Chlorippe wilmattae,

Jong, Rienk De, 2017, Fossil butterflies, calibration points and the molecular clock (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea), Zootaxa 4270 (1), pp. 1-63: 42

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.583183

publication LSID

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Chlorippe wilmattae


wilmattae  . Chlorippe wilmattae Cockerell, 1907 

Nymphalidae  : "nymphalines" ( Nymphalinae  + Biblidinae  + Cyrestinae  + Apaturinae  ).

USA, Colorado  , Teller County, Florissant; late Priabonian, late Eocene. 

Depositories: MCZH (holotype, no. B602) and USNM (one specimen, no. 58682).

Published figures: Cockerell (1907: Pl. 10); Emmel et al. (1992: Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 /11).

The original description does not provide structural details except for “The venation agrees with that of Chlorippe  , with the same open cell.” The remainder of the almost three pages of description concerns wing pattern, which is compared to that of extant species of Chlorippe  , now split into Asterocampa  in North America and Doxocopa  in Central and South America. It is unknown if there is a significant phylogenetic signal in the pattern, the pattern itself amenable to convergence and mimicry. An open forewing cell is found in several subfamilies, ostensibly in the Nymphalinae  , Biblidinae  , Cyrestinae  and Apaturinae  of the informal section “nymphalines” ( Wahlberg et al. 2009) and, although not universal in these subfamilies, this feature can be considered an apomorphy of this grouping. For calibration purposes the taxonomic position of the fossil should be placed at the stem of this group.

Cockerell (1913) recorded a second specimen of which the preservation was poorer. The fossil was mentioned by Howe (1975) under Apaturinae  and by Emmel et al. (1992) under Nymphalinae  , in which they included Apaturinae  , both without further comment.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History