Splendeuptychia mercedes Huertas

Huertas, Blanca, 2011, A new species of Satyrinae butterfly from Peru (Nymphalidae: Satyrini: Euptychiina), Zootaxa 2802, pp. 63-68 : 64-67

publication ID

http://doi.org/ 10.5281/zenodo.277056



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scientific name

Splendeuptychia mercedes Huertas

new species

Splendeuptychia mercedes Huertas   new species

Euptychia   ? sp. D’Abrera 1988: 782

Splendeuptychia   sp.nov. Lamas 2004: 222 (101)

Holotype male ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 A): Peru, La Merced, 2500ft [c. 800m], vii & viii 1903, Watkins and Tomlinson leg., BM 1904 - 133, BMNH (E)# 809214, vial 8762, [coordinates 11 º03S, 75 º 19 W; Stephens & Traylor (1983), Willmott & Lamas (2007)], in BMNH. Allotype female: same data, Adams bequest 1912 - 399, BMNH (E)# 809218 in BMNH Paratypes 4 females: same data as Holotype, BMNH (E)# 809215 vial 8578, BMNH (E)# 809216-809219, in BMNH. 1 male: 1 female Peru, San Martín, km 18 Tarapoto-Yurimaguas, 1250m, 18.xi.1998, 0627/ 7617, J. Grados leg. 1 female:same data, G. Lamas leg. [06º 27 ’ 11.4 ”S, 76 º 17 ’ 18.6 ”W] in MHNUSM. 1 male: Peru, Loreto, El Tigre, Rio Pucacuro-Monterrico, 170m, 8.x. 2000, J. Ramírez leg. [coordinates 03º 11 ’ 360 ’’S/ 75 º01’ 324 ’W; Delgado et al. (2001)] in MHNUSM.

Diagnosis. The new species is described in the genus Splendeuptychia   following current taxonomy ( Lamas & Viloria 2004). However, this generic placement may need to be reconsidered given that Splendeuptychia   is polyphyletic and new generic limits determined following detailed morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies ( Peña et al. 2010, 2011; Huertas in prep).

In wing morphology, Splendeuptychia mercedes   n. sp. is closest to S. toynei Willmott & Hall, 1995   , S. furina (Hewitson, 1862)   and S. ackeryi Huertas, Rios & Le Crom, 2009   . These four species share clearly marked brown lines in the medial and proximal areas of the forewing underside, with three slimmer brown bands in the margin. They also all have six ocelli on the hindwings, in a similar arrangement, each with darker (burnt) yellow borders and black and metallic scaling. The new species differs from the other three in having broader medial brown lines continuous between the forewing and hindwing, darker, bluish metallic scaling in the ocelli, and a lighter brown ground colour that is similar on both the dorsal and ventral sides with no white coloration. The overall brown ground colour and hindwing patterns are comparable to those in the group that includes S. doxes   (Godart, [1824]), S. junonia (Butler, 1867)   and similar species. However, those species all have narrower, non-continuous brown bands on the forewing underside, lacking the zebra-like patterning, and do not display black or burnt yellow rounded marks on the hindwing upperside ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 a).

Description of the holotype. MALE: Head: Eyes naked, dark brown; palpi 1.5 times as long as head and densely hirsute, coloured black and white (brush-like) in two lines, with centre naked; antennae reddish brown. Thorax: Dark brown. Abdomen: Brown with hairy scales and lighter on distal ventral side. Wings: Forewing (FW) mean length 19.6 mm (n = 11). Dorsal ground colour on both wings dark brown (10 YR 4 / 4), Hindwing (HW) with five brown (10 YR 2 / 1) spot patterns variable in size in cells M 1 -M 2, CuA 1 -CuA 2 and 1 A- 2 A, with bow-shaped burnt yellow marks on upperside. Subterminally whitish (2.5 Y 8 / 1), bordering the spot patterns, and two whitish (2.5 Y 8 / 1) marginal bands between three brown (7.5 YR 3 / 2) marginal lines on HW. Ventral ground colour light brown (10 YR 4 / 3) between basal and submedial areas with a two brown bands in this region (10 YR 3 / 6). Ground colour in medial to marginal area off-white (10 YR 8 / 1) with two off-white marginal bands as on the upperside. Series of six large ocelli on marginal HW bordered broadly with burnt yellow (10 YR 7 / 8) and with light blue-silver (Gley 2 8 / 5 BG) and black centres. Small scales on margins of HW. Legs: Dark brown (7.5 YR 3 / 2). Genitalia: ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 c) Uncus curved and apically pointed. Subuncus hook-shaped bending towards uncus and tapering to point, extending as far as tip of uncus. Valvae broad as uncus with flat mid-section and heavily sclerotized distal process with a pointed projection. Tegumen mitre-shaped. Aedeagus slightly bent with heavy sclerotized ostium with three spine-like projections ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 b).

