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Holotype male with the following labels (separated by transverse bars): HOLOTYPE / VENEZUELA – Amazonas: San Carlos de Rio Negro to Solano track, km. 3 [approximately 1°55'N 67°1'W], 5-17 III 94, 100m elev., Andrew Neild Collection / Brit. Mus. 1994-298 / BMNH(E) #1054424 (BMNH).
VENEZUELA – Amazonas: 1 female, same locality data as holotype / (Neild Prep. Genital Vial No. 274) (AN); BRAZIL – Amazonas: 1 female, Janarete [= Jauaretê] (approximately 0°36'N 69°11'W), IX, 1943 / W. Praetorius Coll. Donor Frank Johnson (AMNH); COLOMBIA – Vaupés: 1 male, Camino a mina “La Libertad”, camino a caño grande “Pescadero”, en bosque amazónico [approximately 1°01'N 69°45'W, north of Chorro La Libertad, fide Jaime Pinzón], 10:30 am, 290 m, 25-Agosto-1993, Col: G. Fagua (ICN-MHN-L); 1 female, Serranía de Taraira; camino a mina “La Libertad”, camino a mina “Marulanda”; en rastrojo [approximately 1°01'N 69°45'W, north of Chorro La Libertad, fide Jaime Pinzón], 2:45pm, 290 m, 8 agosto 1993, G. Fagua (ICN-MHN-L); No data: 1 male, (genital vial # SN-15-59) (MGCL).
Differs from males of its congener Euptychia sophiae sp. n. as follows (no females of Euptychia sophiae sp. n. are known, but we expect characters indicated with an asterisk (*) will serve to differentiate this sex): (1) FW more produced apically, with outer margin straighter or more concave, and outer margin at an angle away from the central line of the body (nearly parallel in Euptychia sophiae sp. n.); (2) dorsally with prominent orange scaling on the posterior DHW on and near the tornus* (Euptychia sophiae sp. n. lacks this orange scaling); (3) VHW submarginal band does not increase in width at the tornus (increases substantially for Euptychia sophiae sp. n.); (4) small ocellus at the anal margin of the VHW median band larger*; (5) androconial patch on VHW pale and barely visible, whereas prominent on Euptychia sophiae sp. n.; (6) gnathos projecting nearly parallel to the uncus (projecting vertically in Euptychia sophiae sp. n.); (7) distal one-fourth of the valva broad in lateral view (narrow in Euptychia sophiae sp. n.); (8) aedeagus straighter, less curved.
The female resembles several species in the genus Euptychia, especially Euptychia marceli Brévignon, 2005, but is distinguishable on the VHW through the unique combination of a very large and ovoid (not round) ocellus in Cu1-Cu2 bordered on its tornal side by orange scaling, and by the presence of a tiny ocellus on the anal margin at the posterior end of the median brown band (this last found rarely on some specimens of Euptychia marceli Brévignon, 2005). It can also be differentiated from all other known Euptychia females by the three characters (i, ii, and iii) elucidated at the beginning of the Taxonomy section. The male somewhat resembles a few taxa currently in Chloreuptychia Forster, 1964 (see Warren et al. 2015), with its wing shape and greyish translucence, but differs by the absence of a bluish sheen on either wing surface, presence of orange HW tornal scaling on both wing surfaces, presence of a small VHW ocellus at the anal margin, absence of orange- and silver-lined ovoid VHW markings in M2-M3 and M3-Cu1, and by the single silvery-white pupils in the VHW ocelli (double in most Chloreuptychia species).
MALE (Fig. 2):
Forewing length. 17.0–18.0 mm (n = 3) (holotype = 18 mm).
Head. Frons brownish; postgenal area light brown.
Antennae. Naked, orange-brown, darker dorsally, clubs browner with orange tip, 7–8 mm long.
Eyes. Dark brown, sparsely hairy; creamy-grey scales dorsally and laterally along posterior edge of eyes.
