Tangmere, United Kingdom
Tangmere, United Kingdom
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Russell P.,Odkmeadow | Pateman J.,Iona | Verovnik R.,University of Ljubljana
Entomologist's Gazette | Year: 2014

Egg batches obtained from females, sampled from populations of Melitaea ornata-like butterflies in south-western Slovenia in 2011 and 2012, were reared under 'laboratory' conditions in the U.K. Most unusually, heavy mortality of ova, larvae, pupae and imagines was observed and very few healthy butterflies resulted from the female captured in 2011. It is suggested that this female was M. ornata but had been fertilised by a male M. phoebe from a nearby population, producing very few hybrid offspring. The rearings from the two females taken in 2012 produced adults from larvae with red-brown heads and thus were confirmed as M. ornata; this is the first confirmed record of this species from Slovenia. The results of examination of the male genitalia of reared (i.e. known from head colour) M. phoebe and M. ornata are presented together with some wild-caught examples; these are compared with the individual's wing morphology and larval head colour. Comments are made on the lack of recognition of M. ornata in some recent publications and stressing the doubtfulness of separating this species from M. phoebe using only characters of wing morphology. The continued confusion between these two species and with M. punka by recent authors is exemplified.

Russell P.,Oakmeadow | Pateman J.,Iona
Entomologist's Gazette | Year: 2016

Further records of Melitaea ornata from the Republic of Macedonia are provided, supported by observations of L4 and later stage larvae having red-brown heads, which separates this species from M. phoebe, the larvae of which have black heads in every instar. Centaurea grisebachii is reported for the first time as a larval host-plant for M. ornata.

Russell S.,Oakmeadow | Pateman J.,Iona
Entomologist's Gazette | Year: 2012

The presence of Melitaea telona Fruhstorfer, 1908, is confirmed from Muǧla (south-west Turkey), from an examination of reared larvae resulting from ova laid by a captured female; the colour of the larvae indicated that this species is not conspecific with the taxon punica. In captivity, the M. telona larvae would not accept any of the species of Centaurea, which were utilised by those from Italian and/or Greek larvae from the Peloponnese, but accepted Cirsium vulgare, a known host-plant of M. phoebe in Europe. The highly likely host-plant in SW. Turkey is identified as Carduus nutans. Larvae and adult butterflies of M. telona from Muǧla and their host-plant are figured in colour. Comments are made on the voltinism, ecology and distribution of M. telona.

This fourth part of an investigation into Melitaea telona Fruhstorfer has confirmed that larvae with both black and red tubercles can result from an egg batch oviposited from a single Greek female. The presence of this species, from an examination of reared larvae, has been confirmed from three sites in southern peninsular Italy. In captivity, Italian larvae were found to be highly oligophagous, even feeding on Centaurea diluta Aiton, an invasive species from North Africa, recorded here for the first time from the Calabrian littoral. A known host-plant, Centaurea bracteata (Scop.), and a number of potential host-plants growing in the vicinity of the Italian populations of M. telona, have been identified and are figured. The distribution of M. telona is revised, both from the results of the present study and reports from other entomologists. Melitaea telona from three sites in southern peninsular Italy are figured in colour.

Following poor spring weather during the previous visit to Chios in 2011, the island was visited in early May 2012 to search again for Melitaea phoebe-like butterflies. The warm spring had resulted in their early emergence and they were becoming very worn; however, many batches of ova were located on the undersides of the leaves of Centaurea urvillei at four different locations around the island. It was noted that females showed a preference for partially shaded plants for oviposition. The resulting L4 larvae all had red-brown heads and were thus M. ornata as opposed to M. phoebe. The eight egg batches were reared through, producing adults mainly following an eight-month diapause in the spring of 2113. However, one batch of young larvae that had been left out in heavy rain continued feeding and pupated without entering diapause, adults emerging in the summer of 2012. It is tentatively concluded that only M. ornata (= M. telona) and not M. phoebe occurs on Chios and the only host-plant being utilised is Centaurea urvillei.

Following the separation of European Melitaea phoebe into two sibling species, M. phoebe and M. ornata. (= telona; = ogygia; = emipunica), the many subspecies, races and forms of M. phoebe described by many different authors need to be assigned to their correct species. One such named race is nigrogygia, described and illustrated by Verity from Istria, Croatia; these illustrations are compared with the M. phoebe-like butterflies presently occurring only a short distance from its type locality. To establish the larval head colour, the only 100 percent reliable method of specific determination, egg batches were obtained from two females, sampled from this population in 2011, and reared under 'laboratory' conditions in the U.K. It was noted that many of the resulting larvae, all of which had black heads, were weak and some were intermediate between those of the type form of phoebe (with a white lateral stripe) and those of the south-western form occitanica (with an orange lateral stripe), suggesting that this population represented a mixture of these two fairly distinct forms of M. phoebe. Similar larval coloration and wing patterns of specimens of M. phoebe from a French population are demonstrated, indicating that there may be a transitional zone showing variability both in larval colour and adult wing pattern in locations where the distributions of the type form and the form occitanica of M. phoebe meet. It is concluded that race nigrogygia should most probably be placed as a form or race of M. phoebe rather than of M. ornata.

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