BULLETIN OF THE ALLYN MUSEUM
3621 Bayshore Rd.
Sarasota, Florida 34234
The Florida State Museum
University of Florida
Gainesville. Florida 32611
Number 109 3 September 1987
NEVADA POPULATIONS OF POLITE SABULETI
AND THE DESCRIPTIONS OF FIVE NEW
GEORGE T. AUSTIN
Nevada State Museum and Historical Society
700 Twin Lakes Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89107
Polites sabuleti is a widespread and variable species in western North America which
has received relatively little study. At present, eight names are available for the variation
within the species, of which three are considered synonyms (Miller and Brown 1981)
Polites sabuleti sabuleti (Boisduval 1852) Type locality: not stated (undoubtedly
somewhere in California)
Polites sabuleti genoa (Plotz 1883) Type locality: Nevada
Polites sabuleti tecumseh (Grinnell 1903) Type locality: Little Crabtree Meadow near
Mt. Whitney, California
Polites sabuleti chispa (W. G. Wright 1905) Type locality: Sierra Nevadas of
Polites sabuleti chusca (W. H. Edwards 1873) Type locality: Arizona
Polites sabuleti comstocki Gunder 1925 Type locality: El Centro, Imperial
Polites sabuleti ministigma Scott 1981 Type locality: 5-8 miles west Crestone,
Saguache County, Colorado.
Polites sabuleti margaretae Miller and MacNeill 1969 Type locality: southeast shore
of La Paz Harbor, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
My studies of Nevada populations of this species indicated that this taxonomy was
insufficient to express the variation here, and that a number of additional names were
necessary in this state alone (Austin 1985). Further collections and interpretation and
the discovery of a very distinct new phenotype makes this revision of the state's
populations necessary. It is hoped that this will prompt further study on this interesting
species elsewhere and eventually lead to a much needed species revision. In all, I examined
over 2100 Nevada collected specimens and more than 1100 specimens from elsewhere.
Size is given as mean length and range in mm of right primary from base to furthest
extent (LFW). Sample size for measurements is 15 unless otherwise noted.
Two of the names presented above do not apply to Nevada populations. Polites sabuleti
margaretae is a salt marsh subspecies restricted to Baja California, Mexico (Miller and
MacNeill 1969) with a similar phenotype in Sonora, Mexico (1 female, San Carlos Bay,
22 December 1938, leg. F. H. Rindge, AMNH); andPolites sabuleti ministigna is a montane
taxon, apparently restricted to south central Colorado (Scott 1981). All other proposed
names have bearing on Nevada populations. These are characterized in Table I and
Polites sabuleti sabuleti (Boisduval)
Boisduval (1852) described Hesperia sabuleti from at least a pair sent by Lorquin from
California. Most likely, they were from the region of the gold fields, as Lorquin had not
traveled as widely as he would in later years. No syntypes are among the type material
purchased by Barnes from the Oberthiir collection now at the USNM. Excellent
reproductions of the supposed Boisduval types were published by Oberthiir (1913). The
pair of P. sabuleti illustrated are of the relatively widespread phenotype from west of
the Sierra Nevada in California, and a reasonable restriction of the type locality can be
to the general region between San Francisco and Eldorado County, California.
The following description of typical Polites sabuleti sabuleti (from Sutter and Plumas
counties, California) will serve as a basis for comparisons with other populations discussed
in this paper. Males are a medium-sized P. sabuleti (LFW=12.3mm., [11.8-13.1mm.]) and
bright orange dorsally with sharply defined blackish-brown outer margins with the orange
discal color extending distally along the veins producing a moderately "serrated" effect
proximally. The costal and anal margins and the basal area of the secondaries are black.
The ventral ground color is paler (more yellow) orange and is deepest in the cell of the
primaries. A black mark occurs at the base (except on the costa) of the primaries extending
narrowly to the outer margin along the inner margin. The outer margin pattern repeats
that on the dorsum but is relatively heavily overscaled and thus a dark olive in appearance.
The ventral secondaries have a clear yellow postmedian band usually extending as a patch
distally. The outer margin is as dorsally but overscaled and thus yellowish-olive cut with
yellow which lines the veins. The base of the discal cell and base of cell Cu2-2A have distinct
blackish marks. This combined pattern on the secondaries is referred to herein as the
"cobweb" pattern. The fringes are pale yellow-orange. The genitalia of the male are
illustrated in Fig. 6. The valvae are moderately covered with whitish to brownish "hairs".
The genitalia are constant among specimens from Sutter and Plumas counties.
The large females (LFW= 13.9mm., [12.9-14.8mm.]) are also bright orange above paling
slightly to yellow-orange postmedially on the primaries. The black pattern is as on the
male (but obviously lacking the stigma) and with two wedge-shaped black marks on the
disc (base of cell Cu,-Cu2, middle of cell Cu2-2A) on the primaries. Ventrally, the primaries
are as on the male but with less distal overscaling making the margins a darker olivish-
brown, and the basal black is extended to include a repetition of the discal marks of the
dorsum. The secondaries are largely olive-brown; the yellowish (slightly paler than on
the male but definitely yellow and not cream or white) postmedian band is broad but does
not extend proximally as a patch but rather as yellow veins (especially broadly on vein
Cuj) and includes a yellow blotch at the end of the discal cell and usually at the base of
cell Sc+R,-Rs. Blackish marks occur as on the male and also proximal to the postmedian
band in other cells as well. The veins are yellow distal to the postmedian band to the
outer margin. The fringes are pale gray.
Some seasonal variation in phenotype occurs among at least some of the California
multivoltine populations of Polites sabuleti (Shapiro 1974a, b). Early and late season
specimens may look much like high elevation populations of P. s. tecumseh of the Sierra
Nevada. I have not seen any obvious tendency of this sort among Nevada material.
Populations of nominate Polites sabuleti occur in suitable habitats at low to moderate
elevations throughout most of California west of the Sierra Nevada outside of the Colorado
River Valley. A somewhat paler (yellower, especially on the ventral surface) phenotype
occurs east of the Sierra Nevada north at least to the Bridgeport area of Mono County
and extends in relatively isolated (often mid-elevation and rather uncommon where it
occurs) colonies east into portions of southwestern and southcentral Nevada including
Nye, Esmeralda, and Mineral (Corey Peak) counties. North of here, similar phenotypes
occur in the Walker, lower Carson, and Truckee river valleys northward to Pyramid Lake
and the Kings and Quinn river valleys and eastward through much of the Humboldt River
drainage (Fig. 5). These present phenotypes are retained as part of the variation of nominate
P. sabuleti, all having bright orange males with well defined outer marginal bands, and
largely orange females with a yellow postmedian band on the ventral secondaries. In
Nevada, these populations are largely bivoltine with records from mid-May to late
September with the principal flight in August. The habitats of the Nevada populations
vary from hot alkaline flats in the valleys to grassy flats along rivers and in the vicinity
of small isolated springs at middle elevations of the mountains. Oviposition has been noted
on Distichlis spicata (L.) var stricta (Torr.) Beetle (Poaceae) in Churchill County.
Some of the included material may be different enough to recognize subspecifically when
sufficient material is assembled. This also applies to other parts of the species range but
a revision of this sort is far beyond the scope of the present study. A curious pallid
population (Fig. 2) occurs within this distribution at the Beowawe Geysers on the
Eureka/Lander county line. It is phenotypically similar to the pale central Nevada
populations described below.
Polites sabuleti genoa (Plotz)
Pl6tz (1883) described Hesperia genoa from at least a pair of Nevada specimens. Based
on the name, it is reasonable to assume that the types were from somewhere near the
first Nevada settlement of the same name where the species is locally common today.
I thus restrict the type locality to the Carson River Valley in Douglas County, Nevada.
The collector and location of the type are unknown. The original description is rather
rambling and confused, but key points are "Oberseite... beim female vorherrschend braun."
dorsumm of female predominantly brown), "Htfl oben mit einem abgeschlossenen
rothgelban Fleck in der Mittelzelle,..." hindwing with enclosed orange spot in the middle
cell) and "... besonders beim female die Spitzflecken freilassend rostroth bestaubt."
