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

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Carcharodus Hübner, 1819 . Verz. bekannt. Schmett. : 110.    [BHLBHL]

Available Name

Homonyms: 1

Higher classification:

Papilio alceae Esper, 1780. Die Schmett. in Abbildungen : 4, pl.51, fig.3.

Type-species designation:
by subsequent designation by Int. Commn zool. Nom. , 1954. Opin. Decl. int. Commn zool. Nom. 6: 27 (Opinion 270).    [BHLBHL]

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

Hemming (1967) stated:-

This genus, following the type-selection made by Plotz in 1879 (Stett. ent. Ztg 40 : 179), was based on an erroneously determined type-species. The type-species selected by Plötz was the third of the species placed by Hübner in the present genus and was there styled by him "Carchardodus malvae Schist". Denis & Schiffermuller did not publish the specific name malvae as a new name, all that they did being to make use of that name as published in the combination Papilio malvae by Linnaeus, 1758 (Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) 1 : 485). Unfortunately, Denis & Schiffermuller (1775, Ankünd. eines syst. Werke Schmett. Wiener Gegend : 159, No. A. 1) misidentified the nominal species Papilio malvae Linnaeus, applying the specific name malvae Linnaeus to the species, then still unnamed, to which five years later Esper gave the name Papilio alceae. This erroneous identification was accepted by many authors for upwards of sixty years. Ever since the middle of the XIXth century the species here in question has however been consistently called by its correct specific name alceae Esper. In the same period the generic name Carcharodus has been applied to this species consistently, except by a few authors who at one time used in its place the name Spilothyrus Duponchel, 1835, a junior objective synonym.

The interpretation of the genus Carcharodus described above corresponds exactly with the intention of Hübner when he established this nominal genus. Following the introduction of the International Code in 1901 it became necessary to assume that the author of any given genus correctly identified the species cited by him as belonging to it. This meant in the present case that the species to be accepted as the type-species of Carcharodus was the true Papilio malvae Linnaeus and not Papilio alceae Esper, to which Hübner had erroneously attributed the specific name malvae Linnaeus. The change in practice which this would have caused would have been highly confusing : the name Carcharodus Hübner would have become a subjective synonym of Pyrgus Hübner, [1819], the nominal species (Papilio alveolus Hübner) being currently treated subjectively on taxonomic grounds as representing the same taxon as that represented by the nominal species Papilio malvae Linnaeus; at the same time the nominal species Papilio alceae, confused by Hübner with Papilio malvae, would have been left without a generic name objectively applicable to it. These changes were not accepted by any specialist in the Lepidoptera, Papilio alceae continuing, though technically incorrectly, to be treated as the type-species of Carcharodus Hübner. It was in the hope of putting an end to this very unsatisfactory situation that in 1935 I submitted an application to the Commission, asking that the Plenary Powers should be used to designate Papilio alceae Esper as the type-species of Carcharodus, thus both giving effect to the intention of Hübner at the time when he established this genus, and also validating the long-established usage of this generic name.

The foregoing application was approved by the Commission at its Session held at Lisbon in September 1935 but for various reasons, including the difficulties caused by the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, it was not until 1947 that the Commission's decision was promulgated in its Opinion 181 (1947, Opin. int. Comm. zool. Nom. 2 : 589-621). This case was completed by the Commission in 1954 (loc. cit. 6 : 35-40) by the Ruling given in its Opinion 270, in which the name Carcharodus Hübner, [1819] (type-species : Papilio alceae Esper, [1780]) was placed on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology as Name No. 686, the specific name alceae Esper, [1780], as published in the combination Papilio alceae, being at the same placed on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology as Name No. 88.

The higher classification used here follows Lamas (2008).

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Junior name(s):
Spilolhyrus Duponchel, 1835: 415.

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