Butterflies with Type Localities in Nebraska – Smoky Eyed Brown – Lethe eurydice fumosus (Leussler 1916)

This is another butterfly Richard Leussler (that man again – see Jan 8 post) named, this time as a subspecies. The name he originally gave the butterfly was Satyrodes canthus n. v. fumosus but the genus was later changed to Lethe and the species to eurydice. So the current name is Lethe eurydice fumosus (Leussler, 1916). The type locality is listed as “Sarpy County, south of Omaha, Nebraska”, probably near present day Fontenelle Forest.

This species is an inhabitant of wetlands, marshes and low lying riparian habitats. The Nebraska Natural Heritage Program has this butterfly listed as a Tier 1 species (see June 14 2020 post). It flies in a single generation each year from late June through mid July. Larvae feed on various sedges. Last year I found it in abundance along Victoria Creek below Victoria Springs State Recreation Area in Custer County (see June 28 2020 post) and again at marshy/riparian areas at the Niobrara Valley Preserve in Brown and Keya Paha Counties. Jon Nikkila found and photographed others at the North Loup River just north of Brewster in Blaine county (photo above) and Smith Falls State Park.

Click on the link below to see the actual type specimens. They are in amazing shape for being over 100 years old. Properly cared for pinned specimens (kept out of light to prevent fading, kept dry to prevent bacterial/fungal decomposition and fumigated to prevent dermestid beetles from eating them) can theoretically last forever. Or at least 100 years.

Lethe eurydice fumosus (type specimens) (butterfliesofamerica.com)

Lastly here is the latest updated distribution map of the Smoky Eyed Brown in the state of Nebraska.

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