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Porphyrogenes omphale (Butler, 1871)
(Blue Scarlet-eye)

Type Specimens photo collection:


 

Pinned Specimens photo collection:

Live Adults photo collection:

Genitalia photo collection:

Distribution and Larval Foodplants:

Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Guianas to Bolivia

Diagnosis

Combination of bright shiny-blue wing bases with yellow-orange forewings bands in both sexes is diagnostic.

Synonymy

 

Porphyrogenes omphale (Butler, 1871)

Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (4)3(46): 284; figured by Butler (1872), Lepid. Exot.: pl. 40, fig. 10 ♂ D.

Original Combination: Telegonus Omphale

Type Locality: “Ega ...; Venezuela“; lectotype from “Venezuela.“

Types: Lectotype in BMNH, designated by Austin and Mielke 2008, Insecta Mundi 0044: 7, figs. 7 ♂ D, 8 ♂ V.

 

Bibliography

Original description from:

Butler, Arthur Gardiner 1871. Descriptions of some new species of Lepidoptera, chiefly from the collection of Mr. Wilson Saunders. Annals and Magazine of natural History (4)8(46): 282-291 (1 October).

p. 284-285

                         Family Hesperidæ, Leach.
                       Genus  TELEGONUS,  Hübner.
                         Telegonus Omphale, n. sp.
Alæ supra nigro-fuscæ,  cupreo tinctæ:  anticæ basi  nitide cæruleo-
    viridi micantes ;  fascia postmedia  obliqua  fulva  hyalina,  a venis 
    intersecta: posticæ dimidio abdominali nitide virescente; margine 
    interno  fulvo tincto:  corpus viride,  abdomine  certo situ  grises-
    cente,  antennis nigris.
Alæ subtus fere velut supra:  posticæ autem latius virescentes.
Exp. alar. unc. 2 usque unc. 2, lin. 3.
    Hab. Ega (Bates);  Venezuela  (Dyson).    B.M.
    This  is  the  most  brilliant   species  of  the  genus;  and  I 
wonder that  Mr. Hewitson,  who  has  the insect in his collec-
tion,  has  not long  since described it.

 



Text from:

Butler, Arthur Gardiner 1872. Lepidoptera Exotica, or descriptions and illustrations of exotic Lepidoptera. London, E. W. Janson. Pp. 105-114, pls. 39-41 (July 1872).

p. 110, pl. 40 f. 10

                                            Telegonus  Omphale,  fig.  10.
        Telegonus Omphale, Butler, Ann. & Mag, Nat. Hist. p. 284 (October, 1871).
        Alæ  supra  nigro-fuscæ,   cupreo  tinctæ ;  anticæ basi   nitide cæruleo-viridi
micantes ;  fascia  postmedia  obliqua   fulva  hyalina,  a venis intersecta ; posticæ 
dimidio  abdominali  nitide  virescente ;  margine  interno   fulvo  tincto ;   corpus 
viride,  abdomine  certo  situ  grisescente ;  antennis nigris ;  alæ  subtus fere velut 
supra :  posticæ  autem  latius  virescentes : exp.  alar. unc. 2 usque unc. 2,  lin. 3.
        Ega  (Bates) ;   Venezuela  (Dyson).      B.M.
          The most beautiful species of the genus, and in some respects allied to the genus Æthilla.

 



Text from:

Draudt, Max Wilhelm Karl 1921-24. B. Grypocera, breitköpfige Tagfalter. In: Seitz, A. (Ed)., Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde. Stuttgart, Alfred Kernen. 5:953-992 (9 July 1923), pls. 160-191.

p. 875, pl. 168 row e

                                                      28. Genus: Porphyrogenes Wts.
              Here  the  antennal  club  is  very  slender,  ensiform with a fine point;  the 3rd palpal  joint  is very short,
obtusely  conical.  Costal  fold  present;  the cell  of the forewing is  as long  as two  thirds of  the costal  margin.
The upper  median vein  rises far  before the  cell-end,  the  lower  nearer to  the base  than to  the upper one;  the
proximal  margin  is  very  convex  and  covers  a  lustrous  silvery  spot  of  the  costal  margin  on  the  hindwing,
which  exhibits  a hair-tuft;  the anal  fold of  the hindwing is clad with long, hair-shaped scales. Only one species:
 
              P.  omphale   Btlr.  (168 e)  is  unmistakable:  above  black  with  an  orange  oblique  band,  the  base  of 
the forewing  and the whole middle of the hindwing  with a brilliant  blue reflection.  Amazon District  to Bolivia.
 omphale.

