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6995 Views 8 Replies Last post: Jun 10, 2013 3:26 PM by MikeHardman RSS
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Jul 24, 2012 5:24 PM

Another field guide problem?

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So is this last specimen Coenonympha arcania and the guide is out-of-date, or is it a new sub-species?



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    Jun 9, 2013 10:46 AM (in response to awillkey)
    Re: Another field guide problem?



    (I have just been checking back through old unanswered questions...)


    Your spotless ones are ssp. huebneri.







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          Jun 9, 2013 3:55 PM (in response to awillkey)
          Re: Another field guide problem?



          ...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


          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.




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              Jun 9, 2013 10:08 PM (in response to awillkey)
              Re: Another field guide problem?



              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, 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



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                  Jun 10, 2013 3:26 PM (in response to awillkey)
                  Re: Another field guide problem?

                  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')

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