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Vladimir Nabokov. Articles about butterflies


Last summer (1951) I decided to visit Telluride, San Miguel County, Colorado, in order to search for the unknown female of what I had described as Lycaeides argyrognomon sublivens in 1949 (Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., vol. 101: p. 513) on the strength of nine males in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard, which had been taken in the vicinity of Telluride half a century ago. L. sublivens is an isolated southern representative (the only known one south of northwestern Wyoming, southeast of Idaho, and east of California) of the species (the holarctic argyrognomon Bergstr.=idas auct.) to which anna Edw., scudderi Edw., aster Edw., and six other nearctic subspecies belong. I bungled my family's vacation but got what I wanted. Owing to rains and floods, especially noticeable in Kansas, most of the drive from New York State to Colorado was entomologically uneventful. When reached at last, Telluride turned out to be a damp, unfrequented, but very spectacular cul-de-sac (which a prodigious rainbow straddied every evening) at the end of two converging roads, one from Placerville, the other from Dolores, both atrocious. There is one motel, the optimistic and excellent Valley View Court where my wife and I stayed, at 9,000 feet altitude, from the 3rd to the 29th of July, walking up daily to at least 12,000 feet along various more or less steep trails in search of sublivens. Once or twice Mr. Homer Reid of Telluride took us up in his jeep. Every morning the sky would be of an impeccable blue at 6 a.m. when I set out. The first innocent cloudlet would scud across at 7:30 a.m. Bigger fellows with darker bellies would start tampering with the sun around 9 a.m., just as we emerged from the shadow of the cliffs and trees onto good hunting grounds. Everything would be cold and gloomy half an hour later. At around 10 a.m. there would come the daily electric storm, in several installments, accompanied by the most irritatingly close lightning I have ever encountered anywhere in the Rockies, not excepting Longs Peak, which is saying a good deal, and followed by cloudy and rainy weather through the rest of the day. After 10 days of this, and despite diligent subsequent exploration, only one sparse colony of sublivens was found. On that one spot my wife found a freshly emerged male on the 15th. Three days later I had the pleasure of discovering the unusual-looking female. Between the 15th and the 28th, a dozen hours of windy but passable collecting weather in all (not counting the hours and hours uselessly spent in mist and rain) yielded only 54 specimens, of which 16 were females. Had I been younger and weighed less, I might have perhaps got another 50, but hardly much more than that, and, possibly, the higher ridges I vainly investigated between 12,000 and 14,000 feet at the end of July, in the magdalena-snowi-centaureae zone, might have produced sublivens later in the season. The colony I found was restricted to one very steep slope reaching from about 10,500 to a ridge at 11,000 feet and towering over Tomboy Road between "Social Tunnel" and "Bullion Mine." The slope was densely covered with a fine growth of lupines in flower (Lupinus parviflorus Nuttall, which did not occur elsewhere along the trail) and green gentians (the tall turrets of which were assiduously patronized by the Broad-Tailed Hummingbird and the White-Striped Hawkmoth). This lupine, which in the mountains of Utah is the food-plant of an alpine race of L. melissa (annetta Edw.), proved to be also the host of L. sublivens. The larva pupates at its base, and in dull weather a few specimens of both sexes of the imago could be found settled on the lower leaves and stems, the livid tone of the butterflies' undersides nicely matching the tint of the plant. The female of sublivens is of a curiously arctic appearance, completely different from the richly pigmented, regionally sympatric, locoweed- and alfalfa-feeding L. melissa or from the melissa-Vike females of Wyoming and Idaho argyrognomon (idas) races, and somewhat resembling argyrognomon (idas) forms from northwestern Canada and Alaska (see for instance in the above-mentioned work, p. 501 and plate 8, fig. 112). It also recalls a certain combination of characters that crops up in L. melissa annetta. Here is a brief description of L. sublivens female: Upper-side of a rather peculiar, smooth, weak brown, with an olivaceous cast in the living insect; more or less extensively dusted with cinder-blue scales; triangulate greyish blue inner cretules generally present in the hindwing and often accompanied by some bluish or greyish bleaching in the radial cells of the forewing; aurorae reduced: short and dullish in the hindwing, blurred or absent in the forewing, tending to disappear in both wings and almost completely absent in 3 specimens; lunulate pale greyish blue outer cretules very distinct in both wings; underside similar to that of the male. Deposited: 20 males and 10 females in the Cornell University collection, and 18 males and 6 females in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. Published in The Lepidopterists' News, New Haven, Conn., Vol. 6, August 8, 1952, pp. 35-36.