 



Text from:

Williams, Roswell Carter, Jr., and Ernest Layton Bell 1934. Studies in the American Hesperioidea. Paper III (Lepidoptera). Transactions of the american entomological Society 60: 121-132, pl. 8 (24 May).

p. 132, pl. 8 f. 11

Porphyrogenes omphale (Butler)                       (Pl. VIII,  Fig. 11)
1871.   Telegonus  omphale  Butler,  Ann.  &  Mag.  Nat.  Hist.,  VIII,  p. 284.
        Ega;  Venezuela.  1872.  Lep. Exot.,  p. 110,  pl. 40,  fig. 10.
     The   uncus   terminates   in   two   slender   arms.   The   aedoeagus
carries   a   cluster  of  internal  spines.   The   claspers  terminate  in  a
narrow   upturned   arm   with   a  number  of  hair-like  spines  on  the
inner   edge   and   a   dense   cluster   of   similar   though  larger  ones
directed   inwardly   from   the   dorsal   edge   near   the   base   of  the
terminal arm.

 



Text from:

Evans, William Harry 1952. A catalogue of the American Hesperiidae indicating the classification and nomenclature adopted in the British Museum (Natural History). Part II. Pyrginae. Section I. London, British Museum (Natural History). v + 178 pp., pls. 10-25.

species D.7.2a (as passalus), p. 155-156, pl. 24 f. 2; description in a form of identification key: relevant snippets are cited here.

D.7. PORPHYROGENES Watson 1893 :

                                    [...]

Ia (9a).  Large,  ♂ F > 20 mm.

 Ib (6a).  H termen convex, origin of vein 6 nearer to the  
 origin of vein 7 than to the origin of vein 4.

 Ic (4a).  H origins of veins 2 and 7 opposite: cell > ½ wing.  

                                    [...]

 2 (I. 3).  ♂ above and below dark brown with the base F  
 and the tornal half H shining blue: a hyaline orange band  
 upf from mid costa to near termen in space 1b. ♀ above  
 dark brown, bases shining dark greenish blue: unf dark  
 brown: unh greenish brown, sparsely overlaid with grey  
 scales: upf with a macular white band placed as in the ♂.  
 Secondary sexual characters as in stupa, but the dorsal  
 tuft uph is less conspicuous and unh the wing is not  
 modified.

passalus. 2 sub-species.

 (a).  Smaller, ♂ F 21 mm.: orange band upf wider, 2 mm.,  
 even and compact.

Sub-sp. omphale Butler 1871: ♂ Venezuela: type B.M. Fig  
 Butler 1874.

 B.M.  2 ♂ Venezuela.  I ♀ Colombia.

 (b).  Larger, ♂ F 24 mm.: band narrow, I½ mm., more  
 irregular and tapering towards termen.

Sub-sp. passalus Hernch-Schäffer 1869: ♀ ? loc. MS fig  
 of type in B.M.  ♂  fig in Seitz as omphale.

 B.M.  I ♂ British Guiana.  2 ♂  2 ♀ Bolivia (La Paz.  
 Buenavista).  7 ♂ Up Amazons (Ega. St Paulo d'Olivenca.  
 Pebas.  Manaos).  3 ♂ Pará.

Comment: According to Austin & Mielke (2008), Evans incorrectly associated females described as passalus with males described as omphale. Therefore information about males passalus in Evans (1952) refers to omphale. P. passalus should be kept as an unassociated female.