(apical spots of female overscaled with reddish). Plotz did not compare it with any other
Topotypes (68 males, 69 females examined) of Polites sabuleti genoa are recognizably
different from California and Nevada populations included in nominate P. sabuleti, and
thus the name is herein raised from synonomy. The differences include several characters:
1. Nominate P. sabuleti have sharply defined dark margins on both dorsal wings. P. s.
genoa margins are somewhat less serrated and usually "fuzzy" with much orange
2. Nominate P. sabuleti females are generally orange and marked with black. P. s. genoa
females are usually brownish-black and marked with pale orange; these markings are
often whitish, especially proximal to the dark margin.
3. Nominate P. sabuleti females usually have the cell of the primaries largely orange, this
area often extending to the subapical spots and connecting, at least narrowly, with
the orange extending towards the posterior margin. On P. s. genoa females, the pale,
often whitish, orange in the cell is restricted, occasionally wanting, and usually not
connecting to the pale postmedian area.
4. On P. s. sabuleti males, the ventral cobweb pattern is yellow and usually distinct and
sharply defined. On P. s. genoa males, this is pale yellow and often somewhat fuzzy,
5. On P. s. sabuleti females, the ventral primaries are distinctly orangish with a brownish
distal pattern. On P. s. genoa females, the tone is olivish or yellowish-olive with a darker
olive distal pattern.
6. On P. s. sabuleti females, the ventral postmedian bands of both wings are distinctly
yellow and broad. On P. s. genoa females, these are creamy-white and average narrower.
In size, males of Polites sabuleti genoa are rather small (LFW= 11.4mm. [10.8-12.5mm])
and females are medium-sized (LFW=13.2mm., [11,8-14.4mm.]). The male genitalia are
virtually identical to those of the nominate subspecies (Fig. 6). P. s. genoa flies in two
broods with records from mid-May to mid-October. Slight seasonal variation exists in
P. s. genoa. Late spring specimens tend to be paler dorsally and ventrally than those
from late summer and fall. The distribution of P. s. genoa is east of the Sierra Nevada
in western Nevada through the upper Carson and Truckee river drainages (Fig. 5) where
it occurs in valley marshes and in urban areas. Oviposition has been noted on Distichlis
spicata (L.) (Poaceae) in Carson City.
Northward (northern Washoe County, Nevada, eastern Modoc County, California and
into southern Oregon) is a phenotype of Polites sabuleti that is more orange dorsally and
paler ventrally. This is described as:
Polites sabuleti alkaliensis, new subspecies
MALE. Size medium (LFW= 12.2mm., [11.4-13.2mm.] for species. Dorsum yellow-orange,
margins blackish, strongly serrated and overscaled with ground color, tending very narrow
on secondaries. Basal dark area of secondaries moderately developed and similarly
overscaled. Ventral primaries yellowish-orange, more orange at base of cell; marginal band
heavily overscaled, thus faint and pale olive color. Secondaries yellow-olive; postmedian
band narrow, whitish-yellow and poorly contrasting. Fringes pale yellow-orange. Genitalia
like nominate P. sabuleti (Fig. 6).
FEMALE. Size relatively small (LFW=13.2mm., [12.2-13.9mm.], N=9). Dorsal ground
color as on male, slightly paler and yellowish postmedially on primaries and over ventral
postmedian band on secondaries; dark margins narrow to wide, moderately serrated and
moderately overscaled with ground color. Ventral surface as on male except more olivish,
and postmedian of primaries distinctly paler yellowish. Postmedian of secondaries similarly
narrow and whitish-yellow. Fringes pale gray.
TYPES. Holotype male NEVADA: Washoe Co.; Granite Mts., Nev. 8A, 1.3 mi. W.
Nev. 34, 8 August 1981, leg. G. T. Austin. Allotype female same data as holotype.
Paratypes (12 males, 8 females, all NEVADA: Washoe Co.; Granite Mts.) 10 males,
6 females, same data as holotype; 2 males, 2 females, Nev. 34, 3.5 mi. S. Nev. 8A, 8 Aug.
1981, leg. G. T. Austin.
DEPOSITION OF TYPE MATERIAL. The holotype, allotype and 4 male and 2 female
paratypes are deposited at the Nevada State Museum. One pair each of paratypes are
to be deposited in the Allyn Museum of Entomology and the Los Angeles County Museum.
The remaining paratypes are retained in the author's collection.
TYPE LOCALITY. NEVADA: Washoe County; Granite Mountains, (Fortynine
Mountain), Nevada State Route 8A, 1.3 miles west of Nevada State Route 34, 5950', T42N,
R19E, S8, located on USGS Vya, Nevada, 7.5' quadrangle.
OTHER SPECIMENS EXAMINED. CALIFORNIA: Modoc Co.; Buck Creek (1 male),
Davis Creek, 17 Aug. 1930 (2 males). NEVADA: Humboldt Co.; Pine Forest Mts., Blue
Lake Rd., 12 mi. SW Nev. 140, 22 Aug. 1970, leg. S. O. Mattoon (1 male). NEVADA:
Washoe Co.; Granite Mts., Crutcher Canyon Rd. at Nev. 81, 8 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin
(1 male); Granite Mountains, Crutcher Canyon Rd., 6.5 mi. N. Nev. 81, 19 June 1982,
leg. G. T. Austin (1 male); Nev. 8A, 15 mi. E. Cedarville [California], 6000', 23 Aug. 1970,
leg. S. O. Mattoon (1 female). OREGON: Baker Co.; Durkee, Cave Creek, 18 Aug. 1966,
leg. J. Baker (9 males, 2 females); Baker, 4 Sept. 1938, leg. J. H. Baker (1 male, 6 females),
11 Sept. 1938, leg. J. H. Baker (1 female), 22 Aug. 1937, leg. J. H. Baker (2 males, 1 female),
12 Sept. 1937, leg. J. H. Baker (1 female), Baker, Spring Creek, 30 Aug. 1959, leg. J. H.
Baker (1 male), 15 Aug. 1944, leg. J. H. Baker (9 males, 3 females), Durkee, 16 Aug. 1940,
leg. J. H. Baker (2 males, 2 females). OREGON: Harney Co.; Emigrant Canyon, NW Burns,
18 Aug. 1964, leg. C. R. Crowe (1 male). OREGON: Lake Co.; 13 mi. SE Lakeview (2 males).
DISTRIBUTION AND PHENOLOGY. As presently conceived, Polites sabuleti
alkaliensis occurs from extreme northwestern Nevada and northeastern California
northward to east central Oregon (Fig. 5). It seems to have one principal brood in August
and another of smaller numbers in June.
ETYMOLOGY. The butterfly occurs in a region containing many alkaline lakes with
a number so named in both Washoe County, Nevada and Modoc County, California. Thus
the name Polites sabuleti alkaliensis.
DIAGNOSIS AND DISCUSSION. Polites sabuleti alkaliensis resembles no other named
taxon of the species. The male is similar in color dorsally to P. s. genoa but the marginal
bands are more deeply serrated on both wings. P. s. alkaliensis is yellower ventrally rather
than the darker olive of P. s. genoa and with less contrast. Females are largely orange
and not blackish with whitish submarginally as on P. s. genoa and much paler ventrally
with a less contrasting and narrower postmedian band. Both sexes are more yellow above
than nominate P. sabuleti with the wing margins more overscaled (thus appearing paler),
and females are usually without the prominent black discal marks on the primaries.
Ventrally both sexes of P. s. alkaliensis have a yellower ground color, narrower and pale
yellow to whitish (vs. yellow) postmedian band and a weakly contrasting pattern. No other
described P. sabuleti approaches P. s. alkaliensis in color and pattern. Sufficient material
does not exist to assess seasonal variation.
I include here, for now, populations occurring to east central Oregon. Males from Baker
County, Oregon are nearly identical to Washoe County, Nevada males. Females from Baker
County average considerably darker above and are somewhat darker below. Also included
is one male from the Pine Forest Mountains, which is closer to Polites sabuleti alkaliensis
than anything else. A female from the Jackson Mountains (Humboldt Co., Nevada) to
the south is like nominate P. sabuleti. Eastward in Nevada, the geographically closest
known P. sabuleti population is a totally different P. sabuleti described later. The few
specimens I have seen from west of the Warner Mountains in California and Oregon
seem to be nominate P. sabuleti (e. g., see Klamath County, Oregon specimens figured
in Dornfeld 1980).