In connection with "Blues," I wish to correct two or three slips in Professor Alexander B. Klots' important and delightful hook (A Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America, East of the Great Plains, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1951). On p. 166 there is a misprint: "Center (formerly Karner)" should be, of course, "Karner (formerly Center)." Incidentally I visit the place every time I happen to drive (as I do yearly in early June) from lthaca to Boston and can report that, despite local picnickers and the hideous garbage they leave, the lupines and Lycaeides samuelis Nab. are still doing as fine under those old gnarled pines along the railroad as they did ninety years ago. On p. 165, another, more unfortunate transposition occurs: "When fawn colored, more vivid in tone" should refer not to Lycaeides argyrognomon {idas\ but to L. melissa, while "wings beneath, when fawn colored, duller in tone" should refer not to L. melissa but to L. argyrognomon {Idas] (see my "Nearctic Lycaeides," Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., vol. 101: p. 541:1949). On pp. 162-164, the genus Brephidium (in company with two others) is incorrectly placed between Hemiargus and Lycaeides. I have shown in my paper on Neotropical Plebejinae (Psyche, vol. 52: pp. 1-61; 1945) that Hemiargus {sensu lato) and Lycaeides belong to the same group (subfamily Plebejinae-- or supergenus Plebejus; the rank does not matter but the relationship does). Brepbidium, of course, stands on the very outskirts of the family, in a highly specialized group, immeasurably further removed from Hemiargus or Lycaeides than, say, Lycaena. This is where my subfamilies come in handy since at least they keep related things in one bunch and eject intruders. Views may differ in regard to the hierarchic element in the classification I adopt, but no one has questioned so far the fact of the structural relationship and phylogenetic circumstances I mean it to reflect. The whole interest of Hemiargus is that it is allied to Lycaeides etc., while bearing a striking superficial resemblance to an African group with which it does not have the slightest structural affinity. Systematics, I think, should bring out such points and not keep them blurred in the haze of tradition. I am perfectly willing to demote the whole of my "subfamily" Plebejinae to a supergenus or genus Plebejus (Plebejus ceraunus, isola, thomasi, idas, melissa, aquilo, saepiolus, etc.) but only under the condition that it include exactly the same species, in the same groupings ("subgenera" or numbered sections, as you will) and in the same sequence of groups, without intrusions from groups assigned structurally to other "subfamilies" (and then, of course, lygda-mus, battoides, and piasus should be all in Scolitantides or its equivalent). However, I still think that the formality of generic nances for the groupings is a better method than going by numbers, etc. Names are also easier to handle in works on zoological distribution when it is important to bring out the way a group is represented in different regions of the world. Generally speaking, systematics is not directly concerned with the convenience of collectors in their dealings with small local faunas. It should attempt to express structural affinities and divergences, suggest certain phylogenetic lines, relate local developments to global ones-- and help lumpers to sort out properly the ingredients of their lumps. The Lepidopterists' News, Vol. 6, August 8, 1952, p. 41


