A specimen of Tirumala hamata hamata (Macleay, 1826) (Lepidoptera: Danainae) from Captain Cook’s first voyage

Robinson, J. and Vane-Wright, R. I. (2018) A specimen of Tirumala hamata hamata (Macleay, 1826) (Lepidoptera: Danainae) from Captain Cook’s first voyage. Journal of Natural History, 52(11-12), pp. 687-712. (doi: 10.1080/00222933.2018.1444211)

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On 29 May 1770 Joseph Banks described a spectacular swarming of ‘milions’ [sic] ‘of one sort’ of butterfly at Thirsty Sound, near what is now Rockhampton, Queensland, comparing it to a species from China that had been named by Linnaeus. Discovery of what appears to be an Endeavour voyage specimen of this Australian butterfly in the Hunterian Zoology Museum, Glasgow, allows us to confirm its long-suspected identity as Tirumala hamata hamata (Macleay) – a species unnamed and unknown at the time of Cook’s first voyage. Investigations into several collections that include eighteenth-century Australian Lepidoptera and associated literature have not positively identified any further specimens taken from the swarm, although a pair in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History could be from the same source. Taxonomic confusion due to mimicry, convergence and/or non-divergence affecting blue tiger patterned butterflies is most likely the principal reason such a specimen has previously gone undetected.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Joseph Banks, David Burton, James Charles Dale, Dru Drury, Johann Christian Fabricius, John Francillon, Alexander Macleay, William Sharp Macleay, the Endeavour, Australia, Papilio similis, geographical variation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robinson, Ms Jeanne
Authors: Robinson, J., and Vane-Wright, R. I.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
College/School:University Services > Library and Collection Services > Museum and Art Gallery
Journal Name:Journal of Natural History
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1464-5262
Published Online:25 March 2018

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