BULLETIN OF THE ALLYN MUSEUM
THE ALLYN MUSEUM OF ENTOMOLOGY
Number -- 16 12 APRIL 1974
THE BUTTERFLY CALLED ISMERIA BY
BOISDUVAL AND LeCONTE
(WITH A NEOTYPE FOR ERESIA CARLOTA REAKIRT)
F. Martin Brown
Research Associate, Allyn Museum of Entomology, Sarasota, Florida
The butterfly that Boisduval and LeConte called Melitaea ismeria has puzzled
taxonomists for over a century. Actually four names are involved in the tangle,
gorgone Huebner , ismeria Boisduval and LeConte (1833), phaon Edwards
1864 and carlota Reakirt 1866. The best approach to a solution to the problem is to
discuss these names in the sequence in which they were proposed, and then discuss
the taxonomic problem.
THE NAMES INVOLVED
Dryas reticulata Gorgone Huebner
Figs. 1 and 2
Sammlung exotischer Schmetterlinge, volume 1, plate  [1810.]
There is no text in the Sammlung for gorgone, nor did Hemming (1937) discover
any manuscript material that relates to this species. It is believed that the several
butterflies that Huebner described from Georgia came to him from John Abbot
through an intermediary. The plate devoted to gorgone contains four figures. Two
of these, 1 and 2, present a butterfly that resembles very closely the taxon later
named carlota by Reakirt. These are figures of a male. The two figures, 3 and 4, of the
female gorgone represent a different species. This is the taxon later named phaon
by Edwards. By the principle of priority the name gorgone applies to figures 1 and 2,
Melitaea ismeria Boisduval and LeConte
Figs. 3 and 4
Lepidopteres de L'Amerique Septentrionale, pl. 168, pl. 46 
The butterfly figured is one upon the upper side of which there is a black pattern
on a fulvous ground. The pattern has the elements of those found on some North
American Phyciodes and Melitaea. These are reduced, much as the pattern on
mylitta Edwards is reduced on barnesi Skinner or those of palla Boisduval are
reduced on neumoegeni Skinner. On the under side the most striking feature is broad
orange brown margins on both wings, much as on harrisii Scudder. The disc pattern
is not unlike harrisii, but at best is only a crude approach to that pattern. It is quite
unlike the pattern on gorgone 8, or carlota. The text accompanying the plate
describes the figures.
W. H. Edwards wrote to Henry Edwards on December 3, 1871, concerning
A. G. Butler's advice about several butterflies he (W. H. E.) had sent to the British
Museum: "Moreover, I sent him Phyciodes Carlota, Rea. and he says it is Boisduval's
Ismeria to my astonishment." Edwards did not accept the synonomy suggested.
Apparently Butler and Scudder had jointly arrived at the conclusion about
ismeria. Scudder (1872) stated that he had found the original of Abbot's plate of
ismeria in the British Museum (N. H.) and that it represented the male of Huebner's
gorgone. My very good friends, Mr. N. D. Riley, Dr. L. G. Higgins and the late Dr.
R. M. Fox, examined all of the plates in the 17 volumes of Abbot's drawings in the
British Museum (N. H.) for me. Dr. Fox wrote to me at the conclusion of this task,
"The conclusion is that the Boisduval & LeConte plate does not hinge on any of these
paintings and was not copied from anything available here." He further stated:
"And finally, I discovered the following statement in the front of the Boisduval &
LeConte volume here: 'The originals of these plates are in the Boisduval Library,
acquired by Oberthuir. Seen by F. A. Heron, 11 x 1904.' He was the Keeper at that
time." In 1928, the Oberthiir library was purchased by the book seller La Chavalier
and dispersed piecemeal. I have not been able to locate the plates in question, but
continue to search for them.
From the above we can draw certain conclusions: The Abbot figure in the
British Museum (N. H.) that both Scudder and Butler used as the basis for their
decision that ismeria Boisduval and LeConte 1833 was a very poor representation
of a manuscript plate by Abbot does not represent the species figured by Boisduval
and LeConte and was not the model for their plate 46.
In the preface to their book, Boisduval stated that he did not touch the Abbot
drawings in the first nine livrasons, but beginning with the 10th, he caused some
retouching to be done because he had received so many complaints from subscribers
about the poor quality and scientific inexactitude of the plates circulated earlier.
The plate of ismeria is one of those so modified at Bosiduval's request.
