Lycaenites gabbroensis,

Jong, Rienk De, 2017, Fossil butterflies, calibration points and the molecular clock (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea), Zootaxa 4270 (1), pp. 1-63: 28

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.583183

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Lycaenites gabbroensis


gabbroensis  . Lycaenites gabbroensis Rebel, 1898 

Lycaenidae  .

Italy, Tuscany, Gabbro (near Pisa); late Miocene. 

Depository: NHMW (holotype, 1898/0013/0005; counterpart holotype, 1898/0013/0006).

Published figures: Murata (1998: Fig. 37); Rebel (1898: Pl. I Figs 5View FIGURE 5, 7).

A very badly preserved small insect. As correctly stated by Rebel, the strongly bent subcosta (Rebel: costa) of the hindwing shows that it is a butterfly and not a broad-winged moth. For the rest of the hindwing venation is so faulty that I have little confidence in Rebel’s reconstruction (Pl. I Fig. 7), which, moreover, does not agree with his habitus drawing (Pl. I Fig. 5View FIGURE 5). Because of its size (forewing length 11 mm) and absence of a precostal vein (=humeral vein) in the hindwing, Rebel assigned the fossil to the Lycaenidae  . In the description it is stated that a radial fork distally of the cell is visible in the forewing and prominent in the reconstructed wing venation, although not in the drawing of the habitus of the fossil. Consequently, the fossil cannot belong to the Hesperiidae  . Moreover, the head is smaller than the thorax, which in Hesperiidae  is only known from the strictly American Megathymus  group ( Hesperiinae  ), of which the extant species are much bigger and built much more heavily. Among further extant butterflies only Pieridae  , in particular Eurema  species, can approach consideration for an assignment in view of its small size. However, in Eurema  M1 branches off the common stem of R3+R4 (see, e.g., Jeratthitikul et al. 2009), while in the reconstruction of Rebel, the origin of M1 is far apart from the origin of this common stem. The conclusion that the fossil apparently belongs to the Lycaenidae  , is not very helpful in terms of divergence time of the family, since older fossils of the sister group, Riodinidae  , are known and even assignable to extant genera.