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Thread: Acraea violae vs Acraea terpsicore

  1. #1
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    Default Acraea violae vs Acraea terpsicore

    Dr Seow, Les and anyone else who's interested in taxonomic nomenclature.

    I consulted Dr Michael Braby about the issue of A. violae vs A. terpsicore where there were recent papers 1995-2002 by various authors debating on the updated naming of Tawny Coster. Here is Dr Braby's reply. I am asking him for the papers that he quoted, so that we can also understand what is the debate about. The latest paper by Honey and Scoble (2002) appears to conclude that there is no definite affirmation that Tawny Coster is Acraea terpsicore

    The earlier papers by Ackery and so on, postulated that the correct name should be A. terpsicore.

    What are your views regarding what Dr Braby said below?

    Regarding nomenclature, Ackery et al. (1995) and Pierre and Bernaud (1997) considered Acraea violae (Fabricius, 1775) the same species as A. terpsicore. Since Papilio terpsicore Linnaeus, 1758 is the oldest available name it is therefore a senior synonym of Papilio violae Fabricius, 1775. Honey and Scoble (2002) were not able to trace the types of P. terpsicore and concluded that its identity remains uncertain, although they acknowledged that P. violae is very likely a junior synonym of P. terpsicore. Ackery et al. (1995) revised the concept of A. terpsicore to include only the species known from the Oriental Region: previously, A. terpsicore was confused with the African species A. eponina Cramer, 1780 and was also considered conspecific with A. neobule Doubleday, [1847] from northern Africa (e.g. Lawson & Duodu 1984). There are also discrepancies in the spelling of the species group name, either as A. terpsicore or A. terpsichore (e.g. Linnaeus 1764; Ewete 1990; The Natural History Museum 2012).Linnaeus (1758) used P. terpsicore,which was also the spelling adopted byAckery et al. (1995 p. 246) and Pierre and Bernaud (1997). I can send the relevant references if required.
    Khew SK
    Butterflies of Singapore BLOG
    Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try

  2. #2
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    If there is no definite affirmative of the identity of Papilio terpsicore, ie. no type specimen, drawing or proper description, then it cannot be used no matter how high the probability that it is the same as A. violae.

    I am more interested in how the name Tawny Coster comes about.

    I have seen it being written as Tawny Coaster, so it may be a corruption of this or even Castor (genus Ariadne which hostplant is Castor-oil plant).

    As it is, Coster is quite meaningless, but perhaps an accountant can comprehend it.

    TL Seow

    PS. Linnaeus uses the names of many deities & heroes of Greek mythology.
    Terpsichore with an 'h' is the accepted spelling in transliterated Greek. She is one of the Nine Muses.
    Terpsichore is the goddess of dance & choral singing.

    Although spelt as 'Terpsicore' this cannot when in use be corrected to 'Terpsichore' (except perhaps by the author on application to ICZN).
    Last edited by Psyche; 16-Aug-2013 at 08:15 AM. Reason: PS

  3. #3
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    A Coster (also called a Costermonger) is an old English name for someone who sells fruit and vegetables etc. from a barrow. An odd name to use!

    I suspect that is used to be Coaster (not because it is found by coasts, but because of its flight which is usually weak and can be described as coasting along), but, like the Sailers/Sailors, it got corrupted over time and the 'wrong' version got into general usage.

    Just to confuse matters further, is A. terpsicore the same species as mentioned in D. A. Swanpoel's Butterflies of South Africa (1953) as Acraea terpsichore Linnaeus 1758, which, in Funet, is considered a synonym of A. serena? Funet mentions ssp. of A. terpsicore (note change of spelling for the ssp.) named neobule, seis, arabica and legrandi, but includes them as ssp. of A. neobule. A further ssp. A. terpsicore mahela is also mentioned as a seperate species, A. mahela.

  4. #4
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    The name 'Acraea terpsichore' have been appended to several Acraea species in the past by different authors.

    The Dancing Acraea A. serena.
    http://www.whatsthatbug.com/wp-conte...enya_zarek.jpg

    The Orange Acraea A. eponina.
    http://www.tanzaniabirds.net/butterf...a_2012_07a.jpg

    The Wandering Donkey Acraea A. neobule.
    http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/...eobule-ma2.jpg

    Linnaeus' original description of 'Terpsicore'.
    http://www.archive.org/stream/caroli...e/465/mode/1up

    This translates roughly as Wings oblong wholly yellow, rear fully ?not sure, several black spots. Habitat. Asia.
    Since there are only two Acraea in Asia, the other being A. issoria, this has to be A. violae unless there is a location error.

    TL Seow

  5. #5
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    Thank you. Yes, I got stuck with 'faturatioribus' as well!

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