Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A new gossamer-winged butterfly: Jamides vasilia

The butterfly family Lycaenidae is the second-largest with over 5000 species. The family is traditionally divided into the subfamilies of the blues (Polyommatinae), the coppers (Lycaeninae), the hairstreaks (Theclinae), the harvesters (Miletinae), and a few other smaller groups.

The genus Jamides belongs to the blues. It is distributed throughout much of the Oriental, Australian and Pacific region tropics and currently contains about 60 species.Today's new species was collected in Papua New Guinea and it was is named in honour of the author’s wife, who always supported his obsession in butterfly research, despite the many sacrifices both on and off the field.

For the experts: Jamides vasilia sp. n., from montane West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea, is described and illustrated. The new species is strongly divergent from other known Jamides Hübner, 1819 in possessing a high antenna-forewing length ratio, long androconia on the hindwing upperside and a strongly convex forewing inner margin in the male. It is compared by external structures, male genitalia and mtDNA sequence data to putative related species in the cyta group of Jamides. Notes on various Jamides taxa from the Bismarck Archipelago are also provided, with J. pseudosias (Rothschild, 1915) and J. reverdini (Fruhstorfer, 1915) recorded from New Britain for the first time.

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