A visit to Wyoming by car in July-- August 1952 was devoted to collecting in the following places: Southeastern Wyoming: eastern Medicine Bow National Forest, in the Snowy Range, up to approximately 10,500 ft. alt. (using paved road 130 between Laramie and Saratoga); sagebrush country, approximately 7,000 ft. alt., between Saratoga and Encampment, east of paved highway 230; marshes at about the same elevation between eastern Medicine Bow National Forest and Northgate, northern Colorado, within 15 miles from the Wyoming State Line, mainly south of the unpaved road 127; and W. Medicine Bow National Forest, in the Sierra Madre, using the abominable local road from Encampment to the Continental Divide (approximately 9,500 ft. alt.). Western Wyoming: sagebrush, approximately 6,500 ft. alt. immediately east of Dubois along the (well-named) Wind River; western Shoshone and Teton National Forests, following admirable paved road 26, from Dubois towards Moran over Togwotee Pass (9,500 ft. alt.); near Moran, on Buffalo River, approximately 7,000 ft. alt.; traveling through the construction hell of the city of Jackson, and bearing southeast along paved 187 to The Rim (7,900 ft. alt.); and, finally, spending most of August in collecting around the altogether enchanting little town of Afton (on paved 89, along the Idaho border), approximately 7,000 ft. alt., mainly in canyons east of the town, and in various spots of Bridger National Forest, Southwestern part, along trails up to 9,000 ft. alt. Most of the material collected has gone to the Cornell University Museum; the rest to the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Comparative Zoology. The best hunting grounds proved to be: the Sierra Madre at about 8,000 ft. alt., where on some forest trails I found among other things a curious form (? S. secreta dos Passos & Grey) of Speyeria egleis Bchr flying in numbers with S. atlantis hesperis Edw. and S. hydaspepurpurascensti. Edw., a very eastern locality for the latter; still better were the forests, meadows, and marshes about Togwotee Pass in the third week of July, where the generally early emergences of the season were exemplified by great quantities of Erebia theona ethda Edw. and E. callias callias Edw. already on the wing; very good, too, were some of the canyons near Afton. Here are a few notes on w^hat interested me most in the field: Boloria, Colias, certain Blues, and migratory or at least "mobile" species. Of Boloria I got seven species, of the eight (or possibly ten) that occur within the region. Plunging into the forest south of route 130 on the western slopes of the Snowy Range, I found B. selene tollandensis B & McD. not uncommon on a small richly flowered marsh at about 8,000 ft. alt.; also on marshes north of Northgate and on Togwotee Pass. On July 8, I spent three hours collecting a dozen fresh specimens of B. eunomia alticola B &: McD., both sexes, on a tiny very wet marsh along the eastern lip of the last lake before reaching Snowy Range Pass from the west, possibly the same spot where Klots had taken it in 1935 (Journ. N. Y. Ent. Soc. 45: p. 326; 1937). I met with the same form on a marsh near Peacock Lake, Longs Peak, Colorado, in 1947. Forms of B. Mania Esp. (mostly near ssp. helena Edw.) were abundant everywhere above 7,500 ft. alt. By the end of July B. freija Thunb. was in tatters near Togwotee Pass (it had been on the wane in June, 1947, on marshes near Columbine Lodge, Estes Park; and on He-back River, Tetons, in early July, 1949). Of the beautiful B. frigga sagata B. & Benj. I took two шш (fresh but frayed) near Togwotee Pass. Of B. toddi Holland ssp. I took a very fresh ш in early July in the Snowy Range at 8,000 ft. alt. and a couple of days later, acting upon a hunch, I visited a remarkably repulsive-looking willow-bog, full of cowmerds and barbed wire, off route 127, and found there a largish form of B. toddi very abundant-- in fact, I have never seen. it as common anywhere in the west; unfortunately, the specimens, of which I kept a score or so, were mostly faded-- and very difficult to capture, their idea of sport