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The Canadian Entomologist, Vol. XII., No. 2, February 1880

The Canadian Entomologist, Vol. XII., No. 2, February 1880
Author: Various
Title: The Canadian Entomologist, Vol. XII., No. 2, February 1880
Release Date: 2018-10-30
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Canadian Entomologist.




1. Nephele.—Kirby, Faun. Bor. Amer., 1837, described this speciesas follows: “Wings brown; primaries both above and below with a palersubmarginal broad band including two eyelets; the upper ones surroundedby a paler atmosphere, with a black iris and white pupil; on the underside the atmosphere of the eyelets is most distinct and forms a kind ofglory round them,” etc. Nothing is said of the sex, but apparently this isthe description of a female. The wings of the male are blackish-brown,usually of uniform shade throughout—that is, in the typical male, correspondingto the female of Kirby. But there is a frequent departure fromthis type in the direction of Alope, the “pale atmosphere” about theocelli appearing in the male, and in both sexes gradually widening andbecoming less obscure till it culminates in a clear yellow band. Whenthis is reached we have Alope, Fabr. So that Nephele intergrades completelywith Alope. But this is not everywhere and always. Themetropolis of the typical Nephele is in Canada and northern New England,that of Alope in the States south of New York. There is a line runningabout with the southern boundary of New York, or it may be, in Pennsylvania,below which Alope holds sole possession, and no tendency isdiscoverable towards Nephele. In the extreme northern area, if there isany departure from typical Nephele, it is the exception, not the rule.

Mr. Scudder, in his essay on The Distribution of Insects in NewHampshire, 1874, says of Alope: “This insect is tolerably abundant,sometimes very common, in the southern half of New England. Themost northern localities … are Norway, Me., Thornton andShelburne, N. H., and Sudbury, Vt.” Thornton is just south of theWhite Mountains, and Shelburne is close by the mountains on the north-east.Of Nephele he says: “It is found over the whole northern half ofN. E. in great abundance. The only locality in which I have met with itis in Massachusetts, in the elevated region about Williamstown,” &c.[22]This place is in the north-west corner of the State, next the Vermont line,and the elevated region spoken of is a continuation of the Green Mountains.So it appears that Nephele comes down to the Massachusetts lineand Alope flies as far as the White Mountains. In the intervening districtthe intergrades fly just as in New York.

I made application to Canadian lepidopterists for information aboutthe occurrence of Alope, and soon ascertained by examples sent me thatNephele with a pale atmosphere, but not at all indicative of a band, passedby the name of Alope. Thereupon I sent a typical Alope to Mr. WilliamMurray, of Hamilton, who kindly offered to make inquiry of his acquaintancesin different sections of Ontario. He replies, 31st Dec, 1879: “Inow send you my information. Of all my correspondents not one hasever seen an Alope that has been taken in Canada, but Nephele has beentaken by all. I begin to think that Alope is not to be found in Canadaat any point.”

Mr. H. H. Lyman writes from Montreal: “In July, 1876, I spent acouple of days at a farm near Freligsburg. P. Q., one mile north of theVermont border, and found Nephele very common. Most of the specimenstaken showed a yellow ring about the eye-spots on primaries, but oneof them shows on upper side a somewhat faint, but quite discernible,patch corresponding to the yellow band of Alope. Was at same place in1877. Alope was not seen either year.” Mr. Caulfield writes Mr. Lyman:“I have never taken a specimen of Nephele showing any tendency towardsAlope, nor have I seen any Canadian examples showing it.” Mr. Lymanadds that at Portland, Maine, where he collected several summers, Alopewas common as well as Nephele and all intergrades.

(To the west of New York, in the latitude of the belt spoken of, it isbelieved that the two forms fly together at least as far as Wisconsin.Prof. A. J. Cook writes that both are common in Michigan, south of thelatitude of Grand Rapids. At Toledo, Mr. John Wilson writes that Nepheleis rare, and Alope unknown, so far as appears. At Cleveland, O.,Dr. J. F. Isom informs me that Alope is very rare, but that Nephele isabundant in some seasons. In south-west Ohio, Dr. H. K. Landis, ofColumbus, writes that he cannot learn that either form has ever beentaken. They are not mentioned in Mr. Dury’s list of butterflies foundabout Cincinnati. But in northern Illinois Nephele is abundant andAlope not found at all. So that somewhere between New York and Illinois,in Ohio and Indiana, Alope seems to disappear, while Nephele becomes[23]the sole form; but whether the separation is abrupt or gradual isnot ascertained. As the information which I have been able to gather isso meagre as regards the States west of New York. I shall confine myremarks to that State and New England.[1])

We have therefore in these separated districts two apparently goodspecies, answering to any definition of that name. But between, thereis a belt of latitude passing through New York and southern New England,where in one section or other both types are found and the wholeseries of intergrades. In this belt Alope and Nephele are found to bedimorphic forms of one and the same species. I formerly was of theopinion that they were distinct species, though in some districts therewere intergrades. I thought these approaches of one to the other didnot bridge the whole space between. In a paper printed in Proc. Ent.Soc. Phil, 1866, I gave my reasons therefor. But some observationsmade in July, 1876, at Martha’s Vineyard, led me to suspect a closerrelationship between the two species or forms. In the open country backof Oak Bluffs, I found these butterflies fresh from chrysalis, and in considerablenumbers. They were all very black, diminutive, and there wasevery grade from what I had been in the habit of calling Nephele to unquestionableAlope, with a broad clear-colored band. The band was notyellow, however, as in the typical Alope, but reddish-yellow like that ofPegala, which Fabricius called rufa in distinction from flava, applied toAlope. Mr. Scudder took the same small reddish-banded form on Nantucket,which island is about 30 miles from the mainland, Martha’s Vineyardbeing about 7. I call this variety Maritima, but whether it isrestricted to the islands, or appears on the adjacent coast, I am not yetadvised. Mr. Mead obtained for me a large number of eggs of thisbutterfly, while at the Bluffs shortly after my departure. They were laidby the broad-banded females in confinement and mailed to Coalburgh.There the larvæ hatched out, and these as well as the eggs were found tobe precisely like the same stages of Nephele from Catskills. But none ofthe larvæ survived the winter.