Palpi. Covered by long creamy-grey hair-like modified scales dorso-laterally, ventrally with long fine hair-like modified scales projecting like a Mohican, mostly black along outer margin, but interior wall of modified scales creamy-grey. Mohican highest in centre, gradually reducing anteriorly and posteriorly, and anteriorly reduced to a pointed tuft. First segment covered with black scales dorsally, black and white hair-like modified scales ventrally, second segment covered with short white hair-like modified scales and white scales laterally, black scales distal one-third of dorsal surface, ventrally adorned with long black and white hair-like modified scales 3–4 times as long as segment width, second segment slightly longer than eye diameter, third segment covered with black scales dorsally and ventrally, creamy-white hair-like scales laterally, about one-seventh of second segment in length.
Thorax. Covered in long light grey hair-like modified scales.
Legs. Greyish. Foreleg tarsus about 2/5 of tibia in length, femur about 2/3 of tibia in length; tibial spurs absent on midleg and hindleg.
Abdomen. Eighth tergite and sternite well developed, apparently as equally sclerotized as other tergites and sternites, but weakly sclerotized towards posterior end.
Androconia patches. Modified wing scales, presumed to be androconia, present on either side of vein 2A on the HW at the base of the dark median band on the dorsal and ventral surface; visible on the dorsal surface as two tiny ovoid pale greyish-brown patches approximately 0.5 mm long, and on the ventral surface as a strip approximately 2.0 mm long in space 2A–3A; these patches, best viewed using backlighting, are homologous with the dorsal and ventral androconia patches of Euptychia sophiae sp. n.
Wing venation. FW recurrent vein present, approximately 1.75 mm long; FW vein Cu not swollen at base; HW with humeral vein barely visible, very short (approximately 0.6 mm), curved anteriorly towards the costal lobe.
Wing shape. FW costa gently convex to apex, apex relatively pointed, outer margin straight, or slightly concave between M3 and Cu2, and angling about 20 degrees away from the central line of the body, inner margin almost straight; HW costa lobed in basal area then gently concave to apex at Sc+R1, apex rounded, outer margin scalloped, anal margin concave near tornus, basally convex.
DFW. Both wings slightly and variably translucent with greyish-brown to chestnut brown ground colour; fringes greyish-brown to brown; four diffuse dark brown to chestnut bands crossing from the costal to the anal margin, the first basal and barely visible, mostly ghosting through the slightly translucent wing from the ventral surface, centrally wide but tapering to a point anteriorly and posteriorly, the second submedian, wider, nearly straight and better defined, crosses the mid discal cell from mid costa to four tenths along the inner margin, the third median slightly wavy strongly defined and the widest, crosses from the costa near the discocellular veins, which it traverses, reaching to seven tenths distance along the inner margin, the fourth begins near the apex where it is narrow and very sinuous, runs parallel to the outer margin and curved in each interspace down to M3 and then angles without curves in towards the body and widens reaching the submarginal area of Cu1, then again running parallel to the outer margin down to the inner margin near the tornus; the margin with a very fine dark brown line running parallel to the outer margin, beginning at the apex, incurved in each interspace to M3, then straight to the tornus; a white-pupilled black subapical ocellus in the centre of M1-M2, touching M2 but not quite reaching M1.
DHW. Four diffuse dark brown to chestnut bands crossing from the costal to the anal margin, the first basal, mostly ghosting through the slightly translucent wing from the ventral surface, the second submedian also ghosting through, nearly straight, crosses the mid discal cell from mid costa to half distance along the anal margin, the third median and slightly wavy, in some specimens (two of the three males) curved inwards in the distal discal cell, better defined with dorsal scaling (less ghosting) and the widest, crosses from the costa two-thirds towards the apex, almost reaching 2A two-thirds along its length, and not passing to the anal margin, the fourth submarginal begins near the apex where it is narrow, runs parallel to the outer margin (curved in each interspace), gradually thickening, widest in M2-M3 (where the basal edge points inward) and M3-Cu1, and then thinning gradually to just reach 2A near the tornus; the margin with a very fine clearly defined dark brown line running parallel to the outer margin, beginning at Sc+R1, incurved in each interspace to the tornus and entering the anal lobe to 3A; three ventral ocelli visible through the slightly translucent wings, the dark circular areas showing through from the ventral surface in cells Cu1-Cu2 and M1-M2 covered with small spheroid areas of diffuse very dark brown dorsal scaling, the latter very small, the former roughly half the diameter of the black ventral “iris”; orange scaling on the distal side of the large ocellus in space Cu1-Cu2 continues to the outer margin and in the same areas of Cu2-2A.
