LibytheaAkito Y. Kawahara, Niklas Wahlberg, and Andrew V. Z. Brower
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The genus Libythea includes nine extant species and two fossils. Adults typically land at damp spots on the ground, and visit flowers in low elevation mountains. The male typically is territorial, and both sexes cryptically rest on branches. Most species are found in forests and disturbed habitats, and usually have one or two annual generations. The egg is generally laid on buds of Celtis (Celtidaceae), and in nearly all cases, the larva feeds on leaves of this plant genus.
At least one non-fossil species is presumed extinct: Libythea cinyras Trimen, known only from the holotype specimen collected on Mauritius in 1866. The specimen is in poor condition, as it lacks a head and abdomen, and is stored in the type collection at the Natural History Museum in London. The life histories of L. collenettei Poulton & Riley (Marquesas Islands) and L. narina Godart (Southeast Asia) also remain unknown. For further information on the natural history of Libythea, refer to Kawahara (2006).
Species of Libythea share at least seven characteristics that can be used to distinguish them from Libytheana (Kawahara, in press):
- R3 of forewing with base closer to fork of R4+R5 than discal cell
- band between forewing M1 and M3 closer to wing margin than discal cell
- quadrifid eighth abdominal tergum
- saccus narrow and pointed anteriorly
- aedeagus sigmoid
- enlarged female seventh abdominal sternum
- signa present on inner surface of corpus bursae
Phylogenetic relationships of Libythea species still remain somewhat tentative. Morphological data strongly support the relationships of the following groups: (Libythea celtis , Libythea lepita)(Libythea geoffroyi , Libythea narina)(Libythea labdaca , Libythea laius), but the placement of Libythea cinyras, Libythea collenettei, Libythea myrrha, and the two fossil taxa remain uncertain.
Kawahara, A. Y. 2006. Biology of the snout butterflies (Nymphalidae: Libytheinae), Part 1: Libythea Fabricius. Transactions of the Lepidopterological Society of Japan 57(1): 13-33.
Kawahara, A. Y. (accepted). Revision of the Extant and Fossil Snout Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Libytheinae). Thomas Say Publications in Entomology, Monographs. Lanham, Maryland.
Akito Y. Kawahara
University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
University of Turku, Finland
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Akito Y. Kawahara at , Niklas Wahlberg at , and Andrew V. Z. Brower at
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- First online 25 September 2006
- Content changed 18 May 2009
Citing this page:
Kawahara, Akito Y., Niklas Wahlberg, and Andrew V. Z. Brower. 2009. Libythea http://tolweb.org/Libythea/12184/2009.05.18 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 18 May 2009 (under construction).