What’s In A Name? New BOA Checklist Changes

While we’re mulling over taxonomy and naming conventions in preparation for this month’s meeting of the Washington Area Butterfly Club, Harry LeGrand and colleagues are incorporating new name changes (scientific and common) from the Butterflies of America (BOA) checklist into their Notes on the Butterflies of North Carolina.  Harry recounts the major changes for NC, many of which impact butterfly names throughout the East.  For me it’s going to take some real getting used to talking about Hayhurst’s sootywing and great blue hairstreak.  His comments below are abridged from a posting on the carolinaleps listserv:

>>Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 18:22:46 -0500
From: “Legrand, Harry” <harry.legrand@ncdenr.gov>
Subject: Common /Scientific name changes in Butterflies of America listing

Fellow lepsters:

Tom Howard and I are updating the next Notes on the Butterflies of North
Carolina. As the NABA Checklist is basically out of date (2001), and as there
is a panel of taxonomists/lepidopterists reviewing the Butterflies of America
website, we are phasing toward that checklist.

Below are the taxa changes of species in North Carolina from that huge list
(includes all SUBspecies, and includes all taxa in North America, not just
north of Mexico!). You will note some “new” or unfamiliar common names, and a
few different scientific names. Of most interest are two taxa which we had
considered as full species but which BOA treat as subspecies. Fortunately, we
are not losing any species, just we no longer have Mimic Crescent or
Appalachian Checkered-Skipper as full species. So, we have Northern Crescent
(the “mimic” subspecies is the one in NC) and the Grizzled Skipper instead.
This shouldn’t cause any heartburn. (Helicta Satyr and Georgia Satyr are listed
as separate species, as is Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail.)

Also of interest is that the BOA checklist lists BOTH Atrytonopsis loammi
(Loamm’s or Loammi Skipper) and Atrytonopsis sp. (Crystal Skipper) as valid
species. As many know, the latter is the bug found in coastal Carteret and
Onslow counties; the former was (is?) found in Brunswick and apparently New
Hanover counties, and in SC. The latter is endemic to coastal NC, and the
former is mainly a Florida species. We still do not have a formal description
— full species or not — of the Crystal Skipper, a name given to the butterfly
because it occurs mainly on Bogue Banks = the Crystal Coast to the travel and
tourism folks. So, I am going to split out this group onto two accounts,
instead of one (in the 16th and earlier versions).

Tom and I are going to adopt all or essentially all of the SCIENTIFIC name
changes for the 17th approximation. However, we likely will not use any of the
new common/English names in this version. A few will take some time getting
used to — such as Comma Anglewing and Hayhurst’s Sootywing. We will include
all these new names in the 17th, under the range maps in Synonyms and Other

To see the full BOA list, go to this link:


Note that at the bottom of the link is a place where you can download the
checklist directly to an Excel file, which is what I did.

Here are the taxa that I noted were different from names in the 16th:

Atlides halesus halesus (Cramer, 1777)  Great Blue Hairstreak���
Parrhasius m-album (Boisduval & Le Conte, [1833]) (1793)    White-M Hairstreak
Celastrina idella D. Wright & Pavulaan, 1999    Holly Azure
Heliconius charithonia tuckeri W. Comstock & F. Brown, 1950     Zebra Longwing
Polygonia comma (T. Harris, 1842)         Comma Anglewing
Polygonia progne (Cramer, 1775) Gray Anglewing
Polygonia faunus smythi A. Clark, 1937  Green Anglewing
Junonia coenia coenia H�bner, [1822]    Northern Buckeye
Phyciodes cocyta incognitus Gatrelle, 2004      Northern Crescent
Lethe portlandia portlandia (Fabricius, 1781)   Southern Pearly-eye
Lethe anthedon anthedon A. Clark, 1936  Northern Pearly-eye
Lethe creola (Skinner, 1897)      Creole Pearly-eye
Lethe appalachia appalachia R. Chermock, 1947   Appalachian Brown
Cyllopsis gemma gemma (H�bner, [1809])  Eastern Gemmed-Satyr

Staphylus hayhurstii (W. H. Edwards, 1870)      Hayhurst’s Sootywing
Pyrgus centaureae wyandot (W. H. Edwards, 1863)  Grizzled Skipper
Wallengrenia egeremet (Scudder, 1863)    Northern Broken-dash
Wallengrenia otho otho (J. E. Smith, 1797)      Southern Broken-dash
Atrytonopsis loammi (Whitney, 1876)     Loamm’s Skipper
Atrytonopsis sp. undescribed      Crystal Skipper


This entry was posted in checklists, general butterfly news, state butterflies, Washington Area Butterfly Club and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What’s In A Name? New BOA Checklist Changes

  1. Matt Orsie says:

    More offical now for the Crystal Skipper. (Atrytonopsis quinteri). See http://images.peabody.yale.edu/lepsoc/jls/2010s/2015/2015-69-4-275.pdf

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