusion over the distribution of E. icelus that haunted the literature for 80 years. Edwards (1884) casually listed E. icelus from "Fla," regardless of the fact that his closest record was from Illinois. Subsequent authors, including French (1885), Maynard (1891), Skinner (1898) and Holland (1898) followed Edwards and continued to include Florida within the range of E. icelus. Scudder (1889) implied a reluctance to accept Florida reports when he remarked that "Edwards also gives it from Florida." Apparently, Scudder had not seen any specimens of E. icelus from Florida, nor had he received any such reports from his many correspondents. Blatchley (1902) reported that he collected "several" E. icelus (supposedly determined by H . Skinner) in the spring of 1889 at Ormond, Volusia County, Florida (he listed E. h. somnus
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Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal
of
the
Lepidopterists' Society
47(1), 1993,
49-54
DESIGNA
TION
OF
A
LECTOTYPE
OF
NISONIADES
SOMNUS
AND
NOTES
ON
THE
OCCURRENCE
OF
ERYNNIS
ICELUS
IN
FLORIDA
(HESPERIIDAE)
JOHN
V.
CALHOUN]
1731 San Mateo Drive,
Dunedin,
Florida
34698
ABSTRACT. Nisoniades somnus
Lintner
was described in 1881
from
one
male
and
one
female
from
"Indian
River,
Florida."
Neither
specimen
was identified as
the
holotype,
therefore
a lectotype
and
paralectotype
are
hereby
designated. Dubious reports of Erynnis
icelus
from
Florida
also
are
examined.
Additional
key
words:
Erynnis hrizo,
type
locality,
paralectotype.
Over
a
century
ago,
J.
A.
Lintner
described
a distinctive
Floridian
skipper
as Nisoniades somnus
(Lintner
1881).
This
taxon
currently
is
considered
a subspecies
of
Erynnis brizo (Boisduval &
LeConte)
and
is
restricted
to
the
Florida
peninsula
(Burns 1964).
The
description
was
based
on
one
male
and
one
female
from
"Indian
River,
Florida"
(given
ambiguously
as
"Florida"
by
Miller
and
Brown
[1981])
deposited
in
the
collection of
W.
H.
Edwards.
The
types
were
undoubtedly
collected
by
Dr.
William
Wittfeld
(1827-1913)
and/or
his
daughter
Annie
M.
Wittfeld
(1865-88) of
Georgiana,
Brevard
County,
Florida,
who
were
regular
correspondents
of
Edwards
and
the
source
of
his
"Indian
River"
records.
The
Wittfelds
began
collecting
Lepidoptera
for
Edwards
in
1880 (dos Passos 1951),
thus
the
specimens
probably
were
captured
during
the
spring
of
1880
or
1881.
In
his
original
description,
Lintner
compared
somnus almost exclu-
sively
to
Erynnis icelus
(Scudder
& Burgess),
rather
than
E.
brizo.
As
a result,
subsequent
authors
(e.g.,
Edwards
1884, Skinner 1898,
Dyar
1902,
Smith
1891, 1903) associated somnus
more
closely
with
E. icelus,
alluding
to
a
relationship
between
the
two. This
perceived
relationship
is surprising
considering
that
Lintner
(1881) himself
revealed
in
the
same
paper
that
males of
both
somnus
and
E. brizo lack
hair
tufts
on
the
hind
tibiae, a
structure
present
in
E.
icelus. Blatchley (1902)
sum-
marized
the
general
opinion
regarding
these
taxa
when
he
remarked
that
somnus was "closely
allied"
to
E.
icelus
and
"may
be only a
large
southern
form."
For
many
years following its
original
description,
somnus was
known
from
very
few localities
and
most
authors
(e.g.,
French
1885,
Maynard
1891,
Skinner
1898)
continued
to
list this taxon only
from
the
type
locality. An
exception
was
Scudder
(1889)
who
listed "Thanaos brizo"
J Research Associate,
Florida
State Collection of Arthropods, GainesviJIe, Florida.
50
JOURNAL
OF
THE
LEPIDOPTERISTS'
SOCIETY
from
Florida
and
included
the
additional
locality of
"Haulover."
This
record
was
provided
by
E.
A.
Schwarz,
probably
as a result
of
his visits
to
Florida
in
1875
and
1876 (Schwarz 1888). This
reference
is especially
interesting
because
Haulover
formerly
existed in
northern
Brevard
County,
approximately
22
km
north
of
Georgiana,
where
the
type
specimens
of
N. somnus
probably
originated.
Schwarz obviously rec-
ognized
the
similarity of his
specimens
to
E. hrizo
and
identified
them
as such. This was
the
first
glimpse
into
the
true
relationship
between
these taxa.
Dyar
(1905) was
the
first
to
openly
suggest
that
somnus was
"perhaps
but
a
dark
form
of hrizo"
and
noted
the
resemblance
of
their
genitalia.
This
notion
was
supported
by
Skinner
(1914)
who
also
commented
on
the
similarity
of
their
genitalia. F. E.
Watson
(in Grossbeck 1917)
more
confidently
submitted
that
somnus
is
"probably
a subspecies
of
hrizo."