Text and lectotype designation from:

Austin, George T., and Olaf Hermann Hendrik Mielke 2008. Hesperiidae of Rondônia, Brazil: Porphyrogenes Watson (Lepidoptera: Pyrginae: Eudamini), with descriptions of new species from Central and South America. Insecta Mundi 0044: 1-56, 165 figs. (26 September 2008)

p. 1

Porphyrogenes omphale (Butler, 1871), reinstated status, is not synonymous with Porphyrogenes passalus (Herrich-  
Schäffer, 1869) and becomes a species-level taxon for which no subspecies are recognized;
     [...]      Lectotypes are here designated for      [...]
Telegonus omphale Butler, 1871;

p. 2

Porphyrogenes Watson, 1893
Type species: Telegonus omphale Butler, 1871

p. 7-8, f. 7, 8, 57-60, 119, 137, 154

Porphyrogenes omphale (Butler, 1871), reinstated status

(Fig. 7, 8, 57-60, 119, 137, 154)

Telegonus omphale Butler, 1871. Type locality: Venezuela; male type (herein designated the lectotype,  
 Fig. 7, 8) in BM(NH).

Porphyrogenes passalus omphale (Butler, 1871): Evans 1952, incorrect synonymy (see below).

Description. Male (Fig. 7, 8, 57, 58) - mean forewing length = 24.2 mm (23.5-25.6 mm, n = 10; from  
Rondônia, Brazil); forewing with costal fold, apex not produced, termen convex, anal margin broadly  
convex on basal half, semierect tuft on this convex portion; hindwing prominently convex, tornus pro-  
duced to very short lobe, vein Rs arising nearer to end of discal cell than to its base and just basad of or  
opposite CuA2 (Fig. 119); dorsum black; forewing overscaled basad with bright iridescent purple-blue,  
continuous yellow-orange translucent band from costa, through distal end of discal cell, base of M3-CuA1,  
mid-CuA1-CuA2, and terminating at or near termen distad in CuA2-2A; hindwing overscaled with blue  
basad, largely posterior of discal cell, more extensive than on forewing, extending to or nearly to termen  
at tornus; shining gray speculum in anterior discal cell (as small oval area), proximal 1/2 of Sc+R1-Rs, and  
proximal 2/3 of costal cell; short pale tan recumbent tuft near base of Sc+R1-Rs anterior to origin of vein  
Rs, slightly larger semierect pale tan tuft arising from near base of discal cell, both covering the base of  
speculum in Sc+R1-Rs (Fig. 119); conspicuous erect blue tuft along anterior edge of vein 2A, recumbent  
pale brown tuft from posterior edge of 2A; fringes on both wings of ground color.

Venter similar to dorsum; all colors duller; forewing vein 2A curved (but not sinuate), bare and  
broadly swollen in second quarter (from base), this conspicuously in groove (Fig. 119), shining gray-brown  
speculum in posterior 1/2 of the proximal 1/2 of CuA2-2A and proximal 1/2 of anal cell, the latter continued  
by modified pale brown scales extending nearly to tornus; hindwing with blue more extensive than on  
dorsum, no indication of discal macules; cell 2A-3A with deep groove just caudad of 2A.

Dorsal head and thorax blue, palpi gray, eyes dark (appearing black), antennae black, ochreous on  
venter of club, nudum gray, 28 (n = 2), 29 (n = 3), 30 (n = 3), or 31 (n = 1) segments, ventral thorax blue,  
pectus blue, legs dark brown proximad, paler distad, dorsal abdomen dark gray with some blue overscaling,  
ventral abdomen charcoal gray with some blue anteriorly.

