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

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Polyommatus Latreille, 1804 . Nouv. Dict. Hist. nat. 24(Tab.) : 185, 200.

Available Name

Homonyms: 1

Higher classification:

Papilio icarus Rottemburg, 1775. Naturforscher : 21.

Type-species designation:
by subsequent designation by Int. Commn zool. Nom. , 1954. Opin. Decl. int. Commn zool. Nom. 6: 27 (Opinion 270). [(under Section (a) (misidentified type-species) of Article 70)]    [BHLBHL]

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

Hemming (1967) stated:-

Polyommatus Latreille is a genus which was originally established with a misidentified type-species. Latreille placed in this genus a single species which he called by the name "argus Fab." Fabricius never published Papilio argus as the name for a new species of his own, but he frequently made the use of the name Papilio argus Linnaeus, 1758, employing it apparently in the correct sense. If it were to have been assumed that Latreille, when introducing the present genus, correctly interpreted the nominal species Papilio argus Linnaeus - that is, if in the present matter he had followed Fabricius - the name Polyommatus Latreille would have been invalid, as it would have been a junior objective synonym of Plebejus Kluk, 1802, of which the same nominal species is the type-species. But it is quite clear that such an assumption would have run counter to Latreille's intention. While there is no explicit evidence of the nature of his intentions in his entry relating to the genus Polyommatus in the Nouv. Dict. Hist. nat. of 1805, such evidence was provided by Latreille on each of the next two occasions on which he used this generic name, namely in 1805 (in Sonnini's Buffon, Ins. 14 : 116) and in 1817 (in Cuvier's Régne Anim. 3 : 553), in each of which he cited a reference to Engramelle's "P. argus bleu, pl. 38, fig. 80", adding in 1817 a reference to figs 292-294 in the Papilio Section of Hübner's Samml. europ. Schmett. From the figures so cited it is perfectly clear that the taxon which Latreille called "Papilio argus Fab." was that represented by the nominal species Papilio icarus Rottemburg, 1775, the commonest and most widely distributed of the European Plebejids. It must be noted moreover that it was this species to which the specific name argus Linnaeus was commonly - though incorrectly - applied in Latreille's time by many European lepidopterists, particularly in France. The name Polyommatus Latreille was used in various incorrect senses during the XIXth century, in most cases through misconceptions as to the work in which that name was first published. But by the third decade of the XXth century this generic name had been universally treated as though its type-species were Papilio icarus Rottemburg, which, as shown above, is in accordance with Latreille's original intention.

In the circumstances described above, it would have been a pointless piece of name-changing to have disturbed the long-established usage of the name Polyommatus Latreille, and accordingly in 1935 a request was submitted to the Commission for the use of the Plenary Powers to designate as the type-species of this genus the nominal species Papilio icarus Rottemburg, 1775. This request was approved by the Commission, whose decision was promulgated in its Opinion 175 published in 1946 (Opin. int. Comm. zool. Nom. 2 : 509-520). In 1954 this generic name, so defined, was placed by the Commission in its Opinion 270 (loc. cit. 6 : 25-40) on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology as Name No. 689. At the time when the foregoing decision was taken, it was not possible to take a decision on the question of placing the specific name of the type-species on the corresponding Official List, because the name Papilio icarus Rottemburg, 1775, was a homonym of a name Papilio icarus Cramer, [1775] (Uitl. Kapellen 1 (2) : 26, pl. 18, figs A, B), there being at that time no means for determining the relevant precedence to be accorded to these names. This difficulty was overcome by the Commission in its Opinion 516 promulgated in 1958 (loc. cit. 19 : 1-44), in which directions were given, inter alia, that Rottemburg's paper published in the serial Der Naturforscher in 1775 should be accorded precedence over the portion of Cramer's Uitl. Kapellen published in the same year. Under this ruling the name Papilio icarus Rottemburg became the senior of the two homonyms concerned and thus the oldest available name for the type-species of the genus Polyommatus Latreille. In the same year this result was recognized by the Commission in its Direction 96 (loc. cit. 19 : (i)-(xiv)), in which the name icarus Rottemburg, 1775, (as published in the binomen Papilio icarus, was placed on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology as Name No. 1515.

Agrodiaetus Hübner, 1822 has been subsequently downgraded to a subgenus of Polyommatus by Dujardin, 1977, Entomops 43 : 99.

Agrodiaetus Hübner 1822, was also downgraded to denote a subgenus of Polyommatus Latreille, 1804 by Eckweiler 1989, Nachrichten des Entomologischen Vereins Apollo10 (2) : 95.

Polyommatus Latreille, 1804, was designated as a valid genus and brought out of synonymy by Balint, 1989, Atalanta 19 (1-4) : 93. [Polyommatus was treated as a valid genus by Hemming, 1967].

POLYOMMATUS was included within the subfamily LYCAENIDAE: LYCAENINAE by Ackery et al., in Kristensen (1999).

The higher classification used here follows Lamas (2008).

Learn more about Lycaenidae in Wikipedia.

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

Junior name(s):
Polyomatus ; Adamson, 1897: 33.
Polyommattus ; Lucas, 1835: pl.44.

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