Polites sabuleti tecumseh (Grinnell)
Grinnell's (1903) Pamphila sabuleti var. tecumseh was described from the vicinity of
Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada of California and refers to the small P. sabuleti from
the higher elevations of these mountains. P. s. tecumseh is the smallest of the P. sabuleti
(male, LFW=10.8mm., [10.4-11.1mm.]; female, LFW=12.3mm., [11.2-13.2mm.], sample
from Carson Range, Washoe Co., Nevada). Males are orange above with broad, blackish-
brown and weakly serrated margins on both wings. The orange area of the secondaries
is rather triangle-shaped. The ventral primaries are less dark orange becoming yellow-
orange postmedially. The margins are as on the dorsum but lightly overscaled and
appearing dark olive. The ventral secondaries are a similar dark olive color with a deep,
nearly orangish, yellow postmedian band often extending basally as a patch as on nominate
P. sabuleti. The veins are thinly lined with yellow. The blackish basal marks noted for
P. s. sabuleti are present but not distinct against the darker ground color. The fringes
are pale orange. The genitalia are of the typical P. sabuleti form but proportionately smaller
in size and have a few scattered and distinctly contrasting blackish among the pale
brownish "hairs" (Fig. 6).
Females are paler orange than males becoming yellow-orange postmedially on the
primaries. The margiani bands are broad with little overscaling. The discal area of the
primaries has the two wedge-shaped marks as on nominate Polites sabuleti. The orange
of the secondaries varies from as on the male to a narrow postmedian band. The ventral
primaries have an orangish cell and a pale yellow-orange postmedian. The margins are
blackish-olive to yellow-olive (less overscaled than on the male), and the hindwing is a
similar color. The yellow postmedian band is of moderate width and does not extend basally
as it often does on males. The dark basal marks are as on nominate P. sabuleti but less
contrasting. The fringes are pale gray to pale yellow on the secondaries and dark gray
on the primaries.
Polites sabuleti tecumseh is nearly restricted to the Sierra Nevada. A short series (3
males, 1 female, AME) labeled Deep Creek, Sweetwater Mountains, Mono County,
California are also typical examples of this taxon. Other outlying populations heretofore
referred to as or close to this taxon are different enough to recognize subspecifically and
apparently represent convergence among the various higher elevation populations with
different evolutionary histories. Such populations are known from such areas as the T'inity
Alps-Mount Eddy area (Trinity County, California, Shapiro et al 1979), White Mountains
(Inyo County, California-Esmeralda County, Nevada, McGuire 1982, below), the Mt. Shasta
area (Siskiyou County, California, USNM, AME, CM) and possibly the Crater Lake
(Douglas County, Oregon, AMNH) and the Bryce Canyon (Garfield County, Utah, AME)
areas. In Nevada, P. s. tecumseh occurs above about 6500 feet in middle elevation meadows
of the Carson Range (Fig. 5). There is one brood from late June to mid August. The larval
host plant is reported as Agrostis scabra (Gramineae) at Castle Peak in nearby California
Wright's (1905) Pamphila chispa also described from the Sierra Nevada has been treated
as a straight synonym ofPolites sabuleti tecumseh. This needs further study. The types
of P. s. chispa as described and illustrated (Wright 1905) have a whitish postmedian band
on the ventral hindwing whereas P. s. tecumseh is yellow banded. Various sampled
populations seem to be one or the other. Known Nevada populations are strictly yellow
At most locations, Polites sabuleti tecumseh is elevationally and ecologically disjunct
from lowland populations (subspecies) of the species. Shapiro (1975) discussed possible
genetic differences. There are, however, four male specimens (CM) from near Olancha,
Inyo County, California that appear intermediate toward a low elevation phenotype. These
are apparently from a population on the edge of the range of P. s. tecumseh. Further
collecting along with precise locations and ecological notes along with an assessment of
the white-banded P. s. chispa phenotype are needed to evaluate this situation properly.
A Polites sabuleti, superficially similar to the Sierra Nevada phenotype, and referred
to that taxon (McGuire 1982), occurs in the White Mountains on the Nevada-California
border. This is not P. s. tecumseh and the following name is proposed:
Polites sabuleti albamontana, new subspecies
MALE. Size medium (LFW=12.2mm. [11.0-12.9mm.]) forPolites sabuleti. Dorsal ground
color a rather dull orange. Wing margins broad and weakly serrated, these and poststigmal
patch broad, blackish-brown lightly overscaled proximally with ground color. Secondaries
with extensive blackish-brown costa, base and anal margin. Ventral primaries with ground
color orange becoming yellow distally. Well-defined blackish margins, lightly overscaled
with yellow imparting a dark olive appearance. Secondaries of the same olive color with
broad, well-defined cobweb pattern of pale yellow. Postmedian band medium width. Fringes
pale yellow-orange. Genitalia similar in form to nominate P. sabuleti (Fig. 6) but with
mixture of whitish and black "hairs".
FEMALE. Size large (LFW=13.8mm., [12-8-14.8mm.]) for species. Ground color orange
becoming paler yellow-orange distally, with well-defined, lightly overscaled dark brown
margins on both wings. Brown of costal, basal and anal areas of secondaries broad, the
orange areas limited to a broad postmedian band and a large midcell spot.
Ventral primaries with dull orange cell and broad overscaled blackish margins appearing
slightly darker than on male. Secondaries of similar color with a distinct, broad cobweb
pattern of creamy-white. Fringes pale gray on secondaries, gray on primaries.
TYPES. Holotype male NEVADA: Esmeralda Co.; White Mts., Trail Canyon, 24
July 1980, leg. G. T. Austin. Allotype female NEVADA: Esmeralda Co.; White Mts.,
high ridge above Trail Canyon, 10600-10800', 21 July 1981, leg. G. T. Austin. Paratypes
(16 males, 30 females, all NEVADA: Esmeralda Co.; White Mts., Trail Canyon) 4 males,
4 females, same data as holotype; 6 males, 9 females, same location as holotype, 9600',
21 July 1981; 2 males, 1 female, 17 June 1983, leg. G. T. Austin; 4 males, 14 females,
5 August 1979, leg. G. T. Austin; 1 female, 28 July 1978, leg. G. T. Austin; 1 female,
Boundary Peak, 13140', 21 July 1981, leg. G. T. Austin.
DEPOSITION OF TYPE MATERIAL. The holotype male, allotype female and 2 male
and 4 female paratypes are deposited at the Nevada State Museum. One pair each of
paratypes are to be deposited in the American Museum of Natural History, Allyn Museum
of Entomology, Los Angeles County Museum and the National Museum of Natural
History. The remaining paratypes are to be retained by the author.
TYPE LOCALITY. NEVADA: Esmeralda County, White Mountains, Trail Canyon, 9000'
T1S, R33E, S9, 10, 17.
OTHER SPECIMENS EXAMINED. CALIFORNIA: Mono Co.; White Mts., Sheep
Creek, 8 Sept. 1970, leg. P. Herlan (1 female), Sheep Mtn., 15 July 1979, leg. J. F. Emmel
(2 males, 5 females). NEVADA: Esmeralda Co.; White Mts., Indian Creek, 7-9 mi. W. Nv.
264, 18 June 1983, leg. G. T. Austin (3 males, 1 female); White Mts., Chiatovitch Creek,
9-11 mi. W. Nv. 3A (=Nv. 264), 12 June 1978, leg. G. T. Austin (1 female).
OTHER KNOWN RECORDS. Mt. Barcroft, 13400', White Mountains, Mono Co.,
California, 29 July 1978 (McGuire 1982).
DISTRIBUTION AND PHENOLOGY. This phenotype is restricted to the White
Mountains of Nevada and California above about 7500' in elevation (Fig. 5). It flies in
wet areas along streams and occasionally on the high ridges. There is one brood with
fresh material in mid-June which becomes progressively worn through the season, the
latest record being in early September.
ETYMOLOGY. This taxon is named after the mountain range to which it appears
endemic, the White Mountains on the California-Nevada border.
