Two New Satyrid Species Described in U.S.

h intricata plateJonathan Pelham alerted the TLS-leps-talk listserv today of an important new paper in ZooKeys published this week describing a new species of satyr in the southeast along the coastal plain from South Carolina to Texas, proposed as Intricate Satyr, where it flies synchronously with and has been conflated with the common southeastern Carolina Satyr.  The authors also propose that Hermes Satyr populations in the U.S. are distinct from those in Mexico and South America, and propose the new species South Texas Satyr for U.S. populations.

Good luck separating Carolina and Intricate Satyrs in the field — the authors report no reliable wing character differences and base their work on genitalic and genetic characters.

Cong, Qian and Nick V. Grishin
2014 A new Hermeuptychia (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae) is sympatric and synchronic with H. sosybius in southeast US coastal plains, while another new Hermeuptychia species – not hermes – inhabits south Texas and northeast Mexico. ZooKeys 379: 43–91, 70 figs., 1 tbl. {12 Feb 2014}

Hermeuptychia intricata Grishin, sp. n. is described from the Brazos Bend State Park in Texas, United States, where it flies synchronously with Hermeuptychia sosybius (Fabricius, 1793). The two species differ strongly in both male and female genitalia and exhibit 3.5% difference in the COI barcode sequence of mitochondrial DNA. Setting such significant genitalic and genotypic differences aside, we were not able to find reliable wing pattern characters to tell a difference between the two species. This superficial similarity may explain why H. intricata , only distantly related to H. sosybius , has remained unnoticed until now, despite being widely distributed in the coastal plains from South Carolina to Texas, USA (and possibly to Costa Rica). Obscuring the presence of a cryptic species even further, wing patterns are variable in both butterflies and ventral eyespots vary from large to almost absent. To avoid confusion with the new species, neotype for Papilio sosybius Fabricius, 1793, a common butterfly that occurs across northeast US, is designated from Savannah, Georgia, USA. It secures the universally accepted traditional usage of this name. Furthermore, we find that DNA barcodes of Hermeuptychia specimens from the US, even those from extreme south Texas, are at least 4% different from those of H. hermes (Fabricius, 1775)—type locality Brazil: Rio de Janeiro—and suggest that the name H. hermes should not be used for USA populations, but rather reserved for the South American species. This conclusion is further supported by comparison of male genitalia. However, facies, genitalia and 2.1% different DNA barcodes set Hermeuptychia populations in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas apart from H. sosybius . These southern populations, also found in northeastern Mexico, are described here as Hermeuptychia hermybius Grishin, sp. n. (type locality Texas: Cameron County). While being phylogenetically closer to H. sosybius than to any other Hermeuptychia species, H. hermybius can usually be recognized by wing patterns, such as the size of eyespots and the shape of brown lines on hindwing. “Intricate Satyr” and “South Texas Satyr” are proposed as the English names for H. intricata and H. hermybius , respectively.
One of the co-authors, Nick Grishin, offered some further observations on H. intricata identification and encouraged other lepidopterists to help identify field characters for this species in a post to TILS [URLs in his text converted to hot links]:
>>  Much research remains to be done to better understand biology of these
species. For instance, while it is clear that *H. intricata* is widely
distributed in the eastern US and is probably very common where it occurs
(it was abundant at the type locality, with swarms of hundreds), we don’t
have good distribution coverage by records. Here is the map.

Unfortunately, we were not able to find very solid wing pattern characters
to identify this eastern USA species. However, identification by the shape
of uncus tip in male genitalia is absolutely unambiguous: it is sharp with
a point in *H. intricata*, while it is “truncated” in *H. sosybius*.
Brushing some scales off the abdomen tip is sufficient to expose that
external feature of genitalia. Frequently, even brushing is not necessary.Female genitalia are equally unambiguous for identification, but may be a
bit harder to inspect in dry specimens.

I understand that *Hermeuptychia* is so common around that it is
frequently viewed as a junk bug. Also, it is not very showy and may not
attract adequate attention. However, if you have a few in your
collections, maybe you can take a look. It would be fantastic if we can
collectively refine the distribution map of *H. intricata*. If you have a
moment, and can find *H. intricata* in your collection, it would be
terrific if you can email me a picture of abdomen tip (the quality does
not matter). I had this idea that maybe we can have a follow-up short
publication, with everyone who contributes a genitalically confirmed
distibution record as a co-author. Would’t it be great?

Or, if you can find wing pattern characters (or other characters) to help
identifying the butterfly in the field, it will also be very useful and
will significantly add to our knowledge and ability to study this species.

Thanks very much! <<

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One Response to Two New Satyrid Species Described in U.S.

  1. Pingback: New butterfly species discoveries in Texas, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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