being to sail to and fro over the fairly tall sallows that encompassed the many small circular areas (inhabited only by Plebeius saepiolus Boisd. and Polites utahensis Skin.) into which the bog \va.s divided by the shrubs. Another species I had never seen to be so common was B. kriembild Strecker which I found in all the willow-bogs near Togwotee Pass. In regard to Colias I could not discover what I wanted-- which was some geographical intergradation between C. scudderi Reakirt, which I suggest should be classified as C. palaeno scudderi (Reakirt) (common everywhere in the Medicine Bow National Forest), and C. pelidne skinneri Barnes (locally common near Togwotee Pass and above Afton). I was struck, however, by the identical ovipositing manners of C. scudderi and C. skinneri 99 which were common in the densest woods of their respective habitats, laying on Vac-cinium. I found C. meadi Edw. very common on Snowy Range Pass. It was also present at timberline near Tog-\votee Pass and east of it, below timberline, down to 8,000 ft. alt. in willow-bogs, where it was accompanied by another usually "Hudsonian" species, Lycaenasnowi Edw., the latter represented by undersized individuals. (In early July, 1951, near Telluride, Colorado, I found a colony of healthy Colias meadi and one of very sluggish Pargus cen-taureae freija Warren in aspen groves along a canyon at only 8,500 ft. alt.) On a slope near Togw^otee Pass at timberline I had the pleasure of discovering a strain of C. meadi with albinic 99. The species was anything but common there, but of the dozen 99 or so seen or caught, as many as three were albinic. Of these my wife and I took two, hers a dull white similar to C. hecla "pallida," mine slightly tinged with peach (the only other time I saw a white C. meadi was at the base of Longs Peak, 1947, where the species was extremely abundant). In 1949 and 1951, when collecting Lycaeides in the Tetons, all over Jackson Hole, and in the Yellowstone, I had found that to the north and east L. argyrognomon {idas) longinusNa.b. turns into L. argyrognomon (Idas) scudderi Edw. but I had not solved the problem of the L. melissa strain so prominent in some colonies of L. argyrognomon longinus (i.e. Black Tail Butte near Jackson). I had conjectured that hybridization occurs or had occurred with wandering low elevation L. melissa (the rather richly marked "Artemisian" L. melissa-- probably in need of some name) that follows alfalfa along roads as Plebeius saepiolus does clover. In result of my 1952 quest the situation appears as follows. The most northern point where typical L. longinus occurs is the vicinity of Moran, seldom below 7,000 ft. alt. and up to 11,000 at least. It spreads south at those altitudes for more than a thousand miles to the southern tip of Bridger National Forest but not much further (I have not found it, for instance, around Kemmerer). I have managed to find one L. melissa, a fresh c?, in August, 1952, in a dry field near Afton, less than a mile from the canyon into which both sexes of L. longinus descended from the woods above. At eastern points of the Bridger and Shoshone Forests, L. longinus stops definitely at The Rim, west of Bondurant, and at Brooks Lake (about 7,500 ft. alt.) some twenty miles west of Dubois. Very small colonies (seldom more than half-a-dozen specimens were taken in any one place) of L. melissa were found around Dubois at 6,500 ft. alt. or so (agricultural areas and the hot dry hills). A colony of typical (alpine) L. melissa melissa as described by Edwards, was found just above timberline in the Sierra Madre. The search for L. melissa in various windy and barren localities in the sagebrush zone in mid-July led to the finding of a rather unexpected Blue. This was Plebeius (Icarida) sbasta Edw., common in the parched plain at less than 