Genitalia (Fig. 137) - tegumen narrow in lateral view, oval in dorsal view, short dorso-caudal oriented  
process from each side of caudal end, no tuft; uncus thin and moderately decurved in lateral view, deeply  
divided in U-shape in dorsal view, arms thin and fairly widely spaced, ventral process of uncus triangu-  
lar; gnathos shorter than uncus, thin in lateral view, terminal ends rounded in ventral view; combined  
ventral arms from tegumen and dorsal arms from saccus sinuate; saccus narrow, oriented cephalad;  
valva with costa-ampulla more or less quadrate, caudal end of ampulla with dense bristles, harpe short,  
narrow, curving evenly upward and slightly inward to blunt caudal end oriented nearly dorsad, caudal  
end with many bristles; aedeagus slightly longer than valva, broad with blunt caudal end, caudal 1/3  
shagreened; cornuti as small cluster of long, thin, and straight spikes.

Female (Fig. 59, 60) - mean forewing length = 30.3 mm (29.2-32.1 mm, n = 3; from Costa Rica and  
Panama); forewing apex rounded, termen slightly convex, anal margin straight; hindwing convex, tornus  
produced to very short lobe, vein Rs arising nearer to end of discal cell than to its base and opposite CuA2;  
dorsum black; forewing overscaled at very base with bright blue, continuous broad (2.0-4.0 mm) yellow-  
orange partially transparent (in discal cell, M3-CuA1, proximal CuA1-CuA2) band from costa, through  
distal end of discal cell, base of M3-CuA1, mid-CuA1-CuA2, and terminating nearly at termen distad in  
CuA2-2A; hindwing overscaled with blue on basal 1/2 extending nearly to termen at tornus; erect tuft on  
vein 2A, bright blue proximad, brown distad; fringes on both wings brown.

Venter similar to dorsum; all colors duller; forewing vein 2A slightly curved; anal margin tan; hindwing  
cell 2A-3A with deep groove just caudad of 2A.

Dorsal head and thorax blue, palpi tan, eyes black, antennae black on dorsum, ochreous on venter,  
nudum red-brown, 30 (n = 2) or 32 (n = 1) segments, ventral thorax blue, pectus tan, legs brown, dorsal  
abdomen dark brown, ventral abdomen brown, slightly paler at segments caudad.

Genitalia (Fig. 154) - lamella postvaginalis broad, sclerotized largely in central portion of caudal edge,  
this having narrow and shallow U-shaped indentation centrally; lamella antevaginalis quadrate with  
central pointed process and membranous plates laterad; ductus bursae short, broad and membranous  
with a sclerotized plate; corpus bursae small, globular.

Distribution and phenology. Porphyrogenes omphale is known from scattered records in Costa  
Rica, Panama, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, northern Brazil through the Amazonian basin to Rondônia,  
Peru, and Bolivia (Butler 1871, Draudt 1922, Williams and Bell 1934, Bell 1946, Evans 1952, de Jong  
1983, this study) and perhaps elsewhere (Evans 1952, Murray 1996, Robbins et al. 1996). Females attrib-  
uted to this species were studied from Costa Rica (December), Panama (May, September; GTA #8908),  
Venezuela, Bolivia (Rio Songo), and Brazil (Pará). The distribution of P. omphale has not been adequately  
delimited due to misidentifications of its female (see below). Records for central Rondônia, where it is the  
most commonly encountered Porphyrogenes, are for July (4 records), August (10), September (7), October  
(1), November (4), and December (1).

Diagnosis and discussion. This strikingly-colored black, blue, and orange species is known from  
southern Central America and northern South America, southward into Brazil and Bolivia (Draudt 1922,  
Bell 1946, Evans 1952, de Jong 1983, this study). Its color and pattern differs from other congeners that  
are largely reddish brown and lightly marked. Porphyrogenes omphale is also not crepuscular or noctur-  
nal like other Porphyrogenes, being active largely during the afternoon (timed records for 1230 to 1600  
hours). The phenotypic aspect of P. omphale suggests its membership in a mimicry complex potentially  
including certain diurnal moths (Notodontidae: Dioptinae, Arctiidae) and butterflies including riodinids  
such as female Necyria manco Saunders, 1859, Ancyluris inca (Saunders, 1850), female A. miranda  
(Hewitson, 1874), some female Setabis Westwood, 1851, Esthemopsis pherephatte (Godart, [1824]) and  
nymphalids (e.g., certain Callicore Hübner, [1819], perhaps some Agrias Doubleday, [1845]).