The concent that ismeria Boisduval and LeConte represents the same butterfly
as Huebner's figure of male gorgone stems from Scudder's statement about the
Abbot plate in the British Museum (N.H.). That plate is not the one used by Boisduval
and LeConte as the basis for their Plate 46. Therefore, Scudder's concept is
Perhaps a few words about Abbot and his plates of butterflies is in order at
this point. Abbot was sent to America to collect insects for a group of entomologists
in England. He arrived in the American colonies in 1773, and after visiting several
areas on the east coast settled in Georgia in 1776, livingin the now extinct settlement
of Jacksonborough. In addition to collecting insects for his patrons he drew many
water-colors of birds, butterflies and flowers. These were sent to his agent, John
Francillon, a silversmith on the Strand in London, who was a collector of insects
and who sold folios of Abbot's water-color drawings. Many of these plates were
copies, or even copies of copies, made under Abbot's supervision by colorists that
he employed. Portfolios of these drawings are found in libraries, both public and
private, and in several museums. In this country there are such at Harvard Univer-
sity and at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. Perhaps the largest such collection
is the 17 volumes at the British Museum (N. H.).
It is not known now whether Abbot drew the plates used by Boisduval and
LeConte as a specific commission, or whether these authors used a set of plates
that had been previously prepared for general sale. At the time that Boisduval and
LeConte's book was being assembled, Abbot was about 80 years old. I have a vague
memory of hearing that the plates in question had been purchased from Abbot by
the father of Maj. John Eatton LeConte.
There is no way today to judge the accuracy of Abbot's representations in
Boisduval and LeConte's book, except by comparison with known butterflies from
America. Of course, if the original set of Abbot plates is found they will provide the
proper measure of accuracy.
So far as the published plate labelled ismeria by Boisduval and LeConte is
concerned, it represents no known butterfly from Georgia. It cannot be considered
even a crude representation of either of the insects called gorgone by Huebner. It
can be considered a crude representation of the butterfly called harrisii by Scudder,
but this insect is not now found in Georgia. The larva figured with the imago on
Plate 46, while melitaeine in appearance does not conform to the mature larva of
carlota (gorgone a Huebner). It does suggest the mature larva of harrisii Scudder.
It has some resemblence to early-stage larvae of carlota and of nycteis Doubleday
but not sufficient to positively identify the larva. The pupa that is figured is
melitaeine, but unidentifiable. Thus the evidence of the plate of ismeria published
by Boisduval and LeConte is that it accurately represents no butterfly known today
from Georgia and certainly does not represent the butterfly called gorgone male
Careful study of the use of the name ismeria indicates that its acceptance as
the equivalent of gorgone male hinges on Scudder's statement about the manuscript
plate of Abbot in the British Museum (N. H.). Since this is not the plate used by
Boisduval and LeConte, Scudder's argument, and the position of all others who have
accepted it, falls to the ground. The published plate must be accepted at face value
and the name ismeria must be retained for the butterfly there depicted.
Eresia carlota Reakirt
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia, 6:122-151, esp. p. 141,1866.
Reakirt did not describe the butterfly for which he proposed the name carlota.
If it were not for the fact that he referred to W. H. Edwards's detailed description
of "nycteis Doubleday" published in 1861, the name would be nomen nudum.
Edwards's description (1861:171-162) does not apply to nycteis Doubleday but to a
butterfly very much like that figured on Plate  figs. 1 and 2 by Huebner and
named gorgone, male.
Careful search of the material in the W. H. Edwards collection at the Carnegie
Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, failed to discover the specimens Edwards
has misnamed nycteis. In his description of "nycteis" Edwards had stated that he
had specimens from "Illinois; Missouri," before him. In a letter to S. F. Baird of the
Smithsonian Institution dated 1 March 1860 (see Brown : 197) Edwards
told of arranging with Cyrus Thomas to determine the butterflies in the collections
of the Natural History Society of Illinois. I have no evidence of Edwards having
received material from Illinois at an earlier date. Thus it appears that part of the
material misidentified by Edwards came to him from Thomas and was returned
I wrote to my former associate, Dr. Leigh E. Chadwick, chairman of the
Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois, about this problem. He
searched the collections in Urbana for any specimen of this species that had passed
through Edwards's hands. He found none. It appears certain that the type of
nycteis Edwards, 1861, is unrecognizable or lost.
A search of the Reakirt material in the Strecker Collection at the Field Museum
in Chicago revealed that the specimens considered the types of the name carlota
Reakirt are Colorado specimens collected by James Ridings.