7,000 ft. alt. between Saratoga and Encampment flying on sandy ground with Phyciodes mylitta barnesi Skinner, Satyrium fuliginosa Edw., and Neominois ridingsi Edw. It was also abundant all over the hot hills at 6,500 ft. alt. around Dubois where nothing much else occurred. T have not yet been able to compare my specimens with certain scries in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard, but I suggest that this low-altitude P. shasta is the true P. minnehaha Scudder while the alpine form which I found in enormous numbers above timberline in Estes Park (especially, on Twin Sisters) and which collectors, following Holland's mislead, call "minnehaha," is really an undescribed race. As to migratory species observed in Wyoming, 1952, I distinguish two groups: (1) latitudinal migrants-- moving within their zones of habitat mainly in a west-east (North America) or east-west (Europe) direction and capable of surviving a Canadian Zone winter in this or that stage. Mobile, individually wondering species of Plebeius and Colias belong to this group as well as our four erratically swarming Nympbalis species which hibernate in the imagi-nal stage. In early August the trails in Bridger National Forest were covered at every damp spot with millions of N. californica Boisd. in tippling groups of four hundred and more, and countless individuals were drifting in a steady stream along every canyon. It was interesting to find a few-specimens of the beautiful dark western form of N. j'album Boisd. & Lee. among the N. californica near Afton. (2) longitudinal migrants-- moving early in the season from subtropical homes to summer breeding places in the Nearc-tic region but not hibernating there in any stage. Vanessa cardui L. is a typical example. Its movements in the New-World are considerably less known than in the Old World (in eastern Europe, for instance, according to my own observations, migratory flights from beyond the Black Sea hit the south of the Crimea in April, and females, bleached and tattered, reach the Leningrad region early in June). In the first week of July, 1952, this species (offspring mainly) was observed in colossal numbers above timberline in the Snowy Range over which the first spring flock had passed on May 28, according to an intelligent ranger. A few specimens of Euptoieta daudia Cramer were in clover fields around Afton, western Wyoming, in August. Of Leptotes marina Reakirt, one ш was observed near Afton in August, with Apodemia mormo Felder and "Hemiargus" (Echinargus) isola Reakirt. Both A. mormo and E. isola plant very isolated small summer colonies on hot hillsides. The H. isola specimens, which I took also in Medicine Bow National Forest, are all tiny ones, an obvious result of seasonal environment, not subspeciation. H. isola (incidentally, this is not a Latin adjective, but a fancy name-- an Italian noun originally-- and cannot be turned into "isolus" to comply with the gender of the generic name, as done by some writers) belongs to a neotropical group (my Echinargus) with two other species: E. martha Dognin, from the Andes, and a new species, described by me but not named, from Trinidad and Venezuela (see Psyche, 52: 3-4). Other representatives of neotropical groups (Graphium marcellus Cramer, "Strymon" melinus Hubner, Pyrgus communis Grote, Epar-gyreus clarus Cramer-- to name the most obvious ones) have established themselves in the Nearctic more securely than H. isola. Among the migratory Pierids, the following were observed: single specimens of Nathalis iole Boisd. all over Wyoming; one worn ш of Pboebis eubule L. in the Sierra Madre (Battle Lake), July 9; one worn ш of Eurema mexicana Boisd., between Cheyenne and Laramie (and a worn + near Ogallala, Neb.), first week of July. The Lepidopterists' News, Vol. 7, July 26, 1953, pp. 49-52.