VFW. Both wings slightly translucent with pale greyish-brown ground colour; fringes greyish-brown; one very thin well-defined submarginal dark brown to chestnut band and four more diffuse dark brown to chestnut basal bands, submedian, median and postmedian crossing from the costal to the anal margin, as described for the dorsal surface; a silvery-white-pupilled black subapical ocellus in the centre of space M1-M2, touching M2 but not quite reaching M1, circled by a gold ring with a thin grey-brown outer edge which enters R5-M1; in M2-M3 the grey-brown edge of the ocellar ring breaks open and the yellow area spills posteriorly into the centre of the interspace; in one specimen (MGCL) there is an additional tiny ocellus in Cu1-Cu2 with a reddish-brown “iris” (of the same colour as the transverse bands), a tiny pupil (or merely missing scales?), and an outer ring of the same colour as the background pale-grey-brown, surrounded by an indistinct scattering of brownish scales that define the edge of the outer pale ring.
VHW. One very thin well-defined marginal dark brown band and four more diffuse dark brown to chestnut basal bands, submedian, median, and marginal crossing from the costal to the anal margin, as described for the dorsal surface, but the submarginal and marginal bands continue from the tornus along the anal margin to the base of the chestnut median band, while the marginal band (only) continues to the base of the submedian band; a very small ocellus on the anal margin at the base of the median brown band composed of a large black subovoid “iris”, a narrow golden outer ring, and a narrow dark brown border; three postmedian ocelli, composed of a single small silvery-white pupil, a large black spheroid or ovoid “iris”, and a narrow golden outer ring enclosed in a narrow grey-brown border; the smallest of these ocelli is spheroid, entirely within Rs-M1, not touching either vein, the second, nearly twice as large, spheroid and occupying the full width of M1-M2, with the grey-brown outer border just touching M1, and the black “iris” just spilling over into M2-M3, and in the same way as on the VFW, with the outer posterior border broken open in M2-M3 and the golden outer ring protruding into the centre of the interspace, where a poorly defined wide suffused band of greyish brown scales links this and the third largest ocellus, ovoid, over three times the diameter of the first at its widest point (parallel to the outer margin), with the black “iris” fully occupying Cu1-Cu2, spilling into M3-Cu1 but just touching Cu2, the golden outer ring double the width of the other two ocelli, reaching the centre of M3-Cu1, and entering Cu2-2A, surrounded by a grey brown ring with indistinct edges; yellow-orange scaling on the distal side of the large ocellus in space Cu1-Cu2 continues slightly into M3-Cu1 and fully to the submarginal band of Cu1-Cu2 with more extensive orange scaling in the distal quarter of Cu2-2A just spilling over 2A onto the anal lobe.
