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The case of the 26 year old New U.S. Record of
Black-bordered Tegosa (Tegosa anieta)

By Michael A. Quinn*

During the first week of 2003, I was corresponding with Michael Overton of Boone, Iowa about Paul Opler and Andrew Warren's recently published Scientific Names List. In an email, I noted that they included Tegosa anieta in their checklist, possibly based on Raymond Neck's inclusion of this species in his 1996 Texas butterfly field guide, but that neither Edward Knudson, Charles Bordelon, nor I knew the source of the record. 

Overton replied that there's a Texas specimen of this species in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LACM) as published in Ferris' 1989 Supplement. Overton contacted Brian Harris, Curatorial Assistant of the LACM who reported the following label data for the specimen:

TEXAS: Nacogdoches Co. 
Lake San Rayburn
on buttonbush flowers
coll. M. Wolfe

I emailed Edward Riley (Collections Manager at Texas A&M University), Chris Durden, Knudson and Bordelon to see if they knew of an "M. Wolfe". Durden suggested it might be Mimi Wolfe, a Victor Emanuel Nature Tour (VENT) leader. He thought she was in Nacogdoches at that time. In the process of tracking her down, I realized that her name is spelled "Wolf" (without an "e"), but I decided to call her anyway as the pieces otherwise seemed fit so well.

In reaching her by phone, she said that she distinctly remembered the day that she collected the specimen!!!

Mimi Hoppe Wolf 
1285 Don Corley Dr.
Nacogdoches, Texas 75965

Wolf is a former butterfly collector who went on to become an accomplished artist, horse breeder and birder. (She said that she also remembered meeting Durden once. Seems that they co-led a VENT Tour as naturalists on the River Amazon!) 

I re-contacted Harris to confirm the spelling of "Wolfe" on the label, which he did. This is odd as Mimi said she labeled it herself... 

Tegosa anieta is briefly mentioned in a few U.S. publications (see References), but the only field guide in which it's listed as an accepted species is Neck's Texas butterfly guide. Tegosa anieta can be quite common in southern Tamaulipas, Mexico.

*Invertebrate Biologist
Wildlife Diversity Branch
Texas Parks & Wildlife
3000 South IH-35, Suite 100
Austin, Texas 78704


Atlas of Western USA Butterflies, Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico
Raymond E. Stanford and Paul A. Opler. 1993.
Denver and Fort Collins. Privately Printed
["Phyciodes anieta" mapped for Nacogdoches Co., TX and Tamaulipas, MX.]

The Common Names of North American Butterflies. 
Jacqueline Y. Miller (Ed. & contributor) with S. M. Borkin, C. D. Ferris, J. Hinchliff, D. Matthews Lott, L. D. Miller, R. M. Pyle, O. Shields, and J. H. Shepard. 1992. 
Smithsonian Press, Washington, D. C., 177 pp. 
[pg 88: "Tegosa anieta luka" listed, but without a common name.]

A Field Guide to Butterflies of Texas
Raymond W. Neck, 1996.
Gulf Publishing Co., Houston (out of print
[The singular U.S. butterfly field guide to include this species as valid. However, the range is given (in part) as: "Venezuela to Mexico and extreme southern U.S.; Texas-very rare stray to Rio Grande Valley." Common name listed as "Anieta". pg 129]

A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. 
Paul A. Opler and Vichai Malikul. 1998. 
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston 
[pg 350: Tegosa anieta luka Higgins, listed as "Hypothetical Species in Eastern North America".]

Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, North of Mexico 
Paul A. Opler & Andrew D. Warren, 2002
Gillette Publications, Fort Collins, CO (Updated PDF version)
[Binomial with author listed without further annotation.]

Supplement to: A Catalogue/Checklist of the Butterflies of America North of Mexico.
Clifford D. Ferris. ed. 1989. 
The Lepidopterists' Society, Memoir No.3. (out of print
[pg. 46: "There is a specimen from Texas of this species in the LACM" and "The subspecific assignment is based solely on geography and is tentative."]


-----Original Message-----
From: David E. Wolf []
Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2003 2:49 PM
To: Mike Quinn
Subject: Tegosa label

Dear Mike,

How exciting to be formally recognized in retrospect for what seemed such an insignificant event at the time!

In thinking about it, I believe that I probably had just written the collecting data on the glassine envelope in which the specimen was deposited.  It was sent unspread to Dan Jundanian, who was in fact, probably the one who prepared the specimen and would have written the label.  It is a VERY common thing for others to add an "e" at the end of Wolf, so that is not at all surprising to me.

Yesterday afternoon after talking with you, I was unable to relocate the letter from him that had resurfaced during a recent round of desk-cleaning.  Either I put it somewhere "safe" that I cannot now recall, or else I disposed of it. ( I can't imagine I would have done that after all this time, but maybe so...)

In looking back through David's [Mimi's husband] notebooks, he had noted that the summer of 1977 was an exceptionally hot and dry period for East Texas.  The water level at Lake Sam Rayburn was extremely low, and the lakebed was overgrown with grass and other vegetation.  We were looking for early migrant birds, but found an abundance of butterflies in the receding lakebed, including the small, unassuming orange one that, although I could not identify, did not strike me as anything to get excited about.  I remember wondering whether to even send it to Mr. Jundanian, as he had asked for showy East Texas specimens, such as Eastern Tiger Swallowtail for his collection, but decided to include it anyway along with the more eye-catching larger specimens. 

So he must be credited, too for attempting to identify it.

Funny how things work sometimes...




11 May 2003 / Main South Texas Page