DIAGNOSIS AND DISCUSSION. Dorsally, both sexes of Polites sabuleti albamontana
are very similar toP. s. tecumseh in color and pattern. The orange of male P. s. albamontana
is slightly paler. Both sexes (but especially females) have more extensive basal black on
the dorsal secondaries than P. s. tecumseh, and the female phenotype is more constant.
Females of P. s. tecumseh vary considerably in the amount of orange on the dorsal surface
of both wings. The ventral surface of P. s. albamontana is darker (considerably so on
females) than P. s. tecumseh. On P. s. albamontana the postmedian band of males is pale
yellow (not the deep, nearly orange-yellow of P. s. tecumseh); that of the females is whitish
(rather than yellowish). Overall, the ventrum of P. s. tecumseh has a somewhat yellow
aspect while that of P. s. albamontana has a darker and olive aspect. Above all, P. s.
albamontana is the size of many of the lowland populations of the species whereas P.
s. tecumseh is a dimunitive insect. P. s. albamontana differs from P. s. sabuleti, P. s.
alkaliensis and P. s. genoa by the broader dark margins of the male and the noticeably
darker ground color beneath. The larval hostplant is reported as Festuca brachyphylla
(Poaceae) in California (McGuire 1982).
At a lower elevation on the east slope of the White Mountains (Sand Springs, 5520',
Esmeralda County, Nevada) is a population assigned to Polites sabuleti sabuleti and which
shows no intermediacy towards P. s. albamontana. This location is about 10 km from
a known location for P. s. albamontana.
In 1984, I discovered a distinct phenotype of Polites sabuleti in Humboldt County,
Nevada. So unexpected was the phenotype that I considered the first specimen caught
to be an aberration but a series dispelled that notion. This butterfly may be known
Polites sabuleti sinemaculata, new subspecies
MALE. Size large (LFW=12.6mm., [11.9-13.4mm]) for Polites sabuleti. Dorsum bright
golden-orange with a prominent black stigma on primaries of the form of all P. sabuleti.
Poststigmal patch grayish and typical for the species. Dark margin of primaries absent
to faint, usually indicated only by a slightly darker yellow-orange color. Terminal line
black, prominent. Fringes of same golden-yellow as wing. Secondaries with no outer
marginal border, black along costal and anal margins narrow, base of wing usually dusted
lightly with black. Terminal line and fringes as on primaries.
Ventral surface paler yellow-orange than dorsum. Black of primaries restricted to very
base of cell and narrowly along posterior margin, not extending as far distally as usual
on other Polites sabuleti. Pattern typical of species but very faintly contrasting, indicated
by slightly differing shades of yellow-orange. Secondaries with cobweb pattern also faintly
indicated. Genitalia the most distinctive of those P. sabuleti examined in this study (Fig.
6). Basically, of typical P. sabuleti form but with a relatively longer and more curved
saccus, valvae very heavily covered with whitish "hairs".
FEMALE. Size large (LFW= 14.0mm., [13.1-15.0mm]) for Polites sabuleti. Dorsal wing
color pale yellow-orange with typical P. sabuleti pattern present but washed out and less
distinctly indicated: dark areas narrower, these heavily overscaled with ground color.
Postmedial area of primaries whitish-yellow. Terminal line dark gray, fringes pale grayish
on primaries, white on secondaries.
Ventral surface paler with pattern more distinctly indicated than on male. Postmedial
pale areas of primaries and postmedian band and associated pattern of secondaries ghostly
TYPES. Holotype male NEVADA: Humboldt Co.; Nv. 140, 5.0 mi. W. Denio Jet.,
25 Aug. 1984, leg. G. T. Austin. Allotype female same data as holotype. Paratypes
(27 males, 14 females) 22 males, 4 females, same data as holotype; 5 males, 10 females,
same location as holotype, 15 Sept. 1985, leg. R. Albright.
DEPOSITION OF TYPE MATERIAL. The holotype, allotype and 5 male paratypes
are deposited at the Nevada State Museum. One male paratype is to be deposited at each
the American Museum of Natural History, Allyn Museum of Entomology, Los Angeles
County Museum and Natural Museum of Natural History. Five male and 10 female
paratypes are in the collection of R. Albright, Dayton, Oregon. The remaining paratypes
are to be retained by the author.
TYPE LOCALITY. NEVADA: Humboldt County: Baltazor Hot Spring, Nevada State
Route 140, 5.0 miles west of Denio Junction, 4213', T46N. R28E, S13 on USGS Denio,
Nevada-Oregon, 15' quadrangle. The area is a salt flat adjacent to a hot spring covered
with a rather dense growth of Distichlis spicata (L.) (Poaceae), which probably serves
as the larval hostplant. Adults were nectaring on yellow and white composites (Asteraceae).
DISTRIBUTION AND PHENOLOGY. This distinctive phenotype is known to date
only from the type locality (Fig. 5) where it has been taken in late August (very fresh)
and mid September (somewhat worn). It is unknown if there are earlier broods.
ETYMOLOGY. The name refers to the almost complete absence of the typical pattern
of Polites sabuleti.
DIAGNOSIS AND DISCUSSION. This is by far the most distinctive of the Polites
sabuleti subspecies. The males all but lack the distinctive serrated marginal dark areas
characteristic of all other known populations of the species. These dark areas are indicated
as a shadow, slightly darker than ground color. Likewise, the ventral surface shows
virtually none of the typical P. sabuleti pattern. Other dark markings are also less extensive
than on other P. sabuleti. Females are readily recognizable as a P. sabuleti but they are
distinctly paler, appearing bleached.
The Great Basin, and especially Nevada, is known for its pale phenotype of a wide variety
of butterflies (Austin and Murphy 1987). For many years, the Reese River population
of Polites sabuleti (see below) was considered the palest of the species. The discovery of
P. s. sinemaculata has removed that distinction. While the dorsal orange color is deeper
and brighter than on the Reese River butterfly, the overall aspect of P. s. sinemaculata
is of a very pale butterfly because of the near lack of a dorsal pattern on males, restriction
of such on females and the very pale ventral surface of both sexes. As far as is known
at present, P. s. sinemaculata is restricted to the type locality. Geographically, the nearest
population of P. sabuleti is in the Pine Forest Range (about 16 km SSE of the type locality).
This and other nearby populations (Kings River Valley and Jackson Mountains, Humboldt
County, Nevada; Granite Mountains, Washoe County, Nevada and known southern Oregon
populations) do not even approach the phenotype of P. s. sinemaculata suggesting very
effective isolation of this population. Other areas of the drainage system in which the
type locality is located need to be investigated for possible other colonies. None of the
species has been taken at the rather well collected Dufurrena Ranch, Humboldt County,
Nevada, about 30 km west of the type locality of P. s. sinemaculata.
For many years, a pallid phenotype of Polites sabuleti has been known from the Reese
River Valley in central Nevada but it remains to be described. This is rectified here and
the butterfly may be known as:
Polites sabuleti pallida, new subspecies
MALE. Size medium (LFW=11.9mm., [11.1-12.4mm.]) for species. Dorsal surface ground
color pale (whitish) orange (especially adjacent to marginal dark areas) with rather narrow,
heavily overscaled (but distinct and deeply serrated) brownish-black margins on both
wings. Poststigmal patch small. Latter and dark patch apical to stigma often obsolete
due to heavy overscaling of ground color. Costa and basal area of secondaries of same
color as margins and usually similarly heavily overscaled. Fringes broad, pale
Ground color of ventral surface yellowish overscaled somewhat with whitish. Marginal
area of primaries and entire secondaries heavily overscaled giving these areas a yellow-
olive aspect. Cobweb pattern on secondaries, a paler creamy-yellow, usually contrasting
little with background, postmedian band relatively narrow. Genitalia similar to nominate
Polites sabuleti (Fig. 6), rather heavily covered with whitish or pale brownish "hairs".
FEMALE. Size large (LFW=14.1mm., [13.0-15.2mm.]) for Polites sabuleti. Dorsal
surface ground color paler than on male, postmedian area of both wings and subapical
spots of primaries pale cream color. Dark areas overscaled but less than on male. Margins
medium width and deeply serrated. Fringes broad, whitish on secondaries, pale gray on
Ground color of ventral primaries yellowish-orange, overscaled heavily with whitish;
postmedian area pale creamy-white, broad and distinct. Margin blackish, overscaled
with white, especially heavily distally. Secondaries rather dark yellowish-gray, over-
scaled with whitish. Cobweb pattern including postmedian band nearly white, often
TYPES. Holotype male NEVADA: Lander Co.: Reese River Valley, Nv. 722, 4.0 mi.
