Butterflies and Moths in Nabokov's Published Writings
Alphabetical Order ‒ Page 4
Fabriciana (ex Argynnis) adippe Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775, syn cydippe Linnaeus, 1761 [Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae, Argynnini]: a large fritillary (wingspan up to 50 mm) in NW Africa, most of Europe, Turkey and temperate Asia.
In Nabokov's Butterflies there is a lengthy reply to a letter from Cyril dos Passos who had obviously asked Nabokov's advice in a difficult taxonomic matter concerning an as yet unnamed (obviously Palearctic) fritillary called by them the 'High Brown'. From Nabokov's answer it becomes clear that the butterfly in question must be similar to Fabriciana adippe and »Fabriciana niobe Linnaeus, 1758. Nabokov urged dos Passos to adhere strictly to the Code and to check whether the names Fabriciana berecynthia Poda and Fabriciana phryxa Bergsträsser apply and are available. None of them seems to have been used by dos Passos.
*NabBut 485–486 (L); Lep1 31; Lep2 270
& Ac: Fabriciána/Argýnnis adíppe • En: High Brown Fritillary • Fr: le moyen nacré • Ge: Feuriger Perlmutterfalter • Ru: перламутровка Адиппа
Fabriciana (ex Argynnis) niobe Linnaeus, 1758 [Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae, Argynnini]: a large fritillary found throughout Europe (except for its northernmost parts and Britain), Russia, Asia Minor, Iran, C Asia, Mongolia, Amur region. There are two forms of this butterfly: the form niobe with silver spots on the underside of the hindwings, not very common, and the more frequent form eris Meigen that has lustreless tawny spots instead.
& Ac: Fabriciána/Argýnnis níobe • En: Niobe Fritillary • Fr: le chiffre • Ge: Mittlerer Perlmutterfalter, Stiefmütterchen-Perlmutterfalter • It: niobe • Ru: перламутровка Ниоба • Sp: niobe
Fatma Blue: »Philotes bavius fatma
Feniseca tarquinius Fabricius, 1793 [Lycaenidae, Melitinae]: the Harvester, in the humid East from the Maritime Provinces and Ontario to Florida and C Texas. The Harvester is the only American representative of this subfamily of lycaenids. The caterpillars (length 13 mm) bury themselves between dead aphids and feed on them. The other representatives of this subfamily fly in SE Asia and S Africa.
*NabBut 398 (L)
Fidonia famula: »Bichroma famula
Flammea palida: an imaginary butterfly Nabokov drew for Alfred Appel, Jr., at the end of the latter's first visit in 1966, reproduced in Time, May 23, 1969, p. 83. The name means 'Pale Fire'. At the same occasion Nabokov drew a second one for Appel's wife, called Bonus bonus (to make her mark 100 when in his Cornell literature course she had only earned 96).
*Annotated Lolita, 1991, p. xlii
Forster's Furry: »Polyommatus ainsae
Freya (Fritillary): »Clossiana freija
Freyeria Courvoisier, 1920 [Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae]: an abandoned generic name of blues. In 1997, it was included in the genus »Chilades Moore, 1881. For details, see under »Lycaenidae. The type-species was Freyeria trochylus Freyer, 1844, the Grass Jewel.
*StrOps 333; Lep8 104; Lep9 8, 47 and passim
Frigga('s Fritillary): »Clossiana frigga
fritillary: a somewhat vague non-scientific term for a group of »Nymphalidae. In America, they are more or less equated with the tribe »Argynnini of Nymphalidae, subfamily Heliconiinae. In Great Britain, some Melitaeini (called checkerspots or crescentspots in the United States) are also called fritillaries.
To the non-expert eye, many of them look confusingly alike, except for their different sizes. Normally the wingspan is 30–45 mm, and the usual color is light brown, orange or yellow, with an array of black or dark brown dots on the upperside of their wings.