Male genitalia (Fig. 4). Tegumen dorsally flattened, ventral edges concave, posterior margin projecting to form a short gnathos fused to the tegumen (approximately one-fifth length of uncus) almost parallel to uncus, but slightly ventrad, somewhat trapezoid in dorsal view; uncus anteriorly hairy, rather narrow and long, posterior tapered and slightly hooked in lateral view, evenly wide in dorsal view; ventral arms of tegumen fused to anterior margin of tegumen; appendices angulares absent; saccus slightly longer than uncus, dorsal arms of saccus combined with ventral arms from tegumen; valva sparsely hairy, basal three-fourths vaguely trapezoidal, distal one-fourth rounded, distal half of valva in dorso-ventral view resembles propodus of a lobster, but without the dactylus; aedeagus tubular, in lateral view rather straight, slightly broadening anterior portion which opens anterodorsally, posterior one third of aedeagus narrow, slightly bent upwards, cornuti absent. FEMALE (Fig. 3):
Forewing length 16.0–17.0 mm (n = 3). Similar to male except as follows: FW shape not elongate, subtriangular, with distinctly convex outer margin; HW shape similar to male, but slightly less elongate; dorsal surface with all the same dark semi-translucent bands but the basal, submedian, and median bands with more scales present dorsally; the DHW dark circular areas showing through from the ventral surface in cells Cu1-Cu2 and M1-M2 almost covered with large spheroid areas of diffuse very dark brown, nearly black, dorsal scaling; the large subtornal ocellus entirely encircled by diffuse orange scaling, and distally by a half-circle of golden scales homologous with the ventral outer ring of this colour; ventrally there are no obvious differences.
Female genitalia (Fig. 6). One Venezuelan female was examined (Neild Prep. Genital Vial No. 274). Lamella antevaginalis sclerotized; area around lamella antevaginalis not sclerotized; very basal side of 8th abdominal segment slightly sclerotized and somewhat ring-like at basal side of 8th abdominal segments; ductus bursae membranous; ductus seminalis located near ostium bursae; corpus bursae oval in dorsal view, with one relatively thick signum.
We name this butterfly to honour the great English naturalist, author, and TV presenter, Sir David Attenborough, in gratitude for opening the eyes and hearts of millions to the natural world through his inspiring and edifying work. To prevent any future ambiguity, the name attenboroughi is considered to be a Latinised male noun in the genitive case.
Distribution, behaviour and habitat
The six specimens known to date were all collected within 500 kms of each other in the north-west of the upper Amazon basin, representing a very restricted distribution. It is impossible with such a small sample size to draw any concrete conclusions, but we hypothesise that this species is restricted to suitable habitat to the north of the Amazon river, and that its sibling species occurs only to the south, although a limited area of sympatry may exist. One of the senior authors first collected specimens of this new species in 1994 while conducting field work for the Butterflies of Venezuela book series (Neild 1996, Neild 2008) in south-western Venezuela. The pair that he collected were settled on low vegetation along a path inside tropical evergreen forest and were netted immediately, before any further observations could be made. One of the Colombian specimens was collected in similar habitat at 10:30 a.m., while the female was captured at 2:45pm outside the forest in scrubby secondary vegetation (“rastrojo”). The type series were all found at low elevations from about 100 m to almost 300 m above sea level. The two Venezuelan specimens were collected in the first half of March, during an especially strong dry season which drastically reduced butterfly numbers and species diversity. The Colombian and Brazilian specimens were taken in August and September, months that are also typically among the least wet of the year. The species is evidently very rarely collected, but this may not reflect reality in the field; rather its perceived scarcity may simply be the result of its apparently highly restricted distribution in an area of the Amazon basin that has been, and still is, very little explored.
- Neild, A; Nakahara, S; Zacca, T; Fratello, S; Lamas, G; Le Crom, J; Dolibaina, D; Dias, F; Casagrande, M; Mielke, O; Espeland, M; 2015: Two new species of Euptychia Hübner, 1818 from the upper Amazon basin (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae) ZooKeys, (541): 87-108. doi
- Warren A, Davis K, Stangeland E, Pelham J, Grishin N (2015) Illustrated Lists of American Butterflies. http://www.butterfliesofamerica.com [accessed April 20, 2015]
- Neild A (1996) The Butterflies of Venezuela. Part 1: Nymphalidae I (Limenitidinae, Apaturinae, Charaxinae). A comprehensive guide to the identification of adult Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, and Pieridae. Meridian Publications, Greenwich, 144 pp.
- Neild A (2008) The Butterflies of Venezuela. Part 2: Nymphalidae II (Acraeinae, Libytheinae, Nymphalinae, Ithomiinae, Morphinae). A comprehensive guide to the identification of adult Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, and Pieridae. Meridian Publications, London, 276 pp.