E. of Reese River, 22 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin. Allotype female same data as
holotype. Paratypes (171 males, 91 females, all NEVADA: Lander Co.; Reese River Valley)
- 31 males, 21 females, same data as holotype; 1 male, same location as holotype, 11
July 1978, leg. G. T. Austin; 1 male, same location as holotype, 18 July 1980, leg. G.
T. Austin; 27 males, 18 females, same location as holotype, 28 Aug. 1984, leg. G. T. Austin;
53 males, 1 female, Nv 2 (= Nv. 722) at Reese River, 14 Aug. 1978, leg. G. T. Austin;
1 male, same location, 5 July 1978, leg. G. T. Austin; 3 males, 2 females, same location,
3 June 1984, leg. G. T. Austin; 1 male, Nv. 2 (= Nv. 722), Reese River to 0.5 mi. E., 11
July 1978, leg. G. T. Austin; 4 males, 6 females, same location, 8 July 1979, leg. G. T.
Austin; 1 male, same location, 10 July 1980, leg. G. T. Austin; 1 male, same location,
16 July 1983, leg. G. T. Austin; 34 males, 15 females, U. S. 50 at Reese River, 22 Aug.
1981, leg. G. T. Austin; 13 males, 22 females, U. S. 50, 2.5 mi. E. Reese River, 26 Aug.
1984, leg. G. T. Austin; 5 females, Reese River, 2 Aug. 1968, leg. P. J. Herlan; 1 female,
same location, 1 Aug. 1970, leg. C. Callaghan.
DEPOSITION OF TYPE MATERIAL. The holotype, allotype and 40 male and 17
female paratypes are deposited at the Nevada State Museum. Three pair each of paratypes
are to be deposited at the American Museum of Natural History, Allyn Museum of
Entomology, Los Angeles County Museum and National Museum of Natural History.
The remaining paratypes are to be retained by the author.
TYPE LOCALITY. NEVADA: Lander County; Reese River Valley, Nevada State Route
722 (formerly Nevada State Route 2), 4.0 miles (north) east of Reese River, 5720', T19N,
R43E, S32 on USGS Austin, Nevada, 15' quadrangle. This is an expansive alkaline flat
dominated by Distichlis. Adults nectar on a variety of composites (Asteraceae). Oviposition
was recorded on Distichlis spicata (L.) (Poaceae) at this locality.
OTHER SPECIMENS EXAMINED. NEVADA: Lander Co.; Reese River Valley, Nv.
305, 19.0 mi. N. U. S. 50, 26 Aug. 1984, leg. G. T. Austin (11 males, 4 females). NEVADA:
Nye Co.; Big Smoky Valley, Triple T Ranch, 12 Sept. 1983, leg. G. T. Austin (30 males,
56 females); same location, 29 Aug. 1984, leg. G. T. Austin (24 males, 26 females); Big
Smoky Valley, Northumberland Mine Rd., 1.5 mi. E. Nv. 376, 29 Aug. 1984, leg. G. T.
Austin (3 males, 3 females); Monitor Valley, Potts, 10 Aug. 1983, leg. G. T. Austin (84
males, 15 females); same location, 9 July 1984, leg. G. T. Austin (2 males, 1 female); Railroad
Valley, Lockes, 10 Sept. 1983, leg. G. T. Austin (40 males, 7 females); same location, 10
July 1984, leg. G. T. Austin (1 female); Railroad Valley, Nyala Road, 11.9 mi S. jet. Current
Rd., 10 Sept. 1983, leg. G. T. Austin (43 males, 3 females); Duckwater, 10 Sept. 1983,
leg. G. T. Austin (6 males, 8 females).
OTHER RECORDS. NEVADA: Lander Co.; Reese River Valley, 23 June 1970, 6 July
1972 (DB); Reese River, 4 July 1974 (DB); Nv. 2 at Reese River, 6 Aug. 1967, 12 July
1969 (JFE, OS); 4 mi. NE Reese River on Nv. 2, 12 July 1969 (JFE, OS); west of Austin,
25 July 1973 (JWT), Reese River Valley, 10 mi. W. Austin, 5 Aug. 1977, 27 Aug. 1978,
17 Sept. 1977 (DS); Reese River crossing, Hwy. 2, 6 Aug. 1974 (JS), 4 July 1974 (OS).
NEVADA: Nye Co.; Potts, 23 Aug. 1981 (OS).
DISTRIBUTION AND PHENOLOGY. The Polites sabuleti pallida phenotype is
distributed as isolated colonies on alkaline saltgrass flats in at least parts of four valley
systems of central Nevada (Reese River, Big Smoky, Monitor, and Railroad valleys, Fig.
5) and is often abundant where found. There are probably two broods from early June
to mid September with peak numbers in late August.
ETYMOLOGY. The name of this taxon refers to its very pale orange dorsal aspect.
DIAGNOSIS AND DISCUSSION. Polites sabuletipallida is immediately recognized
by the pallid orange (appearing faded) dorsum; the general aspect of the females is nearly
whitish. Nominate P. sabuleti and P. s. genoa are brighter orange and the females have
no or less extensive (and noticable) white. The marginal areas of the wings of males are
much more heavily overscaled with pale orange on P. s. pallida than on either of these
other two taxa, and the fringes are broader and more distinct. Ventrally, P. s. pallida
resembles P. s. genoa but is paler; the postmedian pattern of the primaries tends to be
somewhat broader and more distinct (especially on females) and the postmedian band
on the secondaries of females is nearly white (versus creamy on P. s. genoa and yellow
on P. s. sabuleti). Males also resemble P. s. alkaliensis on the ventral surface but are even
paler yellow and with less contrast. Female P. s. pallida are much grayer beneath than
P. s. alkaliensis. The fringes of P. s. pallida are broader and more distinct than on any
other P. sabuleti except the next.
This is another of the pale Great Basin butterflies, its pallidness reflected in another
direction from that shown by Polites sabuleti sinemaculata (see above) being manifested
in a pallid ground color rather than by a reduction of the dark markings. Another pallid
endemic butterfly, Cercyonis oetus pallescens T. & J. Emmel, was described from the
same type locality as P. s. pallida and occurs with it also in the Big Smoky Valley. Also
occurring here is a pale Hesperia uncas W. H. Edwards allied toH. u. lasus (W. H. Edwards)
which superficially resembles P. s. pallida (in fact, I have found female specimens of P.
s. pallida mixed in series of this H. uncas).
In the southern Reese River Valley, just across the Nye County line (less than 45 km
south of the type locality of Polites sabuleti pallida), the P. sabuleti approach the phenotype
of P. s. sabuleti. Little or no suitable habitat exists for the species in the intervening area
suggesting effective isolation. This same location also produces a phenotype of Cercyonis
oetus, which is like nominate C. oetus rather than C. o. pallescens.
Still another unnamed phenotype of Polites sabuleti occurs in the eastern valleys of
Nevada. This is a very dark butterfly which I name:
Polites sabuleti nigrescens, new subspecies
MALE. Size medium (LFW= 12.3mm., [11.6-13.2mm.]) for species. Primaries short, broad
with apex rather rounded. Ground color of dorsal surface pale orange with very broad,
moderately serrated, brownish-black margins to both wings with moderate overscaling.
Poststignal patch and dark patch apical to stigma broad and distinct. Base of secondaries
broadly blackish-brown, often reducing orange on this wing to postmedian band only.
Ventral ground color orange-yellow; marginal band of primaries broad, usually extending
to posterior margin and somewhat overscaled, this area with a dark olive appearance.
Secondaries heavily overscaled with blackish giving a rather dark yellow-olive aspect;
cobweb pattern distinct and very pale yellowish, postmedian band rather narrow. Fringes
broad, pale yellow-orange. Genitalia rather distinctive, with valvae somewhat constricted
in middle, these heavily covered with whitish "hairs" (Fig. 6).
