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

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Colias Fabricius, 1807 , in Illiger. Mag. Insektenk. (Illiger) 6 : 284.

Available Name

Homonyms: 2

Higher classification:

Papilio hyale Linnaeus, 1758. Systema Naturae (Edn 10), 1: 469.    [BHLBHL]

Type-species designation:
by subsequent designation by Int. Commn zool. Nom. , 1943. Opin. Decl. int. Commn zool. Nom. 2: 469 (Opinion 146).    [BHLBHL]

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

Hemming (1967) stated:-

The first author to select one of the originally included species to be the type-species of Colias Fabricius was Latreille who in 1810 (Consid. gén. Anim. Crust. Arachn. Ins. : 440) selected Papilio rhamni Linnaeus, 1758 (Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) 1 : 470). The next author to select a type-species for this genus was Swainson (1820, Zool. Illustr. (1) 1 : pl. 5) who so selected Papilio eubule Linnaeus, 1767 (Syst. Nat. (ed. 12) 1 (2) : 764), but that selection was automatically invalid, as the species selected was not one of those cited by Fabricius when he established the genus Colias in 1807. In 1829 (Brit. Entom. 6 : pl. 242) Curtis selected Papilio hyale Linnaeus, 1758 (Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) 1 : 469) to be the type-species of this genus. Later, Butler (1870, Cistula ent. 1 : 43) selected as the type-species Papilio palaeno Linnaeus, 1761 (Faun. svec. (ed. 2) : 272), a nominal species both then and now considered subjectively as representing a taxon that is congeneric with that represented by the nominal species Papilio hyale Linnaeus which (as already noted) Curtis had already selected to be the type-species of the genus Colias Fabricius.

Partly perhaps because of doubts as to the validity of the method adopted by Latreille in selecting type-species in the Consid. gén. of 1810, that author's selection of Papilio rhamni Linnaeus as the type-species of the genus Colias Fabricius, never won an acceptance and the name Colias came into universal use as the name for Papilio hyale and Papilio palaeno, that is for the group of Pierids known as "Clouded Yellows" in England and as "Sulphurs" in North America. Occasionally, some author pointed out that this usage was incorrect and used some other name, e.g. Eurymus Horsfield, 1829, for this genus, but these efforts were never successful, the name Colias firmly holding its ground as the generic name for the "Clouded Yellows". This then was the position when in 1933 I was asked by the Royal Entomological Society of London to draw up a report on the generic names properly applicable to the British butterflies. In the Report then submitted (1934, Gen. Names Brit. Ins. : 34-36) the view was expressed that this was a case where the application of the normal rules in the Code would lead to the most serious confusion, for the deeply-established usage of the name Colias [Fabricius would have to be abandoned and that generic name would need to replace the equally well-known name Gonepteryx [Leech [sic, see below]] 1815, the genus so named having the same species [(Papilio rhamni) as its type-species as Colias Fabricius under the selection made by Latreille in : 1810 ; in consequence it was strongly recommended that an approach should be made to the Commission for an Opinion preserving the use of the name Colias Fabricius for Papilio hyale Linnaeus and its numerous allies. On the publication of this Report a request in the foregoing sense was submitted to the Commission. The request so made was approved by the Commission at its Session held at Lisbon in September 1935. Administrative and other difficulties prevented the Commission from taking immediate action to give effect to this and other decisions taken at Lisbon. In the present case the Commission's decision was promulgated in Opinion 146 published in September 1943 (Opin. int. Comm. zool. Nom. 1 : 109-121),

By the ruling given in the foregoing Opinion the Commission acting under its Plenary Powers designated Papilio hyale Linnaeus, 1758, to be the type-species of the genus Colias Fabricius, 1807. At the same time the name Colias Fabricius, so defined, was placed on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology. When later the entries on the Official List were given consecutive Name Nos., the name Colias Fabricius was allotted the Name No. 572.

Cowan (1967: 12) stated:-

Page 121 [COLIAS] line 5 from foot: "Leech" should read Leach. COLIAS was included within the subfamily PIERIDAE: COLIADINAE by Ackery et al., in Kristensen (1999).

The higher classification used here follows Lamas (2008).

Learn more about Pieridae in Wikipedia.

See omages at Butterflies of America.

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

Junior name(s):
Colais ; Doyère, 1837: pl.132, fig. 3.
Coliastes Hemming, 1931: 273.
Colyas ; Alexinschi, 1931: 137.
Eurymus Horsfield, 1829: 134.
Ganura Zetterstedt, 1839: 908.

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