Junonia westermanni splendens (Schmidt, 1921)

Takano, Hitoshi, László, Gyula M. & Collins, Steve C., 2021, Notes on some Tanzanian butterfly specimens in the Suffert Collection: a case of patria falsa, Zootaxa 4964 (3), pp. 585-597 : 590-591

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Junonia westermanni splendens (Schmidt, 1921)


Junonia westermanni splendens (Schmidt, 1921)

Kielland (1990) gives the distribution of this taxon as ‘eastern Tanzania, from Usambara to Lindi’. This is a very rare butterfly which is likely restricted to the forests of the East Usambara Mountains and has not been caught in 70 years despite being an area that has generally been well-sampled. Kielland himself did not collect any specimens of this taxon 22 and his distribution is likely based on the specimens in NHMUK. This taxon was described by Carl Wilhelm Schmidt based on two male specimens from ‘Bulwa, Ost-Usambara’. The NHMUK collection contains two specimens of this taxon. A female example from Suffert’s collection labelled: ‘// west . ♀ / Tanga. [handwritten in Suffert’s hand; label with black border and trimmed at base (illustrated in fig. 5 View FIGURES 1–6 )] // Ex. Coll. / Suffert. / 1912. // Joicey / Bequest. / Brit.Mus. / 1934–120. //’. The catalogue lists 14 specimens 23 of this species and this female is likely to be the single specimen listed under ‘ Westermanni var. ’. The second specimen is a male labelled as being from ‘Lindi’ also from the Joicey Bequest but originally belonging in the collection of Georges Édouard Brabant. Brabant’s collection was purchased by Eugène Le Moult and sold to Joicey in 1920. This specimen carries the fol- lowing labels: ‘// Junonia / westermanni / Lindi [handwritten in Brabant’s hand (illustrated in fig. 8)] // 67. 20. / Ex. Coll. / Ed. Brabant. / 1920. // Joicey / Bequest. / Brit.Mus. / 1934–120. //’.

21 Suffert purchased butterflies from Rolle, naming one of them after him, Alaena rollei Suffert, 1904 . He also described a new ‘birdwing’ from Sumatra, Ornithoptera zacheri Suffert, 1903 , based on material purchased from and named in honour of Carl Zacher.

22 The type specimens of the new taxa described by Jan Kielland as part of his research for Butterflies of Tanzania are in the NHMUK collections whilst the majority of the non-type material is in the ABRI collections .

23 Of the 14 specimens listed in the catalogue, only two male specimens of the nominate Junonia westermanni reached the NHMUK collections. Both specimens are from Pungo Andongo in Angola and are likely to have been collected by Major Alexander von Homeyer on the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Erforschung Äquatorial-Afrikas expedition in 1874. Although the majority of Homeyer’s specimens are in ZMHB, Suffert had in his collection specimens from Homeyer’s private collection (Suffert 1904: 32) .

Brabant certainly had genuine Usambara specimens in his collection, the specimens that were chosen as the holotype and allotype of Charaxes usambarae van Someren & Jackson, 1952 being two. The holotype is labelled thus: ‘// Type / H T [white disc with red border] // Charaxes / ethalion ♂ / Usambara [handwritten in Brabant’s hand (illustrated in fig. 7)] // 67. 20. / Ex. Coll. / Ed. Brabant. / 1920. // Joicey / Bequest. / Brit.Mus. / 1934–120. // Charaxes / pembanus / ssp. / usambarae / van Som & Jackson / ♂ Holotype //’. A specimen from the Suffert collection was also included in the type series. A female paratype carries the following labels: ‘// Para- / type [white disc with yellow border] // Usambara [handwritten in Suffert’s hand; green card (illustrated in fig. 2 View FIGURES 1–6 )] // Ex. Coll. / Suffert. / 1912. // Joicey / Bequest. / Brit.Mus. / 1934–120. // Charaxes / pembanus / usambarae / van Som & Jackson / ♀ paratype //’.

Both Usambara and Lindi were key locations within German East Africa. The Usambara Mountains, described at the time as the ‘ Switzerland of Africa’ (e.g. Krapf 1860; Baumann 1890) due to its verdant landscape and pleasant climes, was a key agricultural region particularly for coffee production whilst Lindi was the major port in southern German East Africa at the turn of the 20 th Century ( Ewerbeck 1902). With Usambara specimens mislabelled as being from Lindi 24 in two separate collections, it may be possible to conclude therefore that a shipment of specimens from Tanzania was mislabelled at the port of departure and sold with the incorrect locality at a European dealership.


Natural History Museum, London