FEMALE. Size large (LFW=14.0mm., [13.2-14.8mm.) for species. Primaries short and
broad as on male. Dorsum largely black with distinct (but narrow) pale orange to whitish
postmedian and usually with some pale orange in cell of primaries and a pale orange,
sharply defined postmedian and a vague midcell spots on secondaries. On some specimens,
pattern of secondaries reduced to 3 or 4 vague postmedian spots.
Ventral ground color dull orangish, primaries with cell lightly overscaled with blackish,
an extensive black basal patch posteriorly, a narrow postmedian band and a blackish
margin overscaled with whitish (especially distally). Secondaries blackish-olive overscaled
with whitish. Cobweb pattern narrow, white and distinct. Fringes broad, white on
secondaries, pale gray on primaries.
TYPES. Holotype male NEVADA: White Pine Co.; Steptoe Valley, Warm Springs,
17 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin. Allotype female same data as holotype. Paratypes (122
males, 69 females, all NEVADA: White Pine Co.; Steptoe Valley) 91 males, 26 females,
same data as holotype; 25 males, 40 females, same location, 5 Sept. 1983, leg. G. T. Austin;
6 males, 3 females, 2.5 mi. NW McGill, 5 Sept. 1983, leg. G. T. Austin.
DEPOSITION OF TYPE MATERIAL. The holotype, allotype and 49 male and 23
female paratypes are deposited at the Nevada State Museum. Two pairs each of paratypes
are to be deposited at the American Museum of Natural History, Allyn Museum of
Entomology, Los Angeles County Museum and National Museum of Natural History.
The remaining paratypes are to be retained by the author.
TYPE LOCALITY. NEVADA: White Pine County, Steptoe Valley, Warm Springs,
5900', T21N, R63E, S25 on the USGS Monte Neva Hot Springs, Nevada, 7.5' quadrangle.
This is a flat valley bottom, often rather wet and dominated by Distichlis (Poaceae). Adults
nectar readily on yellow composites (Asteraceae).
OTHER SPECIMENS EXAMINED. NEVADA: Elko Co.; rd. to Cherry Creek, 2.5 mi.
S. Currie, 27 July 1983, leg. G. T. Austin (2 males); same location, 5 Sept. 1983, leg. G.
T. Austin (7 males, 19 females); Ruby Marshes, Ruby Valley Rd., 2.5 mi. N. NWR
headquarters, 14 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin (6 males, 3 females); Ruby Valley, 3.2 mi.
N. Ruby L. NWR headquarters, 25 June 1981, leg. G. T. Austin (1 male); Ruby Mts., Nv.
229, 0.2 mi. S. Secret Pass, 15 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin (40 males, 19 females); Thousand
Springs Creek, Winecup Ranch, 4.0 mi. E. U.S. 93, 27 Aug. 1984, leg. G. T Austin (11
males, 8 females); Thousand Springs Creek, 6.5 mi. E. U.S. 93, 7 Sept. 1983, leg. G. T.
Austin (1 male, 5 females); Thousand Springs Creek, 4.2 mi. E. U.S. 93, 7 Sept. 1983, leg.
G. T. Austin (1 male, 2 female). NEVADA: Eureka Co.; U.S. 50, 7.5 mi. W. Nv. 278, 28
Aug. 1984, leg. G. T. Austin (5 males, 5 females); same location, 8 Sept. 1983, leg. G.
T. Austin (1 female); U. S. 50, 13.0 mi. E. Lander Co. line, 28 Aug. 1984, leg. G. T. Austin
(7 males, 18 females). NEVADA: Lincoln Co.; Lake Valley, U.S. 93, Geysers Ranch, 4
Sept. 1983, leg. G. T. Austin (26 males, 2 females); same location, 22 Aug. 1984, leg. G.
T. Austin (6 males). NEVADA: Nye Co.; White River Valley, Sunnyside, 12 Aug. 1983,
leg. G. T. Austin (1 male, 2 females); same location, 15 July 1984, leg. G. T. Austin (5
males, 9 females). NEVADA: White Pine Co.; Spring Valley, Minerva, 4 Sept. 1983, leg.
G. T. Austin (4 males, 6 female); Spring Valley, Shoshone Ponds, 4 Sept. 1983, leg. G.
T. Austin (2 males, 2 females); Ruby Marshes, Ruby Valley Rd., 3.8 mi. S. Elko Co. line,
14 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin (13 males, 17 females); Ruby Marshes, Ruby Valley Rd.,
0.8 mi. S. Elko Co. line, 14 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin (16 males, 13 females); Ruby
Marshes, Ruby Valley Rd. 2.7 mi. S. Elko Co. line, 14 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin (1
female); Newark Valley, Nv. 892, 20 mi. N. U. S. 50. 20 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin (2
males); Newark Valley, Nv. 892, 30.9 mi. N. U. S. 50, 20 Aug. 1981, leg. G. T. Austin
(4 males, 1 female).
OTHER RECORDS. NEVADA: White Pine Co.; Ruby Lakes near Shantytown, 7 Aug.
1978 (JWT): Ruby Lake, 28 Aug. 1978 (DS).
DISTRIBUTION AND PHENOLOGY. At present, Polites sabuleti nigrescens is known
only from the eastern part of Nevada (Fig. 5). It extends westward into western Eureka
County north of populations of P. s. pallida and south of the P. s. sabuleti-like phenotype
in the Humboldt River valley from extreme east central Elko County (Thousand Springs
Creek) to northern Lincoln County (Lake Valley) and northeastern Nye County. It flies
mostly in lowland wet areas near springs. These localities are usually noticeably more
lush and less alkaline than the habitat of P. s. pallida. There is one large brood peaking
in mid August with records from late June through early September suggesting a small
ETYMOLOGY. Polites sabuleti nigrescens is named after its distinctly black aspect,
the darkest of all known phenotypes of the species.
DIAGNOSIS AND DISCUSSION. Polites sabuleti nigrescens is a very dark P. sabuleti
with noticably short and rounded primaries. The dorsal orange of the male is a shade
darker than on P. s. pallida and appears to have a grayish cast, a distinctive aspect not
seen on any other P. sabuleti examined. The dorsal pale areas of both sexes, but especially
of the female, are subordinate to the blackish areas. The marginal dark areas of the
primaries on the male are much more extensive than on any other P. sabuleti phenotype.
Similarly, the dark areas of the secondaries largely cover the wing and thus there is little
basal extension of orange. Females are very dark with almost no orange in the cell of
the primaries and the dorsal pattern of the secondaries is reduced to a postmedian band.
Ventrally, this phenotype is similar to P. s. pallida but is much darker with more extensive
dark areas leading to reduced postmedian markings and a higher contrast. Males of P.
s. pallida appear pale and yellow ventrally; males of P. s. nigrescens appear dark and olive.
Specimens from the type locality exhibit the extreme in darkness for the subspecies.
Material from peripheral populations, while noticeably blacker than any other P. sabuleti,
tends to be paler than topotypes, with an increased amount of orange above, especially
At Sunnyside, the phenotype is closest to Polites sabuleti nigrescens but shows a slight
tendency towards P. s. pallida characteristics. The Railroad Valley and Duckwater
populations of P. s. pallida show a slight tendency towards P. s. nigrescens. A population
of P. sabuleti with a phenotype similar to the nominate subspecies (see above) occurs in
the midst of this area of intergradation at 2.0 miles east of Currant, Nye County. This
is less than 25 km east of a P. s. pallida population in Railroad Valley and at a slightly
higher elevation. I have only a series of males from here as yet but they show no
intergradation towards P. s. pallida or P. s. nigrescens.
Oviposition was recorded to be on Distichlis spicata (L.) (Poaceae) in Eureka County
and on Agropyron dasystachyum (Hook.) Vasey (Poaceae) in Nye County.