FEMALE: Almost identical to male, paler brown ground colour and broader yellow marks with lighter submarginal bands in FW upperside. Genitalia: Bursa elongate, paired signa composed of two narrow bands with a dense set of continuous teeth, signa two thirds length of bursa. Cervix highly sclerotized at base with distinctive shape illustrated in Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 d.

Distribution. S. mercedes   n. sp. is known only from three localities in the Amazon region and eastern slopes of the Andes of Peru, from the foothills to premontane forest, between 170 and 1250 m elevation ( Figure 2 a View FIGURE 2. A ). The Pucacuro River basin is a tropical rain forest with an annual mean temperature of 26 °C, mean annual rainfall of 2400mm and 80–100 % HR ( Calle 2001). The forest at km 18 is secondary and at the top of a steep ridge ( Figure 2 View FIGURE 2. A b). The two most similar species, S. toynei   and S. ackeryi   , are among the few Splendeuptychia   found at similar elevations, but both occur further north in the Andes. These three species may have similar habitat requirements but have become isolated from one another, in the case of S. ackeryi   and S. toynei   by the high Andes, and in the case of S. toynei   and the foothill populations of S. mercedes   n. sp. perhaps by the Marañon valley.

Host plant. Beccaloni et al. (2007) listed Poaceae   , mainly Bambusoidae, as the larval hosts of various species of Splendeuptychia   but the host plant of S. mercedes   n. sp. and its immature stages remain unknown. Recent field observations of S. ackeryi   in northern Colombia were made in a forest dominated by bamboo (B. Huertas, unpubl. obs.).

Etymology. The specific epithet mercedes   refers to La Merced, the locality where the species was apparently first collected. It is formed as a non-variable foreign (Spanish) language word that is also a personal name.

Conservation. Numerous endemic and threatened species (mostly birds) have been reported from the Pucacuro river basin, mainly in the middle and high sections, indicating the pristine status of the forest here ( Pekka 2001). Local community efforts began in 1993 to establish a Natural Reserve in the area comprising more than 600,000 ha. These properties were consolidated into the national protected area network through INRENA (Peruvian Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales) as the Pucacuro Reserved Zone (Spanish: Reserva Comunal Pucacuro) in 2005. Splendeuptychia mercedes   n. sp. was collected on the border of this protected area. Therefore, at least in this region, the species seems currently to be protected. However, it is the hope that this paper, by raising awareness of the discovery of S. mercedes   , n. sp., will enhance and better justify conservation in the Pucacuro area.

Despite the few specimens of S. mercedes   n. sp. in collections, this species appears to have a relatively broad geographical distribution, although all known localities to date are in Peru ( Fig. 2 View FIGURE 2. A b). Based on the known locality data and using DIVA-GIS it was estimated that S. mercedes   n. sp. has a geographical range (extent of occurrence) of approximately 55000 km 2, of which about 4 % has already been lost to habitat modification. The area of occupancy was calculated to be about 75000 km 2. However, the small number of available localities means that these are quite rough estimates (see Pearson et al. 2007). More records are needed to obtain a better understanding of the distribution of this species. Fieldwork on the eastern slopes of the Andes in northern Peru and adjacent Amazonian regions may result in more localities being discovered. However, widespread habitat modification has already occurred to the natural vegetation at one of the known localities, ‘km 18 ’, mostly to agriculture and human colonisation ( Stattersfield et al. 1998; N. Rosser pers. comm.).

Following current IUCN threat categories, Splendeuptychia mercedes   n. sp. would qualify for Vulnerable status under criterion D 2 (populations with a very restricted area of occupancy (number of locations five or fewer) such that it is prone to the effects of human activities or stochastic events within a very short time period) ( IUCN 2001). However, formal assignment of this status to S. mercedes   n. sp. is probably premature at present, due to lack of data on distribution. More fieldwork is needed to investigate whether this species has a wider range across Peru or if there are further isolated populations.














Splendeuptychia mercedes Huertas

Huertas, Blanca 2011


Lamas 2004: 222