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

Genus details

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Vanessa Fabricius, 1807 , in Illiger. Mag. Insektenk. (Illiger) 6 : 281.

Available Name

Homonyms: 1

Higher classification:

Papilio atalanta Linnaeus, 1758. Systema Naturae (Edn 10), 1: 478.    [BHLBHL]

Type-species designation:
by subsequent designation by Latreille , 1810. Consid. gén. Ordre nat. Anim. : 354, 440.    [BHLBHL]

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

Hemming (1967) stated:-

At the same time that Fabricius established the genus Vanessa with the above species as type-species (by subsequent selection), he established also a genus to which he gave the name Cynthia, the type-species of which is the closely allied nominal species Papilio cardui Linnaeus, 1758. In the mid-nineteen-thirties it was judged desirable to request the Commission to give a ruling that precedence was to be given to the name Vanessa over the name Cynthia. Looked at in retrospect, Article 28 in the old text of the Code seems reasonably clear, but it did not appear so at the time, and either for this or other reasons many entomologists at that time adhered to the so-called Principle of Page and Line Precedence. The adoption of this course in the present case would have been disastrous, for Cynthia Fabricius would have been accorded precedence over the exceptionally well-known name Vanessa Fabricius, which would have disappeared as a junior subjective synonym. Even for those who sought to apply the First Reviser Principle in this case, the position was obscure owing to the difficulty - always present when applying that principle to old names having an extensive literature - of determining where, when and by whom an effective First Reviser choice had been made.

The application discussed above was approved by the Commission at Lisbon in 1935 but owing to financial and administrative difficulties, greatly aggravated by the outbreak of the War in Europe in 1939, the Opinion (Opinion 156) embodying that decision was not published until 1944 (Opin. int. Comm. zool. Nom. 2 : 239-250). In that Opinion the Commission gave directions under its Plenary Powers that the name Vanessa was to be accorded precedence over the name Cynthia. At the same time the name Vanessa Fabricius was placed on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology as Name No. 601.

VANESSA was included within the subfamily NYMPHALIDAE: NYMPHALINAE by Ackery et al., in Kristensen (1999).

The higher classification used here follows Lamas (2008).

Learn more about Nymphalidae in Wikipedia.

See images at Butterflies of America.

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

Junior name(s):
Ammiralis Rennie, 1832: 10.
Nymphalis Latreille, 1804: 184, 199.
Nymphalus ; Boitard, 1828: 300.
Perameis ; Peile, 1921: 64.
Phanessa ; Sodoffsky, 1837: 80.
Pyrameides ; Hübner, 1826: 7.
Pyrameis Hübner, 1819: 33.
Zanessa ; Hemming, 1967: 249.

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