The original description of Eresia carlota is brief. After stating the new name
and citing Edwards's misdetermination of nycteis Doubleday, he wrote:
"Hab.-Rocky Mountains, Colorado Territory. (Coll. Tryon Reakirt.) 'Illinois, Missouri' Edwards.
"I cannot imagine how Mr. Edwards could have regarded this very distinct species, as identical with Mr.
Doubleday's figure; it no more resembles it, than does Tharos. Taken in June, among the mountains."
This poses an interesting nomenclatorial problem. First, the only description
of carlota is that written by Edwards in 1861. This was based upon material from
Illinois and Missouri. Therefore, carlota Reakirt is a replacement name for nycteis
Edwards 1861, not Doubleday 1847. Article 72 (d) of the Code requires that "...the
type of the replacement nominal species must be that of the prior nominal species,
despite any contrary designation of type-specimen..." It is clear that the Colorado
material now considered the types of carlota has no nomenclatorial standing. In
the absence of any recognizable specimen of the original material Edwards had
used, no lectotype can be selected for carlota Reakirt. This leaves the name without
a type. Such a specimen is needed because of the confused status of ismeria Boisduval
and LeConte. Therefore I propose as neotype for carlota Reakirt 1866 (= nycteis
Edwards 1861) a specimen from the collection of Mr. P. Sheldon Remington. It is
a male with the radius of the left fore wing 23 mm. It carries a pin label reading
"Cedar Hill / Jeff [erson] Co., Mo. / V 18 47. / P.S. Remington" and is here
illustrated as figure 6. The specimen will be deposited with the Allyn Museum of
Entomology, Sarasota, Florida. It now carries an additional label, partly printed
in red, reading "Neotype / nycteis, 1861 / (= carlota Reak. 1866) / W. H. EDWARDS /
designated by / F. M. Brown. 1967".
P.%,Hr~mtrf rL o
kl Ll 7.
hr'L I P4 C Izi r
Neotype 3 of Eresia carlota Reakirt, left, upper (top) and under (bottom) surfaces.
Right, a 9 from same population, upper (top) and under (bottom) surfaces.
Melitaea phaon Edwards
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia, 2:505, 1864.
The butterfly that Edwards described is the same as, or very like, the one figured
by Huebner on Plate  figs. 3 and 4 as the female of gorgone.
Brown (1966:434-438, fig. 26) established a neotype for phaon Edwards.
HISTORIC APPLICATION OF THE NAMES
Huebner can be considered "first revisor" for interpretation of gorgone. In a
now very rare 8-page pamphlet Index Exoticorum Lepidopterorum (see Hemming,
1937) published in 1821, he demonstrated a new system of nomenclature that he
was using in his Verzeichniss bekannte Schmettlinge [sic]. On un-numbered page 3
of the Index is the entry: "Gorgone Pap. nym. f. Dryas reticulata: Phyciodes Cocyta".
This apparently synonymizes gorgone Huebner with cocyta Cramer 1779 which in
turn represents tharos Drury . Such action is not tenable. None of the figures of
gorgone on pl.  in Huebner's original use of the name gorgone represents cocyta
Cramer ( = tharos Drury.)
In no way does this invalidate the use of the name gorgone Huebner in assoc-
iation with either carlota Reakirt or phaon Edwards. Huebner's action does not
validate the use of gorgone Huebner  in association with tharos Drury. It
establishes that cocyta Huebner , nec Cramer 1779, is a synonym of gorgone
Huebner. This error of Huebner misled numerous 19th century lepidopterists,
among them Doubleday, Herrich-Schaeffer and Kirby.
Doubleday (1852:531) among his "additions and corrections" placed gorgone
Huebner as a synonym of "Mel Tharos, n. 24" on p. 181. On that page, 181, in volume
I, he had listed as number 22 "Mel. ismeria Boisd. & LeComte [sic.]". Apparently
Doubleday based his assignment of gorgone Huebner to tharos Drury upon Huebner
 or upon the female which does resemble tharos but is a distinct species. He
did not assign the male of gorgone to ismeria nor did he list it otherwise. Doubleday's
work cannot be used to limit the term gorgone Huebner since Huebner's plate
represents two species. His assignment of the name to tharos Drury is erroneous,
but understandable. Herrich-Schaeffer (1865) and Kirby (1871) followed Doubleday's
assignment. Kirby (l.c.) considered phaon (p. 171), carlota (p. 173) and ismeria
(p. 174) as valid species names.
Scudder (1875:266) considered gorgone male Huebner and carlota Reakirt as
synonyms of ismeria Boisduval and LeConte. He (l.c.:268) considered gorgone female
Huebner and phaon Edwards as two valid species names.