In the belt spoken of, Nephele rather keeps to the highlands. It isthe prevailing form in the Catskills, if with it are classed the intergrades,but full-banded Alope may be taken in small numbers every season. Alongthe Hudson River, Alope is the common form, but I have received intergradesvery near to Nephele from Mr. Hulst, taken at Hoboken, N. J.; anda black Nephele ♂ from Mr. H. Laitloff, which he writes me was takensome five years since near Greenville, Jersey City. It was so unusual aform that Mr. Laitloff sent it to me for name. At Coalburgh, W. Va.,Nephele is never seen, but Alope is the only form; and so on southward.

2.—Alope was described by Fabricius, Ent. Syst., 1793, as fuscous(fusca) with a yellow (flava) band; with two ocelli on fore wings; onhind wing one ocellus above, six below. The band is very broad in thefemale, usually narrower in the male, pale yellow in both sexes. Theocelli resemble those of Nephele and vary in same manner. Usually theyare round, but sometimes oval; are either small or large, often equal, butsometimes the upper is larger, at others the lower. Now and then a thirdpupilled ocellus appears, and individuals have been taken with but oneocellus (the upper). It is not very unusual to find examples in which ablack point, or what may be considered as a rudimentary ocellus, presentsitself. On the upper side of hind wing is often a small but completeocellus near inner angle, but in many cases it is partly or wholly wanting;and occasionally there are one or two black spots in addition. The malesin the majority of examples have six small ocelli on the under side of thehind wings; the females rarely have six, and often none at all. At thenorth, Alope is blackish-brown, more brown in the female; but to thesouthward brown prevails in both sexes; and it is of a lighter shade, whilethe under side has a tint of yellow more or less decided over whole surface,often mixed with gray. The band is of yellow, or with a slightochrey tint. This is a description of the extreme southern type, and todistinguish I call it var. Texana. All examples from Texas which I haveseen have a complete anal ocellus, and six ocelli beneath, of pretty largesize—larger than in northern Alope—in distinct ochrey rings; the pupilswhite points with a few blue scales about them in the larger ocelli. Of 70Nephele ♂ examined, 50 have 6 ocelli, 11 have 5, 3 have 4, 3 have 3, 2have 1, 1 has 0.

Of 55 Nephele ♀, 6 have 6, 1 has 5, 4 have 4, 13 have 3, 7 have 2, 13have 1, 11 have 0.

Of 24 Alope ♂, 15 have 6 ocelli, 3 have 5, 4 have 1, 2 have 0.


Of 25 Alope ♀, 12 have 6, 1 has 4, 4 have 2, 4 have 1, 4 have 0.

Therefore of Nephele ♂, 71 per cent. have 6 ocelli, 4 per cent. haveunder 3; 1.4 per cent. have 0.

Of Nephele ♀, 11 per cent. have 6, 56 per cent. have under 3, 20 percent. have 0.

Of Alope ♂, 62 per cent. have 6 ocelli, 25 per cent. under 3, 8 percent. 0.

Of Alope ♀, 24 per cent. have 6, 48 per cent. have under 3, 16 percent. have 0.

3.—The dark Satyrus which inhabits Illinois and westward has goneby the name of Nephele, though differing somewhat from Nephele of theeast. I was struck by the difference between a series sent me by the lateMr. Walsh from Galena, years ago and when I first began collectingbutterflies, and a series of Nephele taken in the Catskills, and I havealways kept the two apart in my cases, considering the Illinois form as atleast a well marked variety. Mr. Worthington has recently written me:“I have received a lot of Nephele from New Hampshire and am surprisedat the difference between them and the Illinois Nephele.”

The males of this last are almost black, the ocelli are very small andwithout rings. But in some examples there is a faint russet or yellowishtint about the ocelli, and perhaps on the space between them. On theunder side the rings are russet or ochraceous, on both wings. The femalesare almost invariably and uniformly dark, and only occasionally is there apaler shade over the extra discal area of fore wings. Out of a numberof females I find but one in which there is a clouded yellow space aboutthe ocelli, and only three on which there are yellow, though hazy, ocellarrings. Of 16 ♂, 14 have 6 small ocelli beneath, 1 has 5, 1 has 2. Of19 ♀, 2 have 6, 2 have 5, 6 have 4, 2 have 3, 6 have 2, 1 has 1. Thisform prevails exclusively to the Rocky Mountains. I have received itfrom Nebraska, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico, but Alope is unknownto me from that region.

In Can. Ent., ix., 141, 1877, I gave the history of Nephele, bred fromeggs laid by a typical female from the Catskill Mountains, Hunter, N. Y.In fall of 1878, I wrote to several correspondents for eggs, and by theirgood will obtained many. Prof. Lintner and Dr. Bailey sent eggs of Alopefrom Albany, N. Y. Rev. Mr. Hulst, with the zeal and kindness whichdistinguishes him, crossed the rivers from

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