former Perisama ambatensis phenix (carretera Loja Zamora 1600 m)


Perisama lebasii koenigi (tipo)


many changes have been made in this Group taxonomy between the publication of Attal & Crosson du Cormier book (1996) and today.

we try to see a clear picture on the new facts page.

ambatensis, lebasii, koenigi, hilara species overview

A - subspecies
we have two key sources of information :
1 -  Attal & Crosson du Cormier 1996 book where there are six taxons in this Group of species, and
2 -  ButterfliesofAmerica where, as of today (august 2023) there are also six taxons in this same group of species, things look promising, but

 for two of these taxons nothing has changed :
         -    lebasii lebasii is still lebasii lebasii (Eastern Colombia), and
         -    lebasii astuta is still lebasii astuta (Western Colombia),
three of these taxons have been downgraded to the subspecies level :
         -    ambatensis becomes lebasii ambatensis (upper Pastaza valley)
         -    koenigi becomes lebasii koenigi (Southern Ecuador and North of Peru), and
         -    hilara becomes lebasii hilara (Central Peru),

but things are different for the last taxon.

BoA has a lebasii selva from Northern Ecuador, but this species was described in 1997, so it cannot be in Attal & Crosson du Cormier book published in 1996.

So what happened to the sixth taxon of Attal & Crosson du Cormier, Perisama ambatensis phenix ?
It is on BoA indeed, but under the P. lebasii koenigi name, which does not make sense as these two butterflies are completely different looking, as can be seen on the first page pictures, and the real koenigi seems to be very rare in Ecuador – we never saw one – when “phenix” is rather common in the Loja area.

As we need a name for this taxon we provisionally call it « Perisama lebasii phenix ».

B - ambatensis
according to Authorities, in Ecuador lebasii would only fly in three areas :
- selva near the Colombian border, a small zone around la Bonita,
- ambatensis in the Center, the upper Pastaza valley,
- phenix and koenigi in the South, Zamora Chinchipe (even though we think koenigi should be a species and not a lebasii ssp).

but, uncommon as this species may be, we nevertheless saw and collected lebasii from Baeza to Méndez, and these specimens have to belong to some subspecies ! as they look just like ambatensis, we see no point in describing a new ssp, and we consider them to be ambatensis ; so we think that this ssp would not be restricted to the upper Pastaza valley, but would be the regular ssp of Ecuador Oriente, between 1700 and 2000 meters, with one record at 2600 m.

C - ambatensis and phenix
. we found ambatensis from Baeza down to Méndez, 
. we found phenix in the South, but also near Macas,
. several of our specimens are obviously somewhere between ambatensis and phenix
so we ask the question : could they be the same ssp with a North-South cline, with, on the FW:
- in the North wide green stripes on the UP, and no red on the UN,
- in the South, narrow blue stripes on the UP, and solid red basal and discal areas on the UN ?

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