Strecker (1878:120-121) in a footnote to tharos made an utterly confused state-
ment about gorgone. In this he refers to plate  of Huebner. This plate presents
four figures of Dryades reticulata Liriope (published in . He infers that figures
1 and 2 are those to which Scudder related ismeria Bdv. LeC. The name liriope is a
Cramer name (1779) and represents a neotropical species that is not involved in this
discussion. Huebner's figure of it is good and easily recognized, better than Cramer's
original figure. Strecker's error was caused by his attempt to follow Herrich-
Schaeffer's lead noted above.
Edwards (1884) ignored gorgone Huebner and considered ismeria Bdv. & LeC.
as a "Species at some time credited to the North American fauna, but omitted in
the Catalogue for want of authentication." He retained carlota Reak. and phaon
Edw. as valid names.
Skinner (1898:16) followed Scudder and listed ismeria with carlota as a synonym.
He treated phaon as a valid species name and made no mention of gorgone. Dyar
(1902) copied Skinner but added gorgone as a synonym of tharos.
Barnes and McDunnough (1917:10) used gorgone Huebner as a valid species
name and placed ismeria and carlota as synonyms of it. They used phaon as a valid
name with gorgone female as a synonym. Later Barnes and Benjamin (1926:13)
reversed this, making ismeria the valid name with gorgone male and carlota syn-
*.. ..4, .i- *o'....< ' ", / ,,.-i, -. *K .a' .';..
. ,. . .- .
Figs. 1 and 2: Huebner's Plate , showing the types of Dryas reticulata Gorgone.
Figs. 1 and 2 represent what is now considered gorgone; Figs. 3 and 4 represent
what is now known as phaon.
Figs. 3 and 4: Boisduval and LeConte's Plate 46, showing Melitaea ismeria. Adult
figures (1 and 2), larva (3) and pupa (4).
7dm .~sqnr~u L
onyms of it. They used gorgone (female only) as the valid name of another species
with phaon Edwards as a synonym.
The two published revisions of Phyciodes (s.l.) treat the names somewhat
differently. Hall (1929:33,39) used the names as did Barnes and McDunnough in 1917.
Forbes (1954:148, 151-152, 154) considered ismeria Bdv. & LeC. a valid species name,
but not associate d with gorgone Huebner nor carlota Reakirt. He gathered under
the name gorgone synonyms carlota and "ismeria Auct.". He followed Barnes and
McDunnough for phaon Edwards.
McDunnough (1938:19) used the names exactly as he had with Barnes in 1917.
Klots (1951:95, 99) wrote "for the time being we should hold the name ismeria in
abeyance." Otherwise he followed McDunnough (1938). Higgins (1960:438, 440)
considered gorgone a valid species name with carlota as a synonym and gorgone fe-
male as a synonym of phaon. He followed Klots's (1951) suggestion about ismeria.
Dos Passos (1964:82-84) reverted to Barnes and Benjamin's 1926 stand but raised
carlota to sub-specific status.
It can be seen from this that there has been little real consensus among lepid-
opterists about the nomenclatorial use of the names gorgone and ismeria. Taxon-
omically there are two, possibly three, species involved. In part the confusion is the
result of Huebner assigning the name gorgone to figures of two species on the same
plate; in part to Huebner later equating gorgone with cocyta Cramer; in part to
Scudder's equating of a figure of Abbot's in the British Museum with the figure
published by Boisduval and LeConte.
Dr. dos Passos (1964) reopened the question of gorgone Huebner by diverging
from the use of the name in McDunnough's Check-list (1938). McDunnough had
made ismeria Boisduval and LeConte and carlota Reakirt synonyms of gorgone
Huebner. This is consistent with his use of these names since 1917 in the checklist of
Barnes and McDunnough. Such use resulted from publication the year earlier
(1916:93) of the following:
"Phyciodes gorgone Hbn.
"Figs. 1 and 2 of Huebner's Samml. Exot. Schm. P1. 41, as stated by Scudder (Bull. Buff. II. p. 266),
certainly refer to the species at present listed as ismeria Bdv. whilst Figs. 3 and 4 are as plainly the 9 of phaon
Edw. If the name be held to the 3 sex, gorgone Hbn. will have priority over ismeria Bdv. and the synonymy of
the species will be:
ismeria Bdv. & Lec.
"gorgone Hbn. 9 (nec 6)
"If it be contended that Boisduval by his description of ismeria limited gorgone to the 9 sex (Figs. 3 and 4)
then phaon must fall."
