Welcome to Identities of the “Taygetis” butterflies of Costa Rica

During an extensive ongoing campaign to assemble a species inventory and DNA barcode library of the Lepidoptera of Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica (http://www.bolinfonet.org/casestudy/index.php/display/study/20), a problem arose concerning the identity of Taygetis andromeda (Cramer, 1776). This common satyrine, recorded throughout much of South and Central America, is listed as T. andromeda in the standard butterfly guide for Costa Rica (DeVries 1987) and was inventoried under this name in the ACG for 25 years (Janzen & Hallwachs, 2010; http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/). A high intra-specific sequence divergence was observed between two clusters of "T.andromeda" DNA barcodes - 3% compared with 0.5%, the average conspecific K2P distance reported for Lepidoptera by Hajibabaei et al. (2006; http://www.pnas.org/content/103/4/968.full) - prompting an investigation of the identity of the clusters.

Further work incorporating DNA barcoding and consultation with expert taxonomists revealed two species diagnosable by their DNA barcodes and wing patterns (Janzen et al. 2009; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-0998.2009.02628.x/full). However, the name T. andromeda, a junior primary homonym of Papilio andromeda Fabricius, could not be applied to either species.

The deep divergence within Taygetis andromeda also initiated a broader review of the taxonomic status of other Taygetis known from Costa Rica. Of the roughly 27 species in Taygetis (Lamas 2004; http://www.ucl.ac.uk/taxome/tabd/php/taxonomy.php?family=&valid=on&subfa...), a genus in need of revision (Marin et al. 2011; http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1519-566X2011000...), DeVries (1987) lists 11 species in Costa Rica, five of which have been reared by the ACG inventory (Janzen & Hallwachs 2010; http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/).

The goal of this scratchpad is to review and determine the valid scientific names for each Taygetis species for incorporation into the ACG inventory. Our findings and conclusions reflect co-operation from expert taxonomists, literature surveys, examining images of type specimens (where available; e.g. http://butterfliesofamerica.com/), study of wing characters and screening publicly available homologous DNA sequences collected from other inventories (e.g. http://nymphalidae.utu.fi/db.php).

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith