This is another field guide problem. Here's a nice Pearly Heath (Coenonympha arcania) that I photographed (near Madrid) this morning and it matches the description in my guide very well (FW uns orange with a brown border and small apical eye-spot; Hw uns brown with a broad white or cream-coloured postdiscal band; One of the orange-ringed eye-spots situation on the inner side of the white stripe).
Identification clear, no? But here's two more photographed this morning. The first just about has an apical eye spot (look very carefully and you'll see the vestiges of the spot) but the second has no trace of it.
So is this last specimen Coenonympha arcania and the guide is out-of-date, or is it a new sub-species?
(I have just been checking back through old unanswered questions...)
Your spotless ones are ssp. huebneri.
Thanks. When I wrote this my only field guide was Butterflies of Britain and Europe, Haahtela et al. I now also have the Collins Butterfly Guide. Curiously, neither of them mention ssp huebneri. So I am still left wondering why such "authoritative" guides should leave out a subspecies. Does this mean the ssp has only recently been recognised, the guides were always incorrect or that the ssp has not been officially recognised. It's all very frustrating.
Do you know if there is a specification of huebneri anywhere? I ask because I've now studied the link you supplied and I came to a different conclusion from you. If you look closely at the only photo of huebneri you will see there is a vestigial spot on the forewing
(NB if you click on the image, as I did, it is displayed in mirror form for some reason.) On the other hand, when I look closely at the very first image of arcania I cannot find any trace of a spot. Hence my confusion. If the missing spot is not the mark of huebneri, what is?
...OK ... discussion needed...
In the first image, I do see an eye spot, albeit vestigial; similar to the photo of ssp. huebneri.
I was presuming the first photo simply had not been upated in respect of being the ssp. (none of the images are captioned as ssp. arcania, ie. being ofthe type ssp.). I could be wrong; we don't know the differentiating factor(s) for ssp. huebneri.
However, I would presume C. a. huebneri is a new combination for Coenonympha huebneri Oberthür 1910
This page shows 'Latest taxonomic scrutiny: Beccaloni G'; he/she may be a contact to ask...
He/she is one of the authors of 'The Global Lepidoptera Names Index'
The record of the taxon there lists the ssp. as a juinior synonym of sp. arcania. The scan of the record card shows the publication as 'Lépid. Comp. 4.25'
'Lépid. Comp.' is Lépidoptérologie Comparée'
The particular edition is available online (thanks Smithsonian!)
(it may be slow to download).
So, having done some of the legwork, I'll leave you to translate the 4.25 part... (it is on p.33)!
It may also be possible to ask Jurgen at lepiforum.de.
Oh, OK then:
here's a Google translation of pp.24-26:
Esper was featured as xf 4 Tab. XXI, the most common form
Typically, this is to say that of which the lower wings, above,
uniloruu'iiicnl are a risk j ^ blackish, without median échiircic
tawny, but Iluebner has shown under n "240, a Arcanins
whose lower wings, above, shows a wild spot
Median quite large and very serious.
Arcanins see this represented by Huebner, occurs to my knowledge,
especially around Samoussy (Aisne), where Harold
Powell and my brother, with Mr. Henry Brown, captured,
June 13, 1909. However, although a dozen çS taken
Samoussy to be filled in this beast more or less thinning
accentuated on the disk of the lower wings, above, a number
largest Arcunius çS. also found the same day,
Samoussy are without that wild spot and show
above and below their fully unifomiément blackish wings.
It follows from this finding that Samoussy, copies
Cf of Arcanius, the lower wing is spotted fawn, can
be considered as an expression of a more or less variety
abundant and not the normal form of the geographical location.
I have desinated under the name Huebneri, the variety that carries
tawny thinning on the disk of the lower wings, such as a
Huebner figured, but I do not know of the OII comes represented by cf
Huebner under number "240. Is aberrant copy? Does
rather the representative of a local race with the most commonly
the distinction of being spotted fawn on the middle part of
lower wings, above? I can not know. However, I
notes in my collection that this variety can be observed huebneri
in very different locations. In fact, I'm looking
a Arcanius see, taken during a hunting Roccaraso and Palena
in southern Italy, at the end of July 1907, by Mr. Fabresse
and another cf captured around Menton in the Alpes-
Maritimes in 1907 by Mr. Decoster, presenting both a
tawny undeveloped but very apparent thinning of the disc
lower wings, above. Both can be Arcanius
attached to the huebneri variety. Furthermore, I have never observed
di Arcanius tending to huebneri variety. Brittany and Cauterets
Arcanius a darker and browner than in other localities tawny, including that around Paris,
Charente and the Pyrenees-Orientales, but this darkening
General tawny around Rennes and Cauterets
although sometimes as on the surface of the four wings, it
is barely graduate, low thinning fawn near the
base does not seem to me to deserve to be the object of a designation
particular. Naturalists of Fruhstorfer School will judge
may be otherwise, but I leave it to them to create a qualifier
to designate the new breed of dark Coenonympha
Arcanins in Rennes and Cauterets, if it is agreeable to them.
