Butterflies with Type Localities in Nebraska – Nebraska and Kohler’s Fritillaries with an updated distribution map

Let’s revisit a theme from the Jan 2 post (butterflies with type localities in Nebraska). The Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) currently has eight named subspecies spread across the northern half of the United States. Among these eight two are named from type localities in Nebraska. The first B. selene nebraskensis (W. Holland, 1928) was named from specimens from Dodge County, Nebraska. Mr. Holland described this subspecies from four males given him by E. A. Dodge. His justification for elevation to a new subspecies was that they were larger (by some 25%) than eastern specimens (subspecies myrina). A lectotype (type specimen designated later) is housed at the Canadian Museum of Natural History in Ottawa, Ontario.

The other subspecies with a Nebraska type locality is Boloria selene sabulocollis Kohler, 1977. Sabulocollis is Latin for “sand hills”. This subspecies was described from specimens found at Smith Lake, Sheridan County, Nebraska, in Nebraska’s sand hills region. Mr. Kohler believed this population deserved designation as a subspecies on the basis that the median black lunules of the ventral hindwing are “square shaped” rather than oblate and elongated. A holotype (actual type specimen) is housed at the American Museum of Natural History. in Manhattan, NY.

In Nebraska there can be considerable variation within a population at any given locality. As you can see the two subspecies are rather weakly differentiated (my opinion). Perhaps the differences are clearer to you. But that’s what taxonomists do.

Nebraska Game and Parks has both subspecies listed as tier 1 in the Nebraska Natural Heritage Program (see the June 14 2020 post). Last year I found this butterfly near Worms (July 6 post), at the Niobrara Valley Preserve (August 31 post) and at a wetland north of North Platte.

This butterfly inhabits marshes/wetlands and is triple brooded in Nebraska with spring, mid and late summer flights. In Nebraska it is largely restricted to the the Platte River valley and marshy areas to the north, often near riparian areas associated with the Niobrara, Dismal, Calamus, and Loup Rivers as well as sand hills marshes. One notable exception is a single specimen taken by Austin Joy from a moist dale at Cather Prairie south of Red Cloud (Webster County) on a UNK field trip. Had I not been there that would have been another record I would have had a hard time believing.

Silver-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775) | Butterflies and Moths of North America

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