Lethe tamuna de Nicéville, 1887 – Clear-eyed Treebrown
Subspecies in India:
No subspecies are listed under this species. This species is often treated as a subspecies of Lethe europa (Fabricius, 1775) – Bamboo Treebrown, following very old literature. However, it is evident from the female type specimen, original species description by de Nicéville (1887), recently collected male and female specimens that are deposited in the Central Agricultural Research Institute and Zoological Survey of India, Port Blair, and recently photographed specimens in nature, that this species has a distinctive appearance that violates the key character of L. europa: "Unh ... all ocelli very large and much disintegrated." (Evans 1932). Indeed, L. tamuna has well-formed, clear eye-spots UNH that contrast with the key characters of L. europa (de Nicéville 1887). Evans (1932) had most likely not seen the singular female type of L. tamuna that was in the Zoological Survey of India in Kolkata at the time, where it is still well-preserved in the type specimen collection (Kunte, personal observations). Evans also appeared to have not checked the original description of L. tamuna, which clearly described and illustrated the stark differences between L. europa and L. tamuna. Therefore, Evans (1932) erroneously treated tamuna as a subspecies of europa, an arrangement that still continues to be widely and blindly followed without inspecting the type material, original species description, and the obvious phenotype of tamuna (e.g., Talbot 1947; Varshney and Smetacek 2015; Veenakumari and Mohanraj 1997; Veenakumari et al. 2008).
Cite this page along with its URL as:
Kunte, K. 2021. Lethe tamuna de Nicéville, 1887 – Clear-eyed Treebrown. Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, and P. Roy (Chief Editors). Butterflies of India, v. 3.15. Indian Foundation for Butterflies.