East Wittering, United Kingdom


East Wittering, United Kingdom
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Tennent W.J.,Natural History Museum in London | Russell P.J.C.,Oakmeadow
Entomologist's Gazette | Year: 2010

Following recent recognition that a previously unrecognised Melitaea species M. telona Fruhstorfer, 1908 - is present in Europe, adults of which can at present be distinguished only with difficulty from Melitaea phoebe ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775), a question of formal recognition of the nominal taxon Papiliophoebe [Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775, is addressed.The collection of Ignaz Schiffermüller was deposited in the collections of the then Kaiserliches Naturalienkabinet (now Naturhistorisches Museum), Vienna, where it was completely destroyed by fire in 1848. No known syntypic material of Papilio phoebe is extant; in order to maintain stability, and to avoid potential future confusion of Melitaea phoebe with M. telona, a neotype is designated for Papilio phoebe [Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775. The type locality of M. phoebe is environs of Vienna, Austria, where the species has been uncommon and sporadic in appearance. The neotype was reared from a gravid female collected in Vienna and is illustrated together with the larva and pupa of this specimen. Also illustrated are water-colours of M. phoebe larva and pupa that were prepared, but not published, by Schiffermüller and now in the Natural History Museum (BMNH), London. Papilionoidea, Nymphalidae, Denis & Schiffermüller, Melitaea phoebe, neotype designation, Melitaea telona.

A short visit to a small area in the coastal hills of Montenegro was made in May 2013, where 48 species of butterflies were recorded; of these seven are considered to be vulnerable, endangered or threatened. Among the species recorded was a Melitaea phoebe-like butterfly that was later shown from antennal shape, wing morphology and male genitalia to be M. ornata, the first record of this species for Montenegro. Because of the apparent lack of recent records of Papilionoidea from Montenegro, a species list is provided. © 2015, Pemberley Books Publishing. All rights reserved.

Visits to Pilsey Island, Chichester Harbour, West Sussex, were undertaken in August 2013 to determine if the population of Hipparchia semele L. was still extant on the island. Unfortunately, despite apparently suitable habitat, it appears to have been lost since the author's previous visit to the island in 1974. This mirrors the general decline of this species in West Sussex over the past 50 years.

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.

Russell P.,Oakmeadow | Pamperis L.N.,P.O. Box 1220
Entomologist's Gazette | Year: 2011

Resulting from the recent separation of Melitaea telona from M. phoebe, an assessment of the presence or absence of these two species in the Aegean islands is presented, based on a re-examination of previous records and personal observations by the authors. Some elements of morphology, which could provide characters to assist in the separation of the two species, are reviewed. Carduus nutans, a previously unrecorded host-plant for M. telona is identified and figured. The recorded distributions in the Aegean islands of this and other known host-plants of M. telona in Greece are used as indicators of its presence in or absence from various Aegean islands. A Cotesia sp., which emerged from a wild caught larva of M. telona taken on Lésvos, is reported.

Recent studies on Melitaea species, under the names ornata and telona, by Russian researchers have been published mainly in Russian journals and have consequently been largely overlooked by western Europeans working on these and related Melitaea phoebe group taxa. The intention of this article is to bring recent Russian studies to the attention of western European lepidopterists. Studies, particularly by G.K. in Volgograd Province (south-eastern European Russia), have revealed that certain aspects of wing morphology, genitalia and early stages of M. omata are similar to those of M. telona (= ogygia = emipunica) but dissimilar to those of M. phoebe. The known distribution of the taxon ornata in Russia is outlined and its known hostplants named and figured. It is here considered that Melitaea ornata is the correct name for the species recently known as M. telona.

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.

A number of cross-pairings between Maniola jurtina and other Nymphalid butterflies are referenced. Reports of pairings by M. jurtina with nine other species have been suggested; of these, seven have been verified photographically and these are either referenced or figured here. This promiscuity would appear from the literature to be unsurpassed by any other species. The fact that pheromones are utilised by males to encourage females to submit to copulation suggests the possibility that the chemical utilised, or the profusion in which it is produced, by M. jurtina may be capable of influencing not only its own females but also those of other quite distantly related species.

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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