Evans (1952) identified the female of this species as a dark brown phenotype with “shining greenish  
blue” bases to the dorsal wings and a “macular white band” across the forewing. That phenotype had been  
described as Eudamus passalus Herrich-Schäffer, 1869. This synonymy, without apparent justification,  
seems to be incorrect since the apparent female of P. omphale is a black, blue, and orange phenotype (Fig.  
59, 60) similar to the male as described above. Therefore, Eudamus passalus is removed from synonymy  
with P. omphale and the latter is returned to its original species-level status.

The male type, one of two specimens in the BM(NH) from Venezuela (Fig. 7, 8), is here designated as  
the lectotype. It has four labels: / Type H. T. /, / omphale type /, / Venezuela /, / Venezuela Dyson 47-9./.  
This unequivocally defines Telegonus omphale and will serve to facilitate discussion of its yet unresolved  
apparently geographic variation. Evans (1952) recognized two subspecies of P. omphale (as P. passalus),  
one putatively smaller with a broad orange band on the forewing occurring in northwestern South America  
(Venezuela, Colombia) and the other larger with a narrower band occurring elsewhere. The measure-  
ments given above are representative of a sample of males from Rondônia, Brazil, but others from else-  
where have forewing lengths ranging from 21.3 mm to 27.7 mm. Material examined in this study sug-  
gests no consistent pattern of geographical variation in size or width of the orange band on the forewing;  
the male genitalia remain constant throughout (also illustrated by Williams and Bell 1934, Evans 1952).  
Consequently, no subspecies are here recognized.

p. 30

The association of P. passalus with the phenotype of P. omphale (as its female) by Evans (1952) and  
the continued use of this synonymy (Mielke 2005) were not justified and have proven incorrect with the  
identification of the actual female of P. omphale (see above).

p. 32

              [...]          The only other female of Porphyrogenes known to have a diagonal band is P. omphale  
on which the band is orange (but see following two entries). Most known females of the genus are tawny  
or gray and have one or two (often large) macules on the forewing. On some (e.g., P. omphale, P. probus,  
P. vulpecula, P. sororcula, and several of the smaller species), their color and pattern are sufficiently  
similar to that of males that they may be matched with some degree of confidence.

References:

Butler, Arthur Gardiner 1871. Descriptions of some new species of Lepidoptera, chiefly from the collection of Mr. Wilson Saunders. Annals and Magazine of natural History (4)8(46): 282-291 (1 October). p. 284-285

Butler, Arthur Gardiner 1872. Lepidoptera Exotica, or descriptions and illustrations of exotic Lepidoptera. London, E. W. Janson. Pp. 105-114, pls. 39-41 (July 1872). p. 110, pl. 40 f. 10

Draudt, Max Wilhelm Karl 1921-24. B. Grypocera, breitköpfige Tagfalter. In: Seitz, A. (Ed)., Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde. Stuttgart, Alfred Kernen. 5:953-992 (9 July 1923), pls. 160-191. p. 875, pl. 168 row e

Williams, Roswell Carter, Jr., and Ernest Layton Bell 1934. Studies in the American Hesperioidea. Paper III (Lepidoptera). Transactions of the american entomological Society 60: 121-132, pl. 8 (24 May). p. 132, pl. 8 f. 11

Evans, William Harry 1952. A catalogue of the American Hesperiidae indicating the classification and nomenclature adopted in the British Museum (Natural History). Part II. Pyrginae. Section I. London, British Museum (Natural History). v + 178 pp., pls. 10-25. species D7.2a, p. 155, pl. 24 f. 2

Austin, George T., and Olaf Hermann Hendrik Mielke 2008. Hesperiidae of Rondônia, Brazil: Porphyrogenes Watson (Lepidoptera: Pyrginae: Eudamini), with descriptions of new species from Central and South America. Insecta Mundi 0044: 1-56, 165 figs. (26 September 2008). p. 7-8, f. 7, 8, 57-60, 119, 137, 154

 

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