New Year, New Names

2018JUL07 Rare Skipper dorsal female_MD-Dorchester Co-Decoursey Bridge Rd:Hurlow Creek-Chicamacomico River Quad copy.jpg

Rare Skipper, once Problema bulenta, is one of the skippers whose Latin name changed in the new Pelham catalog.  It’s now Atrytone bulenta –– apparently “problema“tic no more! [2018 July 7, Dorchester Co MD, photo by REB]

While working on 2020 updates to the MD Butterfly Field Checklist we use in the MDLepsOdes Group, I’ve picked up a number of new taxonomic name combinations for us here in the mid-Atlantic.  These are all listed now in the current edition of Jonathan P Pelham’s “A Catalog of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada,”  considered by most of us the definitive taxonomic resource for North American butterfly and skipper scientific names.

Took me most of the day so far just to wade through the skippers, but I will be posting our corrected version of the MD checklist as soon as I plow through the rest of the butterfly families (where there are fewer nomenclatural changes).  And certainly in time for the 2020 field season!

We had relatively few taxonomic changes here in the mid-Atlantic, but there are many more in other parts of the US, especially where Central and South American taxa mingle with more northerly fauna.

The other thing you’ll notice from the Pelham catalog is that the taxonomic arrangement of families is much different than we’re used to, with Hesperiidae (skippers) first in taxonomic order before the true butterflies (they used to be dead last). That will take some getting used to!

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