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Strangely named butterflies !

All British, European, North American and Australian butterflies have English common names as well as their binomial scientific names. Many of the butterflies of Malaysia, India and East Africa acquired common names in the 19th century when butterfly collecting was a popular pastime for British Army officers serving in the tropics. Consequently Asian and African species often have names connected with the armed forces e.g. Commanders, Soldiers and Sailors. Elsewhere in the world most species only have scientific names although a few of the larger showier species acquired common names in native languages. The table below lists some of the more interesting English common names given to butterflies from various parts of the world. Some have obvious derivations but others such as the Foolish Swift, seem totally baffling :

Country

English name

sub-family

Scientific name

Kenya

Foolish Swift

Hesperiinae

Borbo fatuellus

USA

Lost-Egg Skipper

Hesperiinae

Hesperia lindseyi

Ghana

Morose Sailor

Limenitidinae

Neptis morosa

USA

Prairie Cobweb Skipper

Hesperiinae

Yvretta rhesus

Kenya

Dive-bomber

Charaxinae

Charaxes bohemani

Kenya

Blue Heart Playboy

Lycaenidae

Pilodeudorix caerulea

Argentina

Drop with Glasses

Biblidinae

Dynamine aerata

Kenya

Fashion Commodore

Nymphalinae

Precis pelarga

USA

Sad Green Hairstreak

Theclinae

Callophrys miserabilis

Kenya

Peculiar Giant Cupid

Polyommatinae

Lepidochrysops peculiaris

Tanzania

Garden Inspector

Nymphalinae

Precis archesia

USA

Question Mark

Nymphalinae

Polygonia interrogationis

Trinidad

Tiger with tails

Charaxinae

Consul fabius

USA

Poodle-face Sulphur

Coliadinae

Eurema boisduvaliana

Argentina

Zigzag Sleepy-head

Pyrginae

Sarnientoia haywardi

Argentina

Lying butterfly

Pierinae

Pereute swainsoni

Colombia

Charismatic Metalmark

Riodininae

Charis matic

Costa Rica

The New Species

Pyrginae

Cephise nuspesez ( "new species" )

Mexico

Mediocre Skipper

Hesperiinae

Inglorius mediocris

Kenya

Flip Flop

Pierinae

Leptosia alcesta

Trinidad

Snow-flake

Pierinae

Leucidia brephos

Trinidad

Blue Doctor

Riodininae

Rhetus periander

Kenya

d'Urban's Woolly Legs

Miletinae

Lachnocnema durbani

Trinidad

Shower of Gold

Riodininae

Argyrogrammana holosticta

Sri Lanka

Glad-eye Bush Brown

Satyrinae

Nissanga patnia

Trinidad

Lady Slipper

Satyrinae

Pierella hyalinus

Kenya

Noble Night-fighter

Hesperiinae

Zophopetes nobilior

USA

Noseburn Wanderer

Nymphalinae

Mestra amymone

Kenya

One Pip Policeman

Coeliadinae

Coeliades anchises

Trinidad

Queen of the Night

Morphinae

Antirrhea philoctetes

Kenya

Wandering Donkey

Heliconiinae

Acraea neobule

 

 

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