Since neither in 1917 nor in 1938 did McDunnough consider that Boisduval limited
gorgone, he followed the synonymy given above. In fact, Boisduval made no
mention of gorgone in his description of ismeria and thus cannot have limited the
use of the name.
In Scudder's (1875) article alluded to by Barnes and McDunnough, he listed
the synonymy as follows:
"163. Ismeria Boisd. LeC., Lep. Am. Sept. 168, pl. 46 (Melitaea)
Gorgone Hubn., Samml. Exot. Schmett. 1, figs. 1-2
(nee 3-4) (Dryas reticulata)
Carlota Reak., Proc. Ent. Soc. Phil., 6, 141 (Eresia)
Nycteis Edw. (nec. Doubl.), Proc. Acad. Nat. Sc.,
1861, 161 (Melitaea)"
This resulted from Scudder's attempt to force an identity between a plate of
Abbot's in the British Museum (our figure 5) and the plate published by Boisduval
and LeConte (our figures 3 and 4). The identity is invisible to me.
I have never seen a butterfly that is a good fit for the figure of ismeria. To
me it looks on the under side like a crude drawing of harrisii Scudder. The upper
side appears as might be expected of a harrisii with unusually reduced black
markings. I have seen a specimen of the species represented by Huebner's male
with almost as greatly reduced black markings on the upper side, but the under side
is typical of gorgone $ Huebner. This specimen is a female in the collection of
Mr. Lucien Harris, Jr., and was captured in the vicinity of Atlanta, Georgia.
I am not the first to recognize something like harrisii in Boisduval and
LeConte's figure. In the posthumous edition of Harris's A Treatise on some Insects
Injurious to Vegetation (1862:288-9) he described under the name "Melitaea ismeria?"
the insect we today call harrisii Scudder. He stated, "I think it possible that this
species may be distinct from the Ismeria, which is known to me only by Dr. Bosi-
duval's figure." and "the only specimen which I have seen was sent to me by Dr. D.S.
C. Smith of Sutton." Harris's hedge of his determination, I am sure, was based upon
the un-harrisii appearance of the upper side of Boisduval's figure. In Harris's
collection there was a specimen of harrisii bearing the number 514. In his manuscript
catalogue 514 is noted as "Melitaea, Sutton, Dr. Smith." This information was
published as long ago as 1878 by Strecker. Scudder (1889:679) verified Strecker's
statements. At the same time, Scudder stated that he had erroneously considered
Harris's ismeria a synonym of nycteis Doubleday in 1863 (p. 379) in which he was
followed by Edwards (1878:163) and Saunders (1872:161). Scudder named harrisiiin
"1863"  the same year in which he confused Harris's ismeria with nycteis.
A hundred years after Harris, Higgins (1960:440) stated his opinion of ismeria.
He wrote: "The attribution of this name and figure to gorgone is not convincing.
The figure is badly drawn and full allowance must be made for inaccuracy in de-
tails, but there is one feature that cannot be overlooked. This is the presence on the
under surface of a distinct yellow border around the outer margins of both wings,
external to the marginal lunnules. Among eastern species this feature is best marked
in C. harrisii (Scudder), and I should be inclined to place ismeria as a form of that
species near albimontana Avinoff."
In addition to the imago, Boisduval and LeConte figured the larva and pupa
of ismeria, copied from the Abbot plate that they used. We know enough about the
immature stages of both harrisii and carlota to test the Boisduval and LeConte
figures against the observations of competent lepidopterists.
Scudder (1889:680) stated that the only food plant for harrisii is Aster
(Doellingeria) umbellatus Torrey Gray. Without reference, Scudder (1889:1811)
stated of ismeria "said to feed on Helianthus tracheliifolius." This food plant is
cited by Strecker (1878:122) and appears in pencil on the British Museum Abbot
plate we have referred to in the earlier discussion of ismeria, from whence Scudder
got his information. The author of the inscription is not known to the authorities
at the British Museum. Comparison with numerous examples of Scudder's hand-
writing, which the inscription resembles, suggest that he did not write it. The plant
determination is not based on anything published by Boisduval and LeConte.
Of the mature larvae of ismeria Scudder ibidd.) wrote "Last stage Yellow, with
blackish spines and three longitudinal blackish stripes. Head black, as well as
the thoracic legs and the ventral surface; the other legs are yellow (Bosiduval and
Careful study of the larva shown on the Abbot plate in the British Museum (N.
