Hemming (1967) stated:-
This is a genus founded upon a misidentified type-species, and its position remained unsatisfactory until in 1946 this was remedied by the Commission under its Plenary Powers. The history of this name is set out briefly below. From the nominal species placed by Hübner in the genus Agriades Scudder (1875, Proc. amer. Acad. Arts Sci., Boston 10 : 105) selected as the type-species the nominal species which Hübner had entered as sp. no. 660, and to which he had applied the specific name orbitulus Prunner. There was never any doubt as to what species Hübner had in mind in so using the name orbitulus Prunner, because he cited in the synonymy of that species the excellent figures which he himself had published in [1803-1804] Samml. exot. Schmett. : pl. Pap. 103, figs 522-525) under the name Papilio meleager. This High-Alpine and Circumpolar species continued to be known by the specific name orbitulus for just over one hundred years following the publication of the name Agria Hübner. In 1926 (Ent. Rec. 38 : 105), however, Verity drew attention to the fact that this usage of the name orbitulus was incorrect, Prunner having applied the name Papilio orbitulus not to the present species but to another mountain species known at the time of Verity's paper and for many years previously under the specific name pheretes Hoffmannsegg (often misattributed to Hübner), a name which had been introduced in 1804 (Mag. f. Insektenk. (Illiger) 3 : 187, as a replacement for the name Papilio atys Hübner, [1803-1804] (Samml. europ. Schmett. : pl. Pap. 97, figs 495-496 ; pl. Pap. 107, figs 548-549). At the same time Verity pointed out that Prunner had given the name Papilio glandon to the species which prior to the publication of Verity's paper, had for so long been incorrectly treated as bearing the name orbitulus Prunner.
If at the time when Verity's paper was published, the Commission had shown a disposition to use its Plenary Powers to protect long-established names, the reasonable course would have been to ask that body to use its Plenary Powers to suppress the names orbitulus Prunner and glandon and to take such as action under those Powers as might be needed to ensure (a) that the name orbitulus, attributed to (say) Esper, by whom a good figure (pl. 112, fig. 4) had been published in 1799, should become the oldest available specific name for the species Papilio glandon Prunner, and (b) that the specific name pheretes Hoffmannsegg should become the oldest available name for the species named Papilio orbitulus by Prunner. However, the tide of opinion was then running strongly in favour of the strict application of the Law of Priority in the case of specific names and it would have been pointless to make any application on the foregoing lines to the Commission.
In the circumstances there was no alternative but to transfer the specific name orbitulus Prunner to the species till then always known by the specific name pheretes, and to apply the name glandon Prunner to the species till then wrongly known as orbitulus Prunner. The process was painful and protracted, often adding to confusion where an author writing a faunistic paper used the specific name orbitulus without indicating whether he was using that name in the time-honoured sense (as applying to Papilio glandon) or in the correct sense (as applying to the species formerly known by the specific name pheretes). This change-over in usage took about ten years to accomplish but was more or less complete by the later nineteenthirties. But this change in itself was not sufficient to restore order in the nomenclature of these species because of consequential difficulties at the genus-name level. By this time these two species were considered by taxonomists to belong to different genera, Papilio glandon (=the false orbitulus auct.) was placed in the genus Agriades Hübner, while the true Papilio orbitulus (=pheretes Hoffmannsegg) was placed in the genus Albulina Tutt, 1909 (q.v.). Under the salutary (and, indeed, necessary) objective nomenclatorial rule that an author establishing a nominal genus is to be assumed to have correctly identified the species placed by him in it and that a later author selecting such a species as type-species is similarly to be assumed to have correctly identified the species so selected,' the type-species of Agriades Hübner, as selected by Scudder (1875) would have been the true Papilio orbitulus Prunner ; in consequence that generic name would have become a senior subjective synonym of Albulina Tutt, of which the same species (under the name pheretes) is the type-species ; at the same time the species previously misidentified with orbitulus Prunner, i.e. Papilio glandon Prunner would have been left without a generic name, for the only generic name ever applied to that species, apart from Agriades Hübner, namely Latiorina Tutt, 1909, suffers from the same defect as Agriades Hübner, that is, its type-species was designated under the misidentified specific name orbitulus Prunner ; in consequence it had to be interpreted as having as its type-species the true Papilio orbitulus Prunner (pheretes Hoffmannsegg) and, contrary to its author's evident intention, became a subjective synonym of Albulina Tutt. Fortunately, it was never necessary in practice to alter the application of the generic name Agriades Hübner in the foregoing way, for before any such attempt had been made, I submitted in 1935 an application to the Commission asking for the designation under the Plenary Powers of Papilio glandon Prunner as the type-species of Agriades Hübner, thus giving a valid foundation to the long-accustomed usage of this name. This application was approved by the Commission at its Session held at Lisbon in 1935 but owing to administrative and other causes it was not until 1946 that the Opinion (Opinion 173) recording this Ruling was actually published. Later in Opinion 270 (1954, Opin. int. Comm. zool. Nom 6 : 25-40) the Commission placed the name Agriades Hübner (type-species : Papilio glandon Prunner, 1798) on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology as Name No. 685.
The higher classification used here follows Lamas (2008).
Learn more about Lycaenidae in Wikipedia.
See images at Butterflies of America.
Search the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) for references to AGRIADES and included species.