Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More first records of butterflies for Honduras

Strymon cestri - Tailless Scrub-Hairstreak

Since then, I have found five more butterfly species previously unrecorded from Honduras. Some of them appear to be quite common in the area where we live, just a little south of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. Miller et al. (2012) note that the lepidopteran fauna of Honduras remains relatively unknown compared to that of neighboring countries; their own Annotated List of the Lepidoptera of Honduras is a major step forward in closing that gap. 

Their list is a compound of results from their own recent collecting expeditions to Pico Bonito in northern Honduras, and historical data gleaned from Godman & Salvin (1879-1901), Monroe et al. (1967a, 1967b) and other sources. 

The hairstreak illustrated above is Strymon cestri, or Tailless Scrub-Hairstreak, found from southeastern Arizona and southern Texas to southern Brazil, and thus expected for Honduras. It appears to be quite common here. This individual was photographed on May 8, 2012 on Cerro de Hula, but I have also seen it in our own backyard.

Leptotes marina - Marine Blue

Another apparently fairly common but previously unreported hairstreak is Leptotes marina, or Marine Blue. It is similar to Leptotes cassius, already known from Honduras and certainly more common here than marina. However, Leptotes marina is by no means rare in our area. My records indicate an extension of the known range, which is from southern California, the Southwest and Mexico to Guatemala. This individual was photographed on May 5, 2012, near the shore of the reservoir La Concepción, just outside Tegucigalpa.

Echinargus isola - Reakirt's Blue

Another blue, Echinargus isola or Reakirt's Blue, was new for Honduras when I photographed it on February 12, 2012, near San Buenaventura, a small village south of Tegucigalpa. It ranges from southern California, the Southwest, and Texas through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica, and thus was expected for Honduras.

I also documented a couple more new skippers for Honduras. 

Cynea megalops - Lesser Cynea / Megalops Skipper

Cynea megalops, or Lesser Cynea / Megalops Skipper, is found from eastern Mexico to Colombia and western Ecuador, and thus an expected addition to the Honduran list. This individual was found basking in Reserva Biológica Cerro Uyuca on April 22, 2012.

Urbanus evona - Turquoise Longtail

A specimen of Urbanus evona (Turquoise Longtail) was photographed on April 18, 2012, in pine-oak forest near the village of Las Anonas, between Cerro de Hula and Montaña de Isopo. Its known range is from Mexico to Colombia, so again expected to occur in Honduras.

I submitted all these first Honduran records to Butterflies and Moths of North America, where they can be consulted by anyone wishing to investigate range extensions of these species. It seems likely that (many?) more first records for Honduras will follow.

Cited literature
Godman, F.D. & O. Salvin. 1879-1901. Insecta, Lepidoptera-Rhopalocera. Biologia Centrali-Americana.
Miller, J.Y., D.L. Matthews, A.D. Warren, M.A. Solis, D.J. Harvey, P. Gentili-Poole, R. Lehman, T.C. Emmel, C.V. Covell Jr. 2012. An annotated list of the Lepidoptera of Honduras. Insecta Mundi, Center for Systematic Entomology, Gainesville, Florida.
Monroe, R. S., and L. D. Miller. 1967. A report on a collection of Hesperiidae from Honduras.
Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 21: 243-247.
Monroe, R. S., G. N. Ross, and R. N. Williams. 1967. A report on two recent collections of butterflies
from Honduras. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 21: 185-197.

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