H.) has been made from a color photograph of the plate. The caterpillar is drawn on
a partly eaten leaf of a species of Helianthus (?) shown in flower. It is a yellow-
fulvous caterpillar with black longitudinal stripes and rows of black spines. There
is a narrow mid-dorsal black line, broad dorso-lateral black bands in which the
spines are rooted and a narrow, broken ventro-lateral black lines. The true (thor-
acic) legs are black. The prolegs are yellow-fulvous with the anterior portion blackish.
The head is black with two yellowish spots that may be highlights.
The inscription on the Abbot plate reads "The Caterpillar feeds on the Crop
Wort, and Sun Flower. It tyed itself up by the tail, 16th May, changed into Chrysalis
17th, Bred 26th. It frequents the Oak Woods of Burke County, but is not common."
Scudder (1889:678) described minutely the larva of harrisii. In the fourth
instar it is yellow with black spines and a dark dorsal stripe with traces of a brownish
stigmatal stripe on each side and with transverse dark lines. In the final instar
the larva is orange with blackish dorsal and stigmatal bands and with darkish
transverse lines at the junctions of the segments. The darkening of the colors in
the last instar from those seen in the fourth is quite variable.
Dyar (1893) and Edwards (1894) described larvae each called carlota Reakirt.
Dyar described a mature caterpillar and the pupa. His description is primarily of
the distribution of the spines with these color notes: "Cervical shield, anal plate,
feet outwardly and spiracles black; body brownish-red, with a dorsal and sub-
dorsal black shaded line, most distinct in the segmental incisures." This reads to
me like the description of nycteis larva, which I have raised. Further on he wrote,
"Found on the ground feeding on an undetermined plant which was just starting,
at Denver, Colorado, April 30, 1891," Davenport and Dethier's (1938:161) statement
that the "Food plant: Quercus chrysolepis" was used by Dyar's carlota larva is
Edwards's color notes for carlota as a mature larva are these, "Colour (of
three examples under view), deep black, speckled with white or yellow-white; a red
fulvous mid-dorsal band from 2 to 13, sometimes widening on 2, interrupted by
the tubercles after 4; along the lower half of side the black ground is much mottled
with white, so as to have the effect of a white band, and on either edge is a macular
white line, almost complete on the upper; the spines, as in the genus, rising from
shining black tubercles, and are concolored with them, tapering to a blunt point,
out of which springs a straight short bristle, and there are many such about the
sides from top to base; underside gray-brown; the feet black, prolegs gray-brown;
head obovid, bi-lobed, shining black, with many short curved-down blackish hairs
from black tubercles." I have seen the butterflies produced by these larvae and they
are carlota Reakirt. I have raised similar larvae.
Neither Dyar's nor Edwards's description of carlota larvae fits the figured
larva of ismeria Bosiduval and LeConte as well as does the larva of harrisii, and that
is a poor fit. It will be noted from the four descriptions of larvae, ismeria, harrisii,
nycteis (?) and carlota, that both ismeria and harrisii are described as yellow, or
orange, with three black longitudinal bands (dorsal and lateral) and carlota calls
for dark larvae, variously marked. Again the evidence, poor as it is, points toward
harrisii (or nycteis) rather than carlota being the closest known taxon to ismeria.
The larva shown on the Abbot plate in the British Museum (N. H.) is closer in
appearance to the descriptions of the larvae of ismeria and harrisii than to the
description of verified larvae of carlota. It also fits rather well Dyar's description
of the larva he raised and believed to be carlota. I have not found the butterfly
that emerged from Dyar's larva and cannot vouch for it being true carlota.
It is possible that there are color phases of the larvae of carlota. It also is possible
that Dyar really raised nycteis.
In conclusion, I believe that the name ismeria Bdv. & LeC. cannot be used in
association with 6 gorgone Huebner. The figures of ismeria imago, larva and pupa
are more consistent with poor representation of harrisii Scudder than with poor
representation of a gorgone Huebner. Since the figures do not clearly represent
either of these butterflies I believe that stability of nomenclature will be better
served if we consider ismeria Boisduval and LeConte nomen incognitum, or even
consider the representation fictitious and delete the name from the North American
Barnes, William, and Foster H. Benjamin, 1926, Check list of the diurnal Lepidoptera
of North America. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci., 25:3-27.
Barnes, William, and James McDunnough, 1916, Notes on North American diurnal
Lepidoptera. Contrib. Nat. His. Lepid. N.A., 3:55-137. Decatur, Illinois.
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