Polites sabuleti chusca (W. H. Edwards)
Edwards (1873 described Hesperia chusca from a male taken by the Wheeler Expedition
in Arizona. Brown and Miller (1980) reasonably restricted the type locality to Mohave
County, Arizona, probably in the vicinity of Truxton Springs. It is a seasonally variable
taxon. The following is based on Clark County, Nevada material. Males are medium-sized
(LFW= 12.3mm., [11.8-13.0mm]) Polites sabuleti. The dorsum is more yellow-orange than
the orange of the nominate subspecies. The distinct, dark brown margins are narrower
and more deeply serrated than on P. s. sabuleti. Similarly, the amount of basal, costal
and anal black on the secondaries is reduced. The brown of the outer margins is very
narrow on many mid summer (and occasionally fall) specimens. Ventrally, the primaries
are yellow-orange (deepest in the cell). Most specimens have heavily overscaled dark
margins which appear faint and yellow-olive. These may be considerably darker on some
fall and spring specimens. The ventral hindwing varies from olive-brown (occasional fall
specimens) to nearly completely yellow (especially in mid summer). The cobweb pattern
is of a broad postmedian band, basal blotches and veins, all yellow. On mid summer
specimens, this is lost in the ground color and barely discernable. The dark basal marks
are present but are usually faint. The fringes are pale yellow-orange. The genitalia are
similar to those of nominate P. sabuleti (Fig. 6).
Females are large (LFW= 14.0mm., [13.2-14.9mm.]) and similar in dorsal color to males.
The amount of black is similarly reduced in extent and the margins are deeply serrated.
Mid summer specimens have narrow to nearly obsolete margins and the wedge-shaped
discal marks are likewise nearly obsolete. The ventral surface is similar to that of the
male but slightly more contrasting, especially in the fall. The fringes are pale gray on
the secondaries and slightly darker on the primaries.
The original description of Polites sabuleti chusca called for a pale ("yellow fulvous")
insect with "narrow fuscous serrated border" and with the ventral "secondaries rather
ochraceous, immaculate". The holotype male is indeed the summer (long-day?) form with
no discernable ventral pattern on the secondaries. Polites sabuleti comstocki described
from southern California (Gunder 1925) is synonymous. The types were taken in early
October. The male [holo]type is relatively unmarked beneath; the female [allo]type has
the typical fall pattern described above. Nevada specimens are from the Colorado River
drainage (Moapa, Las Vegas and Virgin valleys) in Clark County and probably samples
small) from Pahranagat and Spring valleys in Lincoln County. Material from Pahrump
Valley in Nye County is also P. s. chusca (Fig. 5). Clark County populations are at least
three-brooded with records from April to early November. It occurs in lowland habitats,
especially agricultural areas, where adults nectar commonly on Medicago (Fabaceae) and
various composites (Asteraceae).
Polites sabuleti chusca is nearly restricted to the Colorado River drainage from
southwestern Utah, western Arizona, southern Nevada and southeastern California.
The complexity of Polites sabuleti is just beginning to be appreciated, and the data
presented herein give such an indication based on extensive material from Nevada alone.
The species is obviously phenotypically plastic, responding, apparently, to various
environmental selective factors rather rapidly. Present day habitats did not begin
appearing in the Great Basin until some 12000 years before present (Wells 1983), and
the isolation of the various lowland (and montane) wet areas is even more recent. These
factors have been correlated with fish distributions (e. g., Hubbs and Miller 1948, Hubbs
et al 1974) but await more baseline data and subsequent interpretation among the
butterflies. It seems probable from what is now known that there was more than one
invasion of the Great Basin by several species of butterflies and from different sources
(e. g., Grey and Moeck 1962, Austin 1983). This may explain, for example, the seemingly
anomalous pockets of P. s. sabuleti-like phenotypes within the distributions of other
phenotypes of the species.
I thank the many people who have supplied me with Nevada records of Polites sabuleti:
R. Albright, D. Bauer (DB), J. F. Emmel (JFE), R. L. Langston, C. S. Lawson, S. 0.
Mattoon, K. Roever, F. Ryser, P. J. and S. Savage, J. Scott (JS), O. E. Sette, O. Shields
(OS), D. Shillingburg (DS), G. B. Straley and J. W. Tilden (JWT). Appreciation is expressed
to the curators of several collections for making these available for study: L. D. and J.
Y. Miller, Allyn Museum of Entomology, Sarasota, Florida (AME); F. H. Rindge, American
Museum of Natural History, New York (AMNH); C. W. Young, Carnegie Museum of
Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (CM); J. P. Donahue, Los Angeles County
Museum, Los Angeles, California (LACM), J. Burns, R. K. Robbins and J. F. G. Clarke,
National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D. C. (USNM) and G. Harjes, Nevada
State Museum, Carson City, Nevada (NSM). I also thank A. T. Austin, P. Leary and A.
Pinzl for determinations of possible hostplants.
Austin, G. T. 1983. A new subspecies of Speyeria atlantis (Edwards) (Nymphalidae) from
the Great Basin of Nevada. J. Lepid. Soc. 37: 244-248.
-----.----. 1985. Nevada butterflies: preliminary checklist and distribution. J. Lepid. Soc.
------- and D. D. Murphy. 1987. Zoogeography of Great Basin butterflies: patterns of
distribution and speciation. Great Basin Nat., in press.
Boisduval, J. A. B. D. 1852. L6pidopteres de la Californie. Ann. Soc. Ent. France (ser.
2) 10: 275-324.
Brown, F. M. and L. D. Miller. 1980. The types of hesperiid butterflies named by W. H.
Edwards. Part II, Hesperiidae: Hesperiinae, section II. Trans. Am. Ent. Soc. 106: 43-88.
Dornfeld, E. J. 1980. The butterflies of Oregon. Timber Press, Forest Grove, OR.
Edwards, W. H. 1873. Descriptions of diurnal L6pidoptera found within the United States.
Trans. Am. Ent. Soc. 4: 343-348.
Grey, L. P. and A. H. Moeck. 1962. Notes on overlapping subspecies. I. An example in
Speyeria zerene. J. Lepid. Soc. 16: 81-97.
Grinnell, F., Jr. 1903. Three undescribed L6pidopt6ra from southern California. Ent. News
Gunder, J. D. 1925. Several new varieties of and aberrant L6pidoptBra (Rhopalocera) from
California. Ent. News 36: 1-9.
Hubbs, C. L. and R. R. Miller. 1948. The zoological evidence: correlation between fish
distribution and hydrographic history in the desert basins of western United States.
Bull. Univ. Utah 38: 17-166.
-----------, R. R. Miller and L. C. Hubbs. 1974. Hydrographic history and relict fishes of
the north-central Great Basin. Mem. Calif. Acad. Sci. 7: 1-159.
McGuire, W. W. 1982. New oviposition and larval hostplant records for North American
Hesperia (Rhopalocera: Hesperiidae). Bull. Allyn Mus., no. 72.
Miller, L. D. and F. M. Brown. 1981. A catalogue/checklist of the butterflies of America
north of Mexico. Lepid. Soc. Mem., no. 2.
------- and C. D. MacNeill. 1969. Reports of the Margaret M. Carey-Carnegie Museum
Expedition to Baja California, Mexico. 1961. 5. Two new subspecies of Hesperiidae
from the Cape region, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Ann. Carnegie Mus. 41: 19-24.
Oberthiir, C. 1913. LepidoptBres de la Californie. Decrits par Boisduval en 1852 et en
1869. Etudes de L6pidopterologie Comparee, fasc. 9(1): 37-44.
Pl1tz, C. 1883. Die Hesperiinen Gattung Hesperia Aut. und ihre Arten. Stett. Ent.
Ztg. 44: 195-233.
Scott, J. 1981. New Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea from North America. Papilio (new
series), no. 1.
Shapiro, A. M. 1974a. The butterfly fauna of the Sacramento Valley, California. J. Res.
Lepid. 13: 73-82, 115-122, 137-14B.
------. 1974b. Butterflies of the Suisan Marsh, California. J. Res. Lepid. 13: 191-206.
-------. 1975. Genetics, environment and subspecies differences: the case of Polites sabuleti
(Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Great Basin Nat. 35: 33-38.
-----. 1977. The alpine butterflies of Castle Peak, Nevada County, California. Great
Basin Nat. 37: 443-452.
-----, C. A. Palm and K. L. Wcislo. 1979. The ecology and biogeography of the butterflies
of the Trinity Alps and Mount Eddy, northern California. J. Res. Lepid. 18: 69-152.
Wells, P. V. 1983. Paleobiogeography of the montane islands of the Great Basin since
the last glaciopluvial. Ecol. Monogr. 53: 341-382.
Wright, W. G. 1905. The butterflies of the west coast of the United States. Publ. by the
author, San Francisco, CA.