AUDUBON'S BUTTERFLIES, MOTHS AND OTHER STUDIES Compiled and edited by Alice Ford Anyone knowing as little about butterflies as I do about birds may find Audubon's lepidoptera as attractive as his bright, active, theatrical birds are to me. Whatever those birds do, I am with them, heartily sharing, for instance, the openbilled wonder of "Green Heron" at the fantastic situation and much too bright colors of "Luna Moth" in a famous picture of the "Birds" folio. At present, however, I am concerned only with Audubon's sketchbook ("a fifteen-page pioneer art rarity" belonging to Mrs. Kirby Chambers of New Castle, Kentucky) from which Miss Ford has published drawings of butterflies and other insects in a handsome volume padded with additional pictorial odds and ends and an account of Audubon's life. The sketches were made in the 1820s. Most of the lepidoptera which they burlesque came from Europe (Southern France, I suggest). Their scientific names, supplied by Mr. Austin H. Clark, are meticulously correct-- except in the case of one butterfly, p. 20, top, which is not a Hamaeris but a distorted Zerynthia. Their English equivalents, however, reveal some sad editorial blundering: "Cabbage," p. 23, and "Miller," p. 91, should be "Bath White" and "Witch," respectively; and the two moths on p. 64 are emphatically not "Flesh Flies." In an utterly helpless account of the history of entomological illustration, Miss Ford calls Audubon's era "scientifi-cally unsophisticated." The unsophistication is all her own. She might have looked up John Abbot's prodigious representations of North American lepidoptera, 1797, or the splendid plates of eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century German lepidopterists, or the rich butterflies that enliven the flowers and fruit of the old Dutch Masters. She might have traveled back some thirty-three centuries to the times of Tuthmosis IV or Amenophis III and, instead of the obvious scarab, found there frescoes with a marvelous Egyptian butterfly (subtly combining the pattern of our Painted Lady and the body of an African ally of the Monarch). I cannot speak with any authority about the beetles and grasshoppers in the Sketchbook, but the butterflies are certainly inept. The exaggerated crenulation of hindwing edges, due to a naive artist's doing his best to render the dry, rumpled margins of carelessly spread specimens, is typical of the poorest entomological figures of earlier centuries and to these figures Audubon's sketches are curiously close. Query: Can anyone draw something he knows nothing about? Does there not exist a high ridge where the mountainside of "scientific" knowledge joins the opposite slope of "artistic" imagination? If so, Audubon, the butterfly artist, is at sea level on one side and climbing the wrong foothill on the other. The New York Times Book Review, December 28, 1952.


Field Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Europe In my early boyhood, almost sixty-five years ago, I would quiver with helpless rage when Hofmann in his then famous Die Gross-Schmetterlinge Europas failed to figure the rarity he described in the text. No such frustration awaits the young reader of the marvelous guide to the Palaearctic butterflies west of the Russian frontier now produced by-Lionel C. Higgins, author of important papers on Lep-idoptera, and Norman D. Riley, keeper of insects at the British Museum. The exclusion of Russia is (alas) a practical necessity. Non-utilitarian science does not thrive in that sad and cagey country; the mild foreign gentleman eager to collect in the steppes will soon catch his net in a tangle of barbed wire, and to work out the distribution of Evers-mann's Orange Tip or the Edda Ringlet would have proved much harder than mapping the moon. The little maps that the Field Guide does supply for the fauna it covers seem seldom to err. I note that the range of the Twin-spot Fritillary and that of the Idas Blue are incorrectly marked, and I think Nogell's Hairstreak, which reaches Romania from the east, should have been included. Among minor shortcomings is the somewhat curt way in which British butterflies are treated (surely the Norfolk race of the Swallowtail, which is so different from the Swedish, should have received more attention). I would say that alder, rather than spruce, characterizes the habitat of Wolfens-berger's and Thor's Fritillaries. I regret that the dreadful nickname "Admiral" is used instead of the old "Admirable." The new vernacular names are well invented-- and, paradoxically, will be more attractive to the expert wishing to avoid taxonomic controversy when indicating a species than to the youngster who will lap up the Latin in a trice. The checklist of species would have been considerably more appealing if the names of authors had not been omitted (a deplorable practice of commercial origin which impairs a number of recent zoological and botanical manuals in America). The choice of important subspecies among the thousands described in the last hundred years is a somewhat subjective matter and cannot be discussed here. In deciding whether to regard a butterfly as a race of its closest ally or as a separate