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

Genus details

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Pyrrhopyge Hübner, 1819 . Verz. bekannt. Schmett. : 103.    [BHLBHL]

Available Name

Homonyms: 1

Higher classification:

Papilio bixae Linnaeus, 1758. Systema Naturae (Edn 10), 1: 485.    [BHLBHL]

Type-species designation:
by subsequent designation by Scudder , 1872. Rep. Peabody Acad. Sci. 4: 67.

Type specimens:
See BHL scanned Type-species page: .

Hemming (1967) stated:-

[Page note] as defined by the specimen figured by Merian on plate 44 of the Ins. Surinam. selected by Hemming (1964 (Annot. lep. (3) : 110) to represent the lectotype ; a taxon bearing a name having precedence below the name Papilio phidias Linnaeus, 1758 (Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) : 1 : 485), a name published on the same date and in the same work, by reason of the First Reviser choice made by Evans in 1951 (Cat. amer. Hesp. Brit. Mus. 1 : 7).

It was long believed that Papilio bixae Linnaeus, the type-species, was a species occurring both in America and in Africa, the specimens taken in those continents being superficially inseparable. In consequence, an entirely new situation arose when Bell discovered that the genitalia of the "bixae" taken in Africa differed widely from those of the "bixae" taken in America, for the question immediately arose as to which of these species was that to which in 1758 Linnaeus had given the name Papilio bixae. That species was established by Linnaeus with a brief description and the citation of two bibliographical references. The question of the interpretation of the Linnaean data was examined by Evans in 1940 (J.N.Y. ent. Soc. 48 : 405-411), who pointed out (1) that the actual description given by Linnaeus might apply either to the American "bixae" or to the African "bixae", those species being superficially indistinguishable, (a) considered that the insect figured by Merian on plate 44 in the first of the references cited by Linnaeus should be regarded as being the American "bixae", in view especially of the American locality (Surinam) given by Merian, and (3) observed that the Petiver specimen cited in the second of the references given by Linnaeus represented an entirely different species, namely Papilio tityrus Fabricius, 1775, a species currently placed in the genus Epargyreus Hübner, [1819]. On this basis Evans concluded that it was the American "bixae" and not the African "bizae" to which the name Papilio bixae Linnaeus, 1758, was properly applicable. At the same time he cited the figures of the male genitalia of Pyrrhopyga [sic] latifasciata Butler, 1873 (Cist. ent. 1 : 176) published by Bell in 1931 (J.N.Y. ent. Soc. 39 : 485) as being identical with those of Papilio bixae, as identified by himself, the taxa bearing these names being, in his opinion, conspecific with one another. Evans's solution of the "bixae" problem clearly fitted the known facts better than any other and was the best calculated to promote nomenclatorial stability. Nevertheless, the situation could not be regarded as being fully protected, so long as the nominal species Papilio bixae Linnaeus remained a nominal species based upon syntypes belonging to at least two different species. Accordingly, in 1964 (Annot. lep. (3) : 110) I selected the specimen figured by Merian on her plate 44 (the figure relied upon by Evans for his identification) to be the lectotype of Papilio bixae Linnaeus.

When in 1951 (Cat. amer. Hesp. Brit. Mus. 1 : 8-9) Evans considered the Pyrrhopyge-group as a whole, he re-affirmed his earlier view that the taxa represented by the name bizae Linnaeus and latifasciata Butler were conspecific with one another. Further, he treated both these taxa as subspecies of the taxon represented by the nominal species Papilio phidias Linnaeus, 1758 (Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) 1 : 485). This close association of bixae Linnaeus with phidias Linnaeus may be open to question on taxonomic grounds, for, as Evans himself admitted, these taxa differ from one another in the form of the male genitalia. This action by Evans (: 7) is however of importance from a nomenclatorial point of view, for, as the specific names bixae Linnaeus and phidias Linnaeus were published on the same date in the same work, Evans's action constitutes a First Reviser choice, according precedence to the specific name phidias Linnaeus over the name bixae Linnaeus.

It may be useful to note that the African species long known as "bixae" Linnaeus remained without a name of its own until in 1940 (J.N.Y. ent. Soc. 48 : 411) Evans gave it the name Coeliades bixana, basing it upon the description and figures which he had given of it in 1937 (Cat. Afr. Hesp. Brit. Mus. : 11, pl. 8, fig. C (bixae) (3 figs of male - genitalia)) when he still believed that it was the species to which Linnaeus had given the specific name bixae, Evans then calling this species Coeliades bizae (Linnaeus). Finally, it must be observed that the so- called African "bixae" is not currently treated as belonging to the genus Pyrrhopyge Hübner, [1819]. Indeed, the subfamily Pyrrhopyginae, of which Pyrrhopyge is the type-genus, is now considered to be exclusively Neotropical in its distribution. The genus Coeliades Hübner, 1818, to which the African "bixae", i.e. bixana Evans, is currently referred, is now placed in a small separate subfamily, the Coeliadinae, to which only seven genera are currently referred, two of these (including Coeliades) being confined to Tropical Africa, the remainder having their headquarters in the Indo-Oriental Region with (except in one case) extensions into the Palaearctic Region.

PYRRHOPYGE was included within the subfamily HESPERIIDAE: PYRRHOPYGINAE by Ackery et al., in Kristensen (1999).

The higher classification used here follows Lamas (2008).

Learn more about Hesperiidae in Wikipedia

See images at Butterflies of America where it is treated in the Pyrginae : Pyrrhopygini.

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

Junior name(s):
Phyrrhopyge ; Bentancourt & Scatoni, 1996: 35.
Prrhopyga ; Bridges, 1988: IV.102.
Pyrhopyga ; Hewitson, 1866: 480.
Pyrhopyge ; Fassl, 1915: 64.
Pyrrhopige ; Ledezma, 1976: 58.
Pyrrhopye ; Staudinger, 1876: 114.
Pyrrhopyga ; Westwood, 1852: 508.
Pyrrophaga ; Aaron, 1892: 120.

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