It is exceptionally copies here and there a
pale fawn, but there is a aberration in which the color
Tawny is replaced by a tinge of very light yellowish white;
both sexes <^ Arcanins can be achieved this and albinism
my collection contains Aberration I call Dupuyi in
honor of my friend Gabriel Dupuy who found several times
Angouleme, five individuals from Silesia, Bohemia, Breslau
and Charente, that is to say, well distant regions together
other, but OII reproduces exactly the same variation. I
do appear (Plate XXXVII,. fig 233 and 234) both samples see
and Ç) of Ab. Dupuyi.
Moreover, it is in the ocellation its wings varies Arcaniiis.
According to Linnaeus, as he describes, and is therefore the
standard form, has an apical ocellus the upper wings and below
the lower five ocelli, the first of which is away from the other.
It is common to find private Arcanius the apical ocellus;
and in the Charente, the absence of this apical ocellus higher
is not uncommon. Conversely, the apical ocellus may be followed by a
Mottled second spot adjacent to the first, and even a third;
it widely reduced. A Q of Germany
(Kuwert Collection) has 3 spots well defined.
That needs a bit of interpretation / thinking about...
Let me know what you think.
Wow, thanks for the research.
1) Yes, I agree there is a vestigial eye-spot on the first image of arcania. My PC has two screens and it may be that they have different contrast settings and I didn't see this before.
2) I have found Beccaloni G on the NHM website with contact details and I have sent him a request to look at this thread and offer whatever clarification he can. So personally I will await his response.
Jolly good. I, too, await his response.
Bear in mind we are into territory where there are splitters and lumpers; experts may have differing opinions; one may choose to consider huebneri a subspecies while the other may look on it as merely representing part of the range of variation of the species (arcania).
From the comments of Jurgen at lepiforum.de, he appears to be a splitter - recognizing it as a subspecies.
Beccaloni G on the NHM website appears to be a lumper, hence huebneri being a synonym for arcania there.
Hopefully one/both of them (or somebody else) can elucidate the differentiating factor(s) [I am still not sure how to interpret that translation]. Then we/you can decide:
1. if your specimen belongs to that taxon, and
2. if you want to recognize that taxon as a subspecies
George Beccaloni replied to meot the effect that he no longer works on Lepidoptera but he did get a response form a colleage Dr Ian Kitching:
"Can't really help. The index card has no annotations and just states that huebneri is a junior synonym of arcania. Neither Markko Savela's website nor Fauna Europaea mention huebneri or Higgins & Riley's book (because they all consider it infrasubspecific?). Looking at the original description, there is a suggestion that it may be an unavailable name proposed for an individual variety but the OD would need careful translation and then even more careful interpretation under the Code given it is one of those pre-1931 "varieties". I guess someone somewhere (Germany?) may have raised it to subspecies status but I have no idea who or why. It is still treated as a JSS of arcania in the current version of the database but then we have had no reason to change it.
Sorry I can't help further."
So that leaves us where? The middle image may be of a sub-species huebneri or this may just be a variation within arcania. Is that also true of my third image, the one lacking even a vestigial spot? My Field guide is quite specific about an apical eye-spot. When I look in the place where the sopt should be I can see a mark, but it is no different from the many other marks that add a darker tone to the outer margin of the wing. Should I register williamskeyi as a subspecies of arcania? :-)
Thanks for the update; well done in getting through.
Yes - it is all a bit vague. Such is life; we don't always get what we'd like.
Personally, I would stick with just C. arcania, and look upon the description in your field guide as being a little simplified, in that it might not account for the end-point of the spectrum of eye-spot distinctiveness (where it vanishes).
(PS. his 'OD' means 'original diagnosis')