Lethe montana,

Jong, Rienk De, 2017, Fossil butterflies, calibration points and the molecular clock (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea), Zootaxa 4270 (1), pp. 1-63: 32

publication ID

http://doi.org/ 10.5281/zenodo.583183

publication LSID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Lethe montana


montana  . Lethe montana Miller, Miller & Ivie, 2012 

Nymphalidae  : Satyrinae  .

USA, Montana  , Canyon Ferry Reservoir; Rupelian, early Oligocene. 

Depository: holotype, Museum of Rockies, Montana  State University , Bozeman (part and counterpart, MOR No. MV-152). 

Published figures: CoBabe et al. (2002, Fig. 4View FIGURES 3 – 4 c), Miller et al. (2012: Figs 1–5View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2View FIGURES 3 – 4View FIGURE 5.

The fossil consists of a well preserved part and counterpart of a forewing. In their diagnosis the authors state that “… the unbranched forewing radial veins … indicate thet this fossil is … not a member of the Hesperioidea.” Rather, this should read “the branched forewing radial veins”, but the conclusion is correct. Moreover, the absence from the cubital spur and vein 3A eliminates Papilionidae  from consideration. The authors also eliminate Pieridae  , since M1 branches off the cell, although branching of M1 off R3 is widespread in Pieridae  but not universal. The remark that Riodinidae  or Lycaenidae  can be eliminated because the “… veins are not simple in that they do not arise from the base or from the radius or cubitus proper …”, is not clear to me. The authors arrive at the conclusion that the fossil belongs to the Nymphalidae  , and since the forewing cell is closed, the subcostal vein is thickened at its base and there is a prominent ocellus in M1-M2, assignment to the Satyrinae  seems obvious. The only problem is, that the basal part of the wing with the swelling of the subcostal vein, as represented in their reconstruction in Fig. 5View FIGURE 5, is absent from the fossil ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1) and from the interpretation of the fossil in Fig. 2View FIGURE 2.

See also the discussion under Lethe  (?) corbieri on the absence of a basal swelling in Lethe  . There is no convincing evidence for treating Lethe montana  differently than Lethe  (?) corbieri as far as its use as calibration point concerns. They are approximately the same age.

See also under Biogeographic considerations.


Museum of the Rockies