, 'j 4A
Figure la. Polites sabuleti sabuleti (dorsal surface, all leg. G. T. Austin). Left row, top
- male, CA: Plumas Co.; Greenhorn Creek, Ca. 70, E of Quincy, 30 June 1985; second
- female, same data; third NV: Nye Co.; Hot Creek Range, Hot Creek, 11 Sept. 1983;
bottom female, same data. Second row, top male. NV: Churchill Co.; Stillwater
National Wildlife Refuge, Loop Road, 28 Aug. 1981; second female, same location, 11
June 1982; third male, NE Elko Co.; Elko, 12th Street at Humboldt River, 8 July 1980;
bottom, female, same location, 4 Aug. 1980. Third row, top male NV: Nye Co.; U.S.
95, 0.5 mi. S Springdale, 8 Sept. 1981; second female, same location, 17 Sept. 1983;
third male, NV: Humboldt Co.; Kings River Valley, 11.5 mi. N. Kings River, 24 Aug.
1984; bottom female, NV: Humboldt Co.; Quinn River Valley, 2.4 mi. S. McDermitt,
24 Aug. 1984. Right row, top male, NV: Esmeralda Co.; E. base White Mts., Sand
Spring, 24 Aug. 1983; second female, same data; third male, NV: Eureka/Lander
Co. line; Beowawe Geysers, 26 Aug. 1984; bottom female, same data.
Figure lb. Same specimens as Fig. la (ventral surface).
Figure 2a. Polites sabuleti subspecies (dorsal surface, all leg. G. T. Austin). Left row,
top P. s. genoa, male, NV: Douglas Co.; Carson Valley, Nv. 205, 0.5 mi. W Nv. 88,
1 Sept. 1981; bottom P. s. genoa, female, NV: Douglas Co.; Carson Valley, Scossa Ranch,
23 Aug. 1981. Second row, top P. s. genoa male, same data as top left; bottom P.
s. genoa female, same data as bottom left. Third row, top P. s. chusca male (summer
phenotype), NV: Clark Co.; Las Vegas Valley, Mormon Farm, 4 July 1984; bottom -
P. s. chusca female (summer phenotype), same data. Fourth row, top P. s. chusca male
(fall phenotype), same location, 9 Sept. 1981; bottom P. s. chusca female (fall phenotype),
same location, 21 Sept. 1985. Right row, top P. s. tecumseh male, NV: Washoe Co.;
Nv. 431, 2.4 mi. W. Mt. Rose Summit, 25 July 1980; bottom P. s. tecumseh female,
same location. 21 July 1980.
S/, *' "
Figure 2b. Polites sabuleti subspecies (same specimens as Fig. 2a., ventral surface).
Figure 3a. Polites sabuleti subspecies (dorsal surface, all leg. G. T. Austin). Top
left P. s. sinemaculata holotype male, NV: Humboldt Co.; Nv. 140, 6.0 mi. W Denio
Junction, 25 Aug. 1984; top right P. s. sinemaculata allotype female, same data. Second
left P. s. albamontana holotype male, NV: Esmeralda Co.; White Mts., Trail Canyon,
8600', 24 July 1980; second right P. s. albamontana allotype female, NV: Esmeralda
Co.; White Mts., high ridge above Trail Canyon, 11,600-11,800', 21 July 1981. Third left
- P. s. alkaliensis holotype male, NV: Washoe Co.; Granite Mts., Nv. 8A, 1.3 mi. W.
Nv. 34, 8 Aug. 1981; third right P. s. alkaliensis allotype female, same data. Fourth
left P. s. nigrescens holotype male, NV: White Pine Co.; Steptoe Valley, Warm Springs,
17 Aug. 1981; fourth right P. s. nigrescens allotype female, same data. Bottom left
- P. s. pallida holotype male, NV: Lander Co.; Reese River Valley, Nv. 722, 4.0 mi. E
Reese River, 22 Aug. 1981; bottom right P. s. pallida allotype female, same data.
Figure 3b. Polites sabuleti subspecies (same species as in Fig. 3a, ventral surface).
Figure 4a. Polites sabuleti subspecies (dorsal surface, all leg. G. T. Austin). P. s.
nigrescens: left row, top paratype male, NV: White Pine Co.; Steptoe Valley, Warm
Springs, 17 Aug. 1981; left row, second paratype female, same location, 5 Sept. 1983;
second row, top male, NV: Eureka Co.; U.S. 50, 13.0 mi. E Lander Co. line, 28 Aug.
1984; second row, second female, same data; third row, top male, NV: Elko Co.;
Ruby Mts., 0.2 mi. S Secret Pass, 15 Aug. 1981; third row, second female, same data;
right row, top male, NV: Lincoln Co.; Lake Valley, U.S. 93, Geysers Ranch, 4 Sept.
1983; right row, second female, same data. P. s. nigrescens: left row, third paratype
male, NV: Lander Co; Reese River Valley, U.S. 50 at Reese River, 22 Aug. 1981; left row,
bottom paratype female, NV: Lander Co.; Reese River Valley, Nv. 722, 4.0 mi. E Reese
River, 22 Aug. 1981; second row, third male, NV: Nye Co.; Big Smoky Valley, Triple
T Ranch, 29 Aug. 1984; second row, bottom female, same data; third row, third -
male, NV: Nye Co.; Monitor Valley, Potts, 10 Aug. 1983; third row, bottom female,
same data; right row, third male, NV: Nye Co.; Railroad Valley, Lockes, 10 Sept. 1983;
right row, bottom female, same data.
Figure 4b. Polites sabuleti subspecies (same specimens as in Fig. 4a. ventral surface).
R s. sobuleti
P s. chusco
P s. nigrescens
R s. pa//ida
P. s. olkaliensis
P s. a/bamontana
R s. sinemoculola
Figure 5. Distribution of Polites sabuleti in Nevada.
Figure 6. Genitalia of male Polites sabuleti (outer view of right valve and lower portion
of vinculum including saccus). 1. P. s. sabuleti CA: Plumas Co. 2. P. s. chusca NV:
Clark Co. 3. P. s. tecumseh NV: Washoe Co. 4. P. s. genoa NV: Douglas Co. (topotype)
5. P. s. pallida NV: Lander Co. (paratype) 6. P. s. albamontana NV: Esmeralda Co.
(paratype) 7. P. s. sinemaculata NV: Humboldt Co. (paratype) 8. P. s. nigrescens -
NV: White Pine Co. (paratype) 9. P. s. alkaliensis NV: Washoe Co. (paratype)
TABLE 1. Comparisons of Polites sabuleli subspecies in Nevada
TAXON SIZE COLOR WIDTH SERRATION OVERSCALING COLOR CONTRAST COLOR WIDTH
sabuleti medium orange medium medium
genoa small pale orange medium medium
alkaliensis medium pale orange medium strong
tecumseh very deep orange broad weak
albamonlana medium deep orange broad weak
sinemaculata large golden-orange absent to strong
pallida medium whitish-orange narrow strong
nigrescens medium pale orange very medium
chusca medium orange narrow to strong
sabuleti large orange medium medium
genoa medium pale-orange broad medium
alkaliensis medium orange to medium medium to
pale orange strong
tecumseh very orange broad weak to
albamontana large orange to medium medium
sinemaculata large pale orange narrow to strong
to whitish medium
pallida large pale orange medium strong
nigrescens large pale orange very broad weak
chusca large orange narrow to medium to
to medium strong
orangish moderate yellow medium to
yellowish moderate pale yellow medium
yellowish weak pale yellow narrow to
olivish strong yellow medium to
olivish strong pale yellow medium
yellow very weak pale yellow medium
yellowish weak pale yellow narrow to
olivish strong whitish narrow to
yellowish none to yellow medium to
to olivish moderate broad
olivish moderate pale yellow broad
olivish moderate whitish narrow
olivish- weak to pale yellow narrow
yellow moderate to whitish
olivish strong pale yellow harrow to
dark olivish strong whitish medium
pale olivish weak to whitish broad
gray weak to white medium to
dark gray moderate to white narrow to
light yellow- weak to yellow broad
This public document was promulgated at a cost of $1,456.00 or $2.08 per copy.
It makes available to libraries, scholars and all interested persons the results of
researches in Entomology.