Zoocriadero de Mariposas, Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, 11501-2060, San José, Costa Rica
Received date: May 02, 2014; Accepted date: June 16, 2014; Published date: June 18, 2014
Citation: Murillo-Hiller LR (2014) Is Hamadryas guatemalena elata Present in Costa Rica?. Entomol Ornithol Herpetol 3:130. doi:10.4172/2161-0983.1000130
Copyright: © 2014 Luis Ricardo Murillo-Hiller. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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The genus Hamadryas is composed by 20 species. H. guatemalena elata is currently known from two specimens from Brazil. Recently a new series of individuals have been caught in Costa Rica and here i discuss the validity of the taxa and its distribution.
Some animal and plant species are known from very few collected specimens. Even more, some of them are known only from the holotype. According to Jenkins , in the butterfly genus Hamadryas, H. guatemalena elata is recognized from very few collected individuals, and Lamas  did not recognize it as a valid subspecies but he didn’t explained why. The species per se is not rare, only the elata subspecies, which has doubtful validly . From the thirty one museums and collections visited by Jenkins during the preparation of his generic revision, only two males and two females were available, and what is most strange, three specimens are from Espirito Santo and one from the Amazonas (2500 km apart, both are in Brazil).
The other two H. guatemalena subspecies are found 2500 km away from H. guatemalena elata: H. g. guatemalena and H. g. marmarice are found in Central America and Mexico respectively.
When the habitats of the widely separated localities of H. guatemalena elata are analyzed, one notices that these two localities belong to two different biogeographical provinces: Amazonian Rain Forest (Amazonas) and Brazilian Rain Forest (Espirito Santo) . If there are actually two populations of this subspecies, they may be undergoing different evolutionary processes and may have evolved into two different sub-species, as has occurred in the subspecies found in Central America and Mexico.
What adds to this problem is the finding of four more specimens (2, 2), using the criteria of , of H. guatemalena elata in Costa Rica, flying together with H. g. guatemalena. This is 2500 km away from the previous reports.
The difference between H. g. guatemalena and H. g. elata are basically the sub-marginal ocelli in the dorsal hind-wings. In the first subspecies these ocelli are filled with dark gray scales and in the second with white scales (Figure 1) . It is interesting that in the two Costa Rican localities where H. g. elata have been caught, intergradations with H. g. guatemalena can be found.
Jenkins  argues that H. g. elata is perhaps a relic of a widely distributed population in the past. It is possible that Costa Rica is at the northern limit of its distribution, where hybridization with other subspecies occurs, and H. g. elata went into local extinction process in Brazilian population 90 years ago. If this scenario is accepted, the locations where this rare subspecies is found in Costa Rica are in great need of conservation. On the other hand, the individuals found in Brazil may represent erroneous data. A third possibility is a misidentification of the specimens collected in Brazil; these could be the similar species, H. feronia feronia, and the white ocelli could be a mutation, since no other H. guatemalena population is present in the Brazilian locality from where H. g. elata has been described. From all this possibilities, which is more acceptable, is that H. guatemalena elata never existed in Brazil, and the specimens are mistaken data (probably from somewhere in Central America) and under this scenario the subspecies elata is not valid, as  presented it on his catalog. What is presented as H. g. elata in Figure 1 in this paper most be then, a white aberration of H. g. guatemalena considering that the male genitalia studied for the Costa Rican specimens are identical to the rest of the H. guatemalena.
H. g. elata collected in Costa Rica (2 2): Costa Rica, Guanacaste, P.N. Rincón de la Vieja, 800 msnm, 16-IX-1997, rec: L.R. Murillo-Hiller (1), col. per. Costa Rica, Guanacaste, Panamá, 10 msnm, 19-XII-2011, rec: L.R. MurilloHiller (1), col. per. Costa Rica, Guanacaste, Liberia, Río Liberia, 150 msnm, 6-VII-1999, rec: L.R. MurilloHiller (1), col. per. Costa Rica, Guanacaste, Liberia, Río Colorado, 150 msnm, 7-VII-1999, rec: L.R. MurilloHiller (1), col. per.