Butterflies and Moths of the World Generic Names and their Type-species

Genus details

Search again

Gegenes Hübner, 1819 . Verz. bekannt. Schmett. : 107.    [BHLBHL]

Available Name

Homonyms: 1

Higher classification:

Papilio pumilio Hoffmannsegg, 1803. Mag. Insektenk. (Illiger), : 202.

Type-species designation:
by subsequent designation by Int. Commn zool. Nom. , 1967. Bull. zool. Nom. 24: 226-227 (Opinion 827).    [BHLBHL]

Type specimens:
? Type status ? COUNTRY: ? Locality, (? Depository)..

Hemming (1967) stated:-

[Type-species] as defined by the specimen figured as fig. 2 on plate 5 of Cyrilli's Ent. neap. published in 1787 and there misidentified as Papilio pygmaeus Fabricius, 1775, (Syst. Ent. : 536), that specimen having been selected by Hemming (1964, Annot. lep. (3) : 112 to represent the lectotype of the present species).

The genus Gegenes was established on the basis of bibliographical references to the works of previous authors. Three nominal species were cited by Hübner as belonging to this genus, but the names cited for the second and third were nomina nuda and the first - which he cited as pygmaeus Fabricius is therefore under the Code the type-species by monotypy. It is at this point that difficulty arises, because Hübner, like all his contemporaries, confused two species under the name Papilio pygmaeus Fabricius, and it was the species to which that name does not properly apply that Hübner looked upon himself as placing in the genus Gegenes, as is clearly shown by the fact that the previously published figures which he cited in the synonymy of what he called pygmaeus Fabricius represent not that species but the species which at that time was commonly misidentified with it. Gegenes Hübner is therefore a genus based upon a misidentified type-species.

The true Papilio pygmaeus Fabricius is an Oriental species currently placed in the genus Aeromachus de Niceville, 1890. Its type-specimen is now in the British Museum.

The specimen misidentified with the above species occurs in Southern Europe and Western Asia. The first author to make the mistake of identifying this species with Papilio pygmaeus Fabricius was Cyrilli when in 1787 he figured (loc. cit. : pl. 5, fig. 2) a specimen taken at Amalfi. This mistake was repeated by Esper in 1793, Die Schmett., Suppl. Band 1 Abschn. Tagschmett. : 34, pl. 99, fig. 3 - male, and in the period 1800-1803 by Hübner himself (Samml. europ. Schm.; pl. Pap. 91, figs 458 - male, 459, 460 - female). It was these figures of his own which Hübner cited in the synonymy of pygmaeus Fabricius at the time when he established the genus Gegenes.

Long before the publication of the Verzeichniss however, the fact that the name pygmaeus Fabricius was not properly applicable to the European species was recognized by Hoffmansegg when in 1803 he established the nominal species Papilio pumilio, basing it upon the figures published by Hübner, Esper and Cyrilli, to which reference has already been made. As recorded at the head of the present note I selected in 1964 the figure published by Cyrilli to represent the lectotype of Papilio pumilio. The syntype represented by Cyrilli's figure was selected for this purpose in preference to one of those represented by the figures published by Esper or Hübner, partly because Cyrilli was the first author to publish a figure of this species and partly because the exact locality in which the specimen figured was taken was known.

Great confusion would result if it were necessary to accept the true Papilio pygmaeus Fabricius as the type-species of Gegenes Hübner, for this would involve the transfer of the name Gegenes from its long-accustomed position in the group currently known as the "Gegenes Group" in the family Hesperiidae to the only distantly related group in the same family currently known as the "Astictopterus Group", where it would replace the well-established name Aeromachus de Niceville. In order to avoid these most undesirable transfers, the Commission has been asked to use its Plenary Powers under Section (i) (misidentified type-species) of Article 70 to designate Papilio pumilio Hoffmansegg to be the type-species of the genus Gegenes Hübner, thereby both giving effect to Hübner's intention when establishing this genus and providing a valid basis for the long-established use of that name. In accordance with the provisions of Article 80, the present case is here treated provisionally as though the application submitted had already been approved by the Commission.

Cowan (1968) made the following comment for this and other genera

Opinions published in September and December 1967 in Bull. zool. Nomencl. 24, parts (4) and (5) CONFIRMED the forecasts given in the List [Hemming, 1967] for the following genera;

Adopaeoides Godman; Op. 825
Arisbe Hübner; Op. 823
Artines Godman; Op. 826
Gegenes Hübner; Op. 827
Halpe Moore; Op. 828
Iaspis Kaye; Op. 821
Napaea Hübner; Op. 820
Papias Godman; Op. 829
Phanes Godman; Op. 830
Phrissura Butler; Op. 824
Telicota Moore; Op. 831
Ypthima Hübner; Op. 819
Zenis Godman; Op. 832

Papilio pumilio Hoffmansegg, 1803 was designated as the type-species for Gegenes Hübner, [1891], using the plenary powers of the Commission. Papilio pumilio was placed on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology and Gegenes on the List of Generic Names in Zoology, (Opinion 827), The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, 24 : 226.

The higher classification used here follows Lamas (2008).

Learn more about Hesperiidae in Wikipedia

Search the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) for references to GEGENES and included species.

Submit correction/addition