The colloquial name is derived from Latin fritillus, dice-cup, perhaps as a reference to the many dice-like dots all over the wings. Ventrally the wings often have irregular maculae or even bands with a silvery or mother-of-pearl lustre. It is produced by white scales reflecting the light mirror-like, giving rise to their French, German, Swedish etc. collective common names meaning 'mother-of-pearl butterflies'. Not all butterflies that have the upperside typical of fritillaries also have the mother-of-pearl on the underside, and vice versa, so both groups are not really equivalent. However, there is a large overlap. So even if there are 'fritillaries' without the dice-like spots in the English speaking countries and 'mother-of-pearl butterflies' without the mother-of-pearl lustre in the countries deriving the name from the underside of the wings, both terms may for all practical purposes considered equal.
The fritillaries formerly were all grouped in the genus Argynnis Fabricius, 1807. Today, folk classification makes a difference between the greater fritillaries (in the genus »Speyeria Scudder, 1872) and the lesser fritillaries (in »Boloria MOORE, 1900, »Brenthis Hübner, 1819, »Clossiana REUSS, 1920, Proclossiana Reuss, 1926, etc.).
*Stor:Xmas 134; SpeakM 122; LolScrpl 128; Ada 404; StrOps 200
& Fr: (approximately) nacrés, (Ada) Grands et Petits Nacrés, Argynnides grandes et petites • Ge: (approximately) Perlmutterfalter • It: arginnide (f.) • Ru: перламутровки • Swedish: pärlemorfjäril
In his Lolita Screenplay, Nabokov has Humbert Humbert (who is on his way from Ramsdale to Beardsley, Idaho, with Lolita) ask a butterfly hunter somewhere in the mountains of Montana, Wyoming or Colorado for directions. "His name is Vladimir Nabokov. A fritillary settles with outspread wings on a tall flower. Nabokov snaps it up with a sweep of his net. Humbert walks toward him. With a nip of finger and thumb through a fold of the marquisette Nabokov dispatches his capture and works the dead insect out of the netbag onto the palm of his hand. Humbert Is that a rare specimen? Nabokov A specimen cannot be common or rare, it can only be poor or perfect. Humbert Could you direct me – Nabokov You meant 'rare species'. This is a good specimen of a rather scarse subspecies. Humbert I see. Could you please tell me if this road leads to Dympleton? Nabokov I haven't the vaguest idea …"
fritillary "bearing the name of a Norse goddess": »Clossiana freija
Furry Blue: »Polyommatus dolus
Galatea Marbled White: »Melanargia galathea
Gegenes Hübner, 1819: a genus of »Hesperiidae (skippers), subfamily Hesperiinae. The type-species is Gegenes pumilio Hoffmannsegg, 1803, the Pygmy Skipper, very local in the Mediterranean coastal area, eastwards to the Himalayas. According to Nabokov, Hesperia was one of the five genera of the family represented in Europe; today, there are at least thirteen.
*NabBut 611 (BE)
Geometra papilionaria (Hübner 1793-1827)
Geometra (ex Hipparchus) papilionaria Linnaeus, 1758 [Geometridae, Geometrinae]: "I noticed", writes Nabokov in Speak, Memory, "a soft pale green wing caught in a spider's web (by then I knew what it was: part of a Large Emerald)." This is a night-flying light green geometer moth with a wingspan of 40–50 mm, in the deciduous woodlands of Europe and across temperate Asia to Japan, preferring birch.
*SpeakM 132; perhaps P&P 171–172
& Ac: Geométra/Hípparchus papilionária • En: Large Emerald • Fr: la grande nayade, (Autres rivages) le Géomètre Papillonnaire • Ge: Grünes Blatt, Buchenspanner, Grüner Birkenspanner • Ru: зеленая березовая пяденица, большая зеленая пяденица • Sp: gran esmeralda
geometrid: any moth of the family »Geometridae, the geometer moths. For the "tropical geometrid colored in perfect imitation of a species of butterfly" of The Gift (p. 110–111), see under »Papilio laglaizei.
