Vanessa karaganica,

Jong, Rienk De, 2017, Fossil butterflies, calibration points and the molecular clock (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea), Zootaxa 4270 (1), pp. 1-63: 30

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.583183

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Vanessa karaganica


karaganica  . Vanessa karaganica Nekrutenko, 1965 

Nymphalidae  .

Russia, Kraj Stavropol, Stavropol, N. Caucasus; late Miocene. 

Depository: PIRAS (holotype, PIN 254/2936a).

Published figures: Nekrutenko (1965: Figs. 2View FIGURE 2, 3View FIGURES 3 – 4).

Hindwing only, of which tornal quarter and dorsal border are missing. Cell open, a nymphaline apomorphy found, for instance, in the recent genera Aglais  , Inachis  , Nymphalis  , but also in some members of other subfamilies, e.g. Apatura  ( Apaturinae  ), Neptis  ( Limenitidinae  ), etc. According to Nekrutenko, the venation is typical for Vanessa  , and he compares the fossil with “ V. urticae  L.” This species is now placed in Aglais  ; Vanessa  , as currently understood (type species Papilio atalanta Linnaeus  ), has the hindwing cell closed. It is not clear what is typical (i.e. apomorphic) about the venation of Vanessa sensu Nekrutenko  , and therefore I consider the assignment of the fossil to an extant genus unwarranted. Moreover, it lacks the apparently apomorphic character of a crenulate hindwing termen, commonly found in vanessoid genera.

The pattern of the wing (underside) is also visible in the fossil. It resembles that of A. urticae  , and it is reminescent of forms of A. urticae  bred at elevated temperatures. Nekrutenko (1965) concluded that this condition could be of paleogeographical importance. Similar patterns on the underside of the hindwing, however, are not only found in several nymphaline genera, but also in a number of satyrine genera. Since the pattern is clearly cryptic, parallel and convergent evolution may be expected. The little evidence taken together does not allow a further identification than Nymphalidae  . The assignment of this fragmentary fossil to the extant genus Aglais  by Kozlov (1988), already hinted at by Nekrutenko, lacks convincing evidence.