Zoological Illustrations/VolI-Pl5

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Zoological Illustrations
by William Swainson
Vol I. Pl. 5. Colias Statira.
Zoological Illustrations Volume I Plate 5.jpg

COLIAS Statira.

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Generic Character.

Palpi breves, curvati, compressi ad linguam, squamis dense tecti. Articulis tribus; primo longissimo, ad basin curvato, ultrà erecto; secundo erecto, brevi; tertio minimo, proclivi; apice nudo, obtuso. Antennæ breves, cylindraceæ, ad apicem nudum et abruptè truncatum sensim incrassatæ. Alæ anteriores trigonæ. Abdomen maris, ultimo articulo acuto, et subtùs tenui unco incurvato; valvis magnis, attenuatis, aduncis.

Typus Genericus Colias Ebule.

Palpi short, curved, compressed on the tongue, thickly covered with scales. Articulations three; the first very long, curved at the base, erect beyond; the second erect, short; the third minute, inclining forward; the tip naked, obtuse. Antennæ short, cylindric, gradually thickening to their tip, which is naked and abruptly truncate. Anterior wings trigonal. Abdomen of the male with the last joint pointed, and a slender incurved hook beneath; the valves large, attenuated and hooked.

Generic Type Colias Ebule.


Specific Character.

C. alis dilutè flavis, vel fulvis; anticis suprà, puncto medio margineque extimo, nigris; subtùs ferrugineis; posticis subtùs, singulis duobus niveis punctis inæqualibus; palpis productis.
Wings diluted yellow or fulvous; anterior with a black border and central dot, which beneath is ferrugineous; posterior beneath, each with two unequal snowy spots; palpi lengthened.—Female.
Papilio Statira. Cramer, pl. cxx. fig. C. D.
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The present insect is selected to illustrate a very elegant family of Butterflies, whose predominant tints are composed of orange, yellow, and white, variously blended and disposed in a greater or less degree throughout all the species. The generic characters above given will distinguish them as peculiar to the tropics, and principally those of South America; one or two species only being found in Africa, and five or six inhabiting India.

I have no doubt this is the Pap. Statira of Cramer; it is found only in Brazil, and has been erroneously considered by Godart and Latreille as a variety of C. Jugurthina, an Indian insect, and which in fact is not in itself a species, being no other than the female of C. Alcmeone, as an attentive examination of a vast number of both, collected in Java by Dr. Horsfield, enabled me to ascertain.

The extraordinary prolongation of the last joint of the palpi, and the white borderless spots beneath, which are never silvered, will distinguish this species through all the variations; in the ground colour of its wings, which in no two specimens are exactly alike, and one before me is nearly white; the lesser snowy dot is sometimes very obscure, and often wanting; but the prolongation of the palpi is even expressed in Cramer's figure above quoted.

I have examined about a dozen specimens, mostly captured by myself, and all have been females; and I strongly suspect future and more decided observations will prove C. Evadne to be the other sex: it has the palpi lengthened, though in a less degree; and the articulations of the antennæ in both insects will be found somewhat thickened at their termination when viewed under a magnifier, a peculiarity I have seen in no other species; and although I have examined near thirty specimens of C. Evadne, they have invariably proved to be males.

The palpi in this insect will be found at variance with the generic character now given; a striking proof that in a natural system no single part can be taken as an unerring criterion for generic distinction, without making it eventually an artificial one. The Colias Drya of Fabricius has the same formation of palpi, but is a totally different insect.