*Stor:Perf 340; P&P 81
Geometridae Stephens, 1829: the second largest family of moths, comprising around 15,000 species all over the world, of small to medium size. Relative to their slender bodies they have large rounded wings. Their name derives from the Latin word geometer, a reference to the looping or measuring locomotion of the caterpillars (called inchworms or loopers). They cannot move otherwise, due to the lack of prolegs on the middle segments of their body.
*NabBut 227 (FB)
& Ac: Geométridae • En: geometrids, geometer moths, inchworm moths, looper moths • Fr: géométridés, géomètres, phalènes • Ge: Geometriden, Spanner • It: geomètridi, geometre • Ru: пяденицы • Sp: geométricos
giant skippers: »Megathyminae
Glaucopsyche Scudder, 1871: a Holarctic genus of »Lycaenidae, subfamily Polyommatinae (blues), tribe Polyommatini, Glaucopsyche Section. The type-species is »Glaucopsyche lygdamus Doubleday, 1841, the Silvery Blue.
*NabBut 447 (L); Lep8 125
Glaucopsyche alexis Poda, 1761, syn cyllarus Rottemburg, 1775 [Lycaenidae]: a blue with a wingspan of 23–30 mm, at home in N Africa and all of C and S Europe. The males are blue, the females brown. The English common name refers to the greenish tinge to the inner parts of its hindwings' underside.
*StrOps 333; Lep2 268
& Ac: Glaucopsýche/Lycáena aléxis/cýllarus • En: Green-underside Blue • Fr: l'azuré des cytises • Ge: Alexis-Bläuling, Tragantbläuling • Ru: голубянка Алексис • Sp: manchas verdes
Glaucopsyche (ex Nomiades, Lycaena) alexis aeruginosa Staudinger, 1881 [Lycaenidae]: a subspecies of the Green-underside Blue, described from Azerbeijan. "From W. Asia to S. Russia. I have found it common near Yalta, on seaside lawns."
*NabBut 606 (BE); Lep1 30
Glaucopsyche lygdamus oro (Howe 1975)
Glaucopsyche (ex Scolitantides) lygdamus Doubleday, 1841 [Lycaenidae]: the Silvery Blue or Lygdamus Blue, in N America from Michigan to Georgia.
*StrOps 320; Int1 129 (NabBut 534); NabBut 465 (L)
Glaucopsyche lygdamus australis Grinnell, 1917 [Lycaenidae]: the Southern Blue (Nabokov: Grinell's Blue), in S California.
Glaucopsyche lygdamus oro Scudder, 1876 [Lycaenidae]: the Oro Blue, a subspecies of the Lygdamus Blue described from Colorado.
*NabBut 294, 465 (L)
Glaucopsyche melanops Boisduval, 1828 [Lycaenidae]: the Black-eyed Blue, in N Africa and SW Europe.
Glaucopsyche (ex Phaedrotes) piasus Boisduval, 1852 [Lycaenidae]: the Arrowhead Blue, in NW America from British Columbia and Saskatchewan to S California and New Mexico. That Nabokov put its genus in quotation marks ('Phaedrotes' piasus) indicates that he was rightly doubtful of it. Phaedrotes had been erected by Samuel Scudder in 1876 on a species called catalina Reakirt, 1866 which proved to be a synonym of piasus.
*StrOps 320; NabBut 465 (L); Lep16
Glaucopsychinae Hemming: a former subfamily of »Lycaenidae. According to Nabokov (Lep9 3), it should have consisted of three genera: Glaucopsyche Scudder, 1871, Scolitantides Hübner, 1819 (of which Phaedrotes Scudder, 1876 and Shijimia Matsumura, 1919 are synonyms) and Philotes Scudder, 1876. In J.N. Eliot's classification of 1973, the Glaucopsychinae became the Glaucopsyche Section within the