Yes, I believe it is one thing with butterfly classification, that the taxonomists certainly do not agree. I believe it is the same with D. roepkei, the Delias website has it as a good species, while others place it as a subspecies of D. mira.
I would be interested to know if there are other collectors of Delias butterflies on InsectNet. com Forum. Have a day.
I think this is a good place to show a link to "Delving into Delias" a paper by Chris Muller, Pavel F. Matos-Maravı and Luciano B. Beheregaray. The abstract states : "Aim: Our objective was to reconstruct a species-level phylogeny of the genus Delias, to elucidate their finer-scale biogeography and to test boundaries between closely related taxa. Location Indo-Australian region, with a focus on Wallacea. Methods Sequence data from 131 taxa, representing all recognized species groups and more than half of the known species of Delias, were used in the analysis. Phylogenetic analyses based on molecular characters of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and nuclear genes wingless and elongation factor 1a (EF-1a) were carried out using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference. Biogeographical reconstructions were undertaken using the parsimony-based method dispersal–vicariance analysis and the dispersal–extinction– cladogenesis model as implemented in rasp and Lagrange, respectively."
Its quite a technical paper and needs a good knowledge of DNA etc to be fully understood. But I'm sure some of our Delias enthusiasts will find it fascinating.
By the way after seeing Mr Nomads pics of D roepkei I searched through my old stock (I used to be an insect trader) and found I still have several papered specimens from IFTA labeled "D mira, Kerowagi".
Yes there are many active Delias collectors here, including some with very impressive collections.
About Delias mira roepkei, it has been raised as a full species by van Mastrigt when they discover the ssp. cieko in W. Papua, very far from Kerowagi. Many other specialists think both cieko and roepkei are ssp of Delias mira.
One argument for the full species status was that among specimens labelled "Kerowagi", we can find both Delias roepkei roepkei and Delias mira excelsa. But "Kerowagi" is often used on labels by local collectors for specimens from the whole region...
From what I have seen from "serious" material, all roepkei come from Kerowagi area, and all excelsa (much rarer in collection) come from Wau area. So for me, both populations are not sympatric and could be 2 different ssp.
Some other Delias collectors will think differently.
David, be careful with your Delias from the IFTA, they were very often badly identified. Let's say that 99% of their "Delias (mira) excelsa" are indeed "Delias (mira) roepkei". They contributed a lot to this whole mess. The Wau Institute was the supplier of real "excelsa".
True that the work of Chris Muller on Delias is truly fantastic !
Last Edit: Jul 4, 2013 6:07:06 GMT -8 by wollastoni
David, fascinating paper by Chris Muller. Olivier, interesting information on D. roepkei. I had a marvellous day today visiting the collections at the Hope Department of Entomology at Oxford. I enjoyed seeing the Delias collection and was surprised to find many specimens that were collected by A.S. Meek and A.E. Pratt and sons. I have been given permission to go back to view and catalogue the Delias collection. I very much look forward to my next visit and would like to thank James Hogan for his time and help. Here is a specimen of one of the rarest of the New Guinea Delias collected by A.S. Meek held at Hope. I believe this Delias species is unlike any other and when I saw it today I was amazed. Just wonderful.
Delias bornemanni [Ribbe 1900] with original data.
I do wish that I had bornemanni in my collection, I was surprised to see one at Hope. Some lovely rarities shown from Olivier's very extensive collection hopefully we will see more. Nice to see that Lepidofrance has his self caught Delias from New Guinea. What I was would like to know, are there many others that specialist in Delias here, it would be nice to see their Delias rarities from New Guinea and its Islands. Regards Peter.
Hi Chris, welcome to the forum. Thank you for posting your lovely image of the historic D. callista A.S. Meek specimen. I believe one of several species that Meek discovered on Mount Goliath when he joined the Dutch Eilanden River expedition during 1911.
Charles Pratt discovered Delias castaneus [Kenrick 1909] high in the Arfak Mountains of Western New Guinea at Warmasin during 1908. This is one of his original series of specimens that he captured. [OUNHM collection]
Delias kummeri [Ribbe 1900] was discovered by E. Weiske at the Aroa River in the Owen Stanley Range in the then British New Guinea during 1899. The specimen of D. kummeri shown is from the H. Grose-Smith collection and was presented to the OUMNH by James John Joicey of the private Hill museum. Emil weiske [1867-1950] was a German collector who discovered a number of butterflies in the Owen Stanley Range, including Delias Bornemanni and Delias Weiskei, both of which have been shown in this thread. He is perhaps best known for discovering the famous and very beautiful Graphuim weskei which was named in his honour. A.S. Meek on his very successful expeditions to the Aroa River during 1903 and 1905 would encounter most of the species that were previously found by E. Weiske. Meek was most anxious to obtain the new butterflies for Lord Rothschild, especially the new Papilio. He wrote in 1903 " I was now at some 3000 feet high, and I was encouraged by the sight of a very beautiful butterfly, Papilio weiskei, named after a German collector who had spent some months in the district previously. I was anxious to obtain specimens of it, and I was determined to make my headquarters' camp at that spot with a secondary camp at a higher elevation" At the higher camp near the head of the Aroa River Meek mentions that he made a very fine collection of Delias butterflies and goes on to say " All the butterflies are found near the creeks. I suppose it is because it is warmer at night there. I sent collectors up the mountain until I was tired; they never got anything. It was in the gullies and creeks the butterflies were found. The Delias fly up and down the creeks about twelve feet off the ground and until I found out how to catch them we got very few. The successful lure was to fix an old specimen on a leaf in the sun with the wings outspread; the others could not resist that. It was like attracting parrots with a wounded one of their number. The purple shouldered Papilio we only got in one place, at a soakage close to a creek bank. The Delias, I found all feed on mistletoe as caterpillars. It seems all of one kind, but I fancy that, as it grows on the different trees, so it takes slightly different characteristics and forms the foodplant of the several butterflies" The Alfred Stewart Meek extracts are from his fabulous book, A Naturalist in Cannibal Land [ 1913].
A Specimen of Delias Kummeri kummeri captured by Emil Weiske at the Aroa River. Download Attachment
Delias clathrata limata? [ Rothschild 1904 ]. A rare species in collections. The two specimens shown here were taken at Kerowagi in the Chimbu Province, Papua during 1978 and 1991 [Andrews coll ]. This butterfly was discovered by A. S. Meek in the Owen Stanley Range.
Delias albertisi is a large and magnificent Delias species. Delias albertisi was first discovered by the Italian explorer Luigi D, Albertis [ 1841-1901]on Mount Hattam in the Arfak Mountains in 1872 and described and named in his honour by Charles Oberthur [1845-1924] in 1880. Albertis is famous for his exploration and exploits on the Fly River in Papua New Guinea where he was the first to use ' military rockets' in that Island. Below are two specimens from my collection.
Delias albertisi albertisi Arfak Mountain 1999. Male and female in that order.