species the Field Guide displays good judgment in re-attaching Rebel's Blue to Alcon, and in tying up the Bryony White with the Green-veined White: anyone who has walked along a mountain brook in the Valais, the Tessin, and elsewhere must have noticed the profusion and almost comic muddle of varicolored intergrades between those two Whites. In a few cases, however, the authors seem to have succumbed to the blandishments of the chromosome count. For better or worse our present notion of species in Lepidoptera is based solely on the checkable structures of dead specimens, and if Forster's Furry cannot be distinguished from the Furry Blue except by its chromosome number, Forster's Furry must be scrapped. In many groups the Field Guide accepts the generic splitting proposed by various specialists. The resulting orgy of genera may bewilder the innocent reader and irritate the conservative old lumper. A compromise might be reached by demoting the genitalically allied genera to the rank of subgenera within one large genus. Thus, for instance, a large generic group, called, say, Scolitantides, would include 6 subgenera (pp. 262-271 of the Field Guide, from Green-underside Blue to Chequered Blue) and a large generic group, called, say, Plebejus, would include 15 subgenera (pp. 271-311, Grass Jewel to Eros Blue); what matters, of course, is not naming or numbering the groups but correctly assorting the species so as to reflect relationships and distinctions, and in that sense the Field Guide is logical and scientific. On the other hand, I must disagree with the misapplication of the term "f." (meaning "form"). It is properly used to denote recurrent aberrations, clinal blends, or seasonal aspects, but it has no taxonomic standing (and available names for such forms should be quote-marked and anonymous). This the authors know as well as I do, yet for some reason they use "f." here and there as a catchall for altitudinal races and minor subspecies. Particularly odd is "Boloria graeca balcanica f. tendensis,"' which is actually Boloria graeca tendensis Higgins, a lovely and unexpected subspecies for the sake of which I once visited Limone Piemonte where I found it at about 7000 ft. in the company of its two congeners, the Shepherd's and the Mountain Fritillaries. Incidentally, the drabbish figure hardly does justice to the nacreous pallor of its underside. These are all trivial flaws which melt away in the book's aura of authority and honesty, conciseness and completeness, but there is one fault which I find serious and which should be corrected in later printings. The explanation facing every plate should give the exact place and date of capture of every painted or photographed specimen-- a principle to which the latest butterfly books rigidly adhere. This our Field Guide omits to do. In result the young reader will not only be deprived of a vicarious thrill but will not know if the specimen came from anywhere near the type locality, whilst the old lepidopterist may at once perceive that the portrait does not represent an individual of the typical race. Thus one doubts that the bright female of the Northern Wall Brown (Pl. 49) comes from the North, and it is a pity that the Poplar Admirable shown on Pl. 15 should belong to the brownish, blurrily banded West European sub-species rather than to the black Scandinavian type race with pure white markings. The red-stained Corsican Swallowtail (front end-paper) is surely a printer's freak, not the artist's fancy, and no doubt will be repaired in due time. Many of Brian Har-greaves" illustrations are excellent, some are a little crude, a few are poor; all his butterflies, however, are recognizable, which after all is the essential purpose. His treatment of wing shape is sometimes wobbly, for instance in the case of the Heaths (Pl. 47), and one notes a displeasing tendency to acuminate the hind-wing margins of some Ringlets (Plates 37, 41, 44). In some groups of closely allied butterflies Nature seems to have taken capricious delight in varying from species to species the design of the hind-wing underside, thinking up fantastic twists and tints, but never sacrificing the basic generic idea to the cunning disguise. Brian Hargreaves has not always followed this interplay of thematic variations within the genus. For example, in the Clossiana hind-wing undersides the compact jagged rhythm of the Polar Fritillary's markings, which intensifies and unifies the Freya scheme, is weakly rendered. The artist has not understood the affinity with Frigga that dimly transpires through the design of the Dusky-winged, nor has he seen the garlands of pattern and the violet tones as connecting the Arctic Fritillary with Titania, and the latter with Dia. Otherwise, many such rarely figured butterflies as the Atlas White, the Fatma Blue, and Chapman's Hairstreak, or such tricky creatures as the enchanting Blues on Pl. 57 came out remarkably well. The feat of assembling all those Spanish and African beauties in one book is not the least glory of Higgins' and Riley's unique and indispensable manual. Times Educational Supplement, London, October 23, 1970

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