Zoological Illustrations/VolI-Pl22

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Zoological Illustrations
by William Swainson
Vol I. Pl. 22. Terias Elvina.

Note: the colouring of this plate is quite wrong: the wings should be pale sulphur—Uploader.

Zoological Illustrations Volume I Plate 22.jpg

TERIAS Elvina.

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Generic Character.

Antennæ breves, clavâ subtruncatâ, compressâ. Palpi brevissimi curvati, vix ultra caput producti, ad linguam compressi, densis squamis imbricatis in totum tecti apice nudo. Abdomen elongatum, gracile, in maribus 6-articulatum, articulo ultimo duobus uncis incurvatis approximantibus; valvis latis, incrassatis, truncatis, aduncis. Alæ utroque sexu similes; latæ, obtusæ, rotundatæ, integerrimæ.

Typus Genericus Papilio Hecabe. Linnæus.

Antennæ short, the club somewhat truncate and compressed. Palpi very short, curved, hardly projecting beyond the head, closely compressed on the tongue, entirely covered with close imbricate scales, the tip naked. Body elongated, slender, in the male six-jointed, the last with two approximating incurved hooks; valves broad, thickened, truncate, and hooked. Wings in both sexes alike, broad, obtuse, rounded, very entire.

Generic Type Papilio Hecabe. Linnæus.


Specific Character.

T. alis subdiaphanis, sulphureis, subtùs immaculatis. Anticis suprà apice nigris, posticis (in maribus) margine antico basi gibbosis. Fœm. ——?
Wings sub-diaphanous, pale sulphur; beneath immaculate. Anterior, above with a black marginal tip; posterior (in the male) with the fore-margin gibbous at the base. Female ——?
Pieris Elvina. Godart in Encycl. Method, p. 158. no. 67.
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This is one of the smallest of Butterflies, and from the extreme delicacy of its form seems to sanction with truth the poetic idea of living "but for a day." It is found in Brazil, inhabiting only the deepest forests, as if fearful its little life would be endangered by the scorching rays of a tropical sun: in these sombre shades it is seen to fly slowly and feebly near those spots where a ray of the sun has partially entered the thick canopy of foliage above, which is frequently fifty or sixty feet from the ground.

The genus I have now placed it in belongs to the Coliadæ, and appears to connect that family with the Pieridæ: their distinctions are obviously marked and very constant in all the species I have yet seen, and which are tropical: of these, seven I discovered in Brazil; three or four more are natives of the southern extremity of North America; and Dr. Horsfield has four or five from Java. I know of none from Africa. Their size in general is very small.

I think this species is the Pieris Elvina of Godart; although the insect he mentions as the female is in reality that of his Pieris Neda. The true female I have never seen; I suspect it will want the gibbous curve on the hinder wings of the male, which sex is, indeed, not common, and is generally much smaller, and sometimes half the size only, of the figure.

Papilio Nicippe of Cramer (tab. 210. fig. C. D.) strictly belongs to this genus, though placed in that of Colias by Godart, as well as his Pieris Agave, Hecabe, and doubtless many others not now before me.