Following
the
acceptance
of
somnus
asa
subspecies of E. hrizo
by
Barnes
and
McDunnough
(1917), this taxonomic status was
generally
adopted.
However,
Holland
(1931)
stated
that
he
was
"unable
to
agree
with
this
opinion"
and
retained
the
mistaken
belief
that
somnus was
"much
nearer
to
T.
icelus."
Lintner
(1881)
did
not
designate
either
of his
specimens
of Nisoniades
somnus as
the
holotype. Miller
and
Brown
(1981)
were
unaware
of
the
location of
Lintner's
syntypes
although
Skinner
(1914)
stated
that
they
were
deposited
in
the
Carnegie
Museum
of
Natural
History,
where
they
remain
today.
These
specimens
were
figured
by
Holland
(1931:
plate
51, figs.
3-4)
who
identified
each
as
"type."
Both
specimens
lack
antennae
(the
male
retains
a
portion
of
the
left
antenna)
which
were
noticeably
drawn
onto
the
Holland
figures.
The
specimens
are
in good
condition,
except
the
abdomen
of
the
female
is now
detached
and
pinned
with
the
specimen
in a
dry
vial.
The
male
specimen
(Fig.
1)
(left
forewing
length,
base
to
apex
= 15
mm)
is
hereby
designated
as
the
lectotype.
It
bears
three
labels:
"Nisoniades/Somnus,
c3/Lintn./
TYPE."
in
Lintner's
hand;
"Collection/W.
H.
Edwards"
printed;
and
"Butterfly
Book/PI. 51 Fig.
3,"
printed
and
handwritten.
I
have
affixed
a
red
label
declaring
the
specimen
as
the
lectotype.
The
female
spec-
imen
(Fig.
2)
(left
forewing
length,
base
to
apex
= 16
mm)
is
designated
as a
paralectotype.
It
also
bears
three
labels:
"Nisoniades/
Somnus,
'i?/Lintn./
TYPE."
in
Lintner's
hand;
"Collection/W.
H.
Edwards"
printed;
and
"Butterfly
Book/PI. 51 Fig.
4,"
printed
and
handwritten.
A
red
label has
been
affixed
to
indicate
its status as
paralectotype.
The
type
locality is
restricted
to
Georgiana,
approximately
5
km
south
of
the
city
of
Merritt
Island,
Brevard
County,
Florida.
An
additional
male
specimen
of
E.
h.
somnus was figured
by
Holland
(1898, 1931:plate
48, fig. 2). This
specimen,
from
the
W. H.
Edwards
collection,
is
labelled
VOLUME
47,
NUMBER
1
51
FIGS.
1-2.
Nisoniades
somnus
Lintner.
1,
Lectotype
male;
2,
Paralectotype
female.
in
Edwards'
hand
as
"somnus/
~/Ind.
Riv."
and
is
considered
a
topotype.
Unlike
most of
Edwards'
specimens,
the
types of
N.
somnus
do
not
possess locality
data.
Edwards
did
not
place
labels on his
individual
specimens
until
he
sold his collection
to
W.
J.
Holland
in
the
late
1880's
(Brown 1964). At
that
time,
he
prepared
labels
that
typically
included
the
name
of
the
species, sex of
the
specimen
and
a
brief
(sometimes
cryptic)
mention
of
the
location of
capture
.
Edwards
probably
did
not
affix
such
labels to
the
N. somnus
types
because
Lintner's
labels
already
were
present.
The
difficulty
experienced
by
most
nineteenth
century
lepidopterists
in recognizing distinct differences
between
E.
h.
somnus
and
E. icelus
contributed
to confusion
over
the
distribution
of E. icelus
that
haunted
the
literature
for 80 years.
Edwards
(1884) casually listed E. icelus
from
"Fla,"
regardless of
the
fact
that
his closest
record
was
from
Illinois.
Subsequent
authors,
including
French
(1885),
Maynard
(1891),
Skinner
(1898)
and
Holland
(1898) followed
Edwards
and
continued
to
include
Florida
within
the
range
of E. icelus.
Scudder
(1889)
implied
a reluc-
tance
to
accept
Florida
reports
when
he
remarked
that
"Edwards
also
gives
it
from
Florida."
Apparently,
Scudder
had
not
seen
any
specimens
of
E.
icelus
from
Florida,
nor
had
he
received
any
such
reports
from
his
many
correspondents. Blatchley (1902)
reported
that
he
collected
"several"
E. icelus (supposedly
determined
by
H. Skinner) in
the
spring
of 1889
at
Ormond,
Volusia
County,
Florida
(he
listed
E.
h.
somnus
52
JOURNAL
OF
THE
LEPIDOPTERISTS'
SOCIETY
separately). Not
until
the
treatises on
the
Hesperioidea
by
Lindsey
(1921)
and
Lindsey
et
al. (1931)
did
the
Floridian
reports
finally
become
unacceptable.
The
furthest
south
from
which
these
authors
reported
E.
icelus was
North
Carolina.
However,
the
saga
continued
when
Macy
and
Shepard
(1941)
resurrected
the
Floridian
reports
and
Evans
(1953)
indicated
that
the
British
Museum
(Natural
History)
contained
E.
icelus
from
Florida.
Forbes
(1960) also listed E. icelus
from
Florida,
possibly
on
the
authority
of Evans. Burns (1964)
examined
the
purported
Flo-
ridian
specimen
of E. icelus in
the
British
Museum,
a dateless
male
from
the
R.
Oberthiir
collection
marked
only
as
"Floride,"
and
con-
sidered
it mislabelled. Burns
added
that
"E.
icelus has
often
been
attributed
to
Florida,
chiefly in
older
literature;
the
error
seems to
stem
from
Edwards.
Many
highly
questionable
locality records
(and
food-
plant
records
as well)
have
been
uncritically
repeated,
in
literature
bearing
on
the
Erynnis,
to
the
extent
that
nowadays
they
may
appear
to
be
reliable,
when
actually
they
are
not."
Although
Kimball
(1965)
included
a
contemporary
record
(1961) of E. icelus
from
the
Florida
panhandle
(determined
by
W.
T. M.
Forbes
as
"apparently
this")
he
retorted
"I
am
much
in
doubt
as
to
whether
this species
is
really
native
to
Florida."
The
basis of
the
early
reports
of E. icelus in
Florida
probably
can
be
traced
to
a small
female
specimen
of E.
h.
somnus
from
the
W.
H.
Edwards
collection labelled
"Nisoniades/icelus(?)/Lintn./2/Ind.
Riv."
in
Edwards'
hand.
The
specimen
was
undoubtedly
collected
by
the
Wittfelds
at
Georgiana,
Brevard
County,
Florida
at
about
the
same
time
the
types
of Nisoniades somnus
were
collected (ca. 1880). This
supports
Skinner
(1914)
who
suggested
that
Floridian
records of E.
icelus
may
actually
be
E.
h.
somnus.
Improperly
identified
skippers
are
epidemic
within
early
collections
and
even
remotely
similar
species
were
confused.
This
problem
is
exemplified
by
H. G.
Dyar
who
de-
termined
as
E.
h.
somnus a Mississippi
specimen
of Erynnis zarucco
(Lucas) (Burns 1964).
However,
this
inherent
identification
problem
does
not
entirely
solve
the
Floridian
E. icelus
dilemma.
Six
male
specimens
of E. icelus,
bearing
handwritten
and
printed
labels
reading
"Fla"
from
the
W.
J.
Holland
collection,
are
deposited
in
the
Carnegie
Museum
of
Natural
History (identifications verified
by
genitalic
examination).
Three
of
these
specimens
also possess
hand-
written
labels
reading
"Morrison,"
apparently
in
reference
to
the
nine-
teenth
century
collector
Herbert
K.
Morrison. Morrison collected in
Florida
in 1883, 1884
and
1885 (Essig 1931). Morrison also visited
at
least
ten
other
states
between
1874
and
1883 (Essig 1931), all of
which
possess valid records of E. icelus (Burns 1964). Morrison was a prolific
collector
and
such
zeal increases
the
potential
for
accidental
mislabel-
VOLUME
47,
NUMBER
1 53
ling. Nonetheless,
the
validity
of
these
specimens
is
difficult
to
ascertain,
especially since
no
similarly
labelled
specimens
in
the
Carnegie
Museum
are
thought
to
be
mislabelled
0.
E. Rawlins pers.
comm.).
These
six
specimens
are
probably
the
basis
for
Holland's
(1898, 1931) inclusion
of
Florida
within
the
range
of
E. icelus.
There
is
a
very
remote
possibility
that
E. ice Ius
occurred
(or occurs)
in
northern
Florida,
especially
the
panhandle
where
habitats
of
more
northern
affinities occur.
However,
valid
specimens
of this species
are
not
known
from
south
of
northern
Georgia
(Burns 1964,
Opler
& Krizek
1984). Unless
additional
evidence
is
revealed,
the
six
Floridian
speci-
mens
of E. icelus will
remain
an
enigma.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I
am
grateful
to
John
E.
Rawlins of
the
Carnegie
Museum
of
Natural
History for helpful
information
and
the
loan of specimens.
Thanks
are
also
extended
to
Timothy
L.
McCabe
of
the
New
York State
Museum
for his verification of
J.
A.
Lintner's
handwriting.
John
M.
Burns
and
an
anonymous
reviewer
critically
reviewed
the
manuscript
and
provided
many
helpful
suggestions.
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Received for publication
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Article
Full-text available
An updated list of the butterflies and skippers of Florida is presented which treats 193 species (21 1 species and subspecies). English common names are provided. Type localities are given for species and subspecies described from Florida material. Also included are synonymous and infrasubspecific taxa that possess Florida type localities. The status (resident, naturalized resident, immigrant, accidental introduction, Stray, Or Status unknown) and general geographic range (west, north, central, and south) of each species and subspecies in Florida are indicated. Endemic, as well as rare and imperiled taxa are recognized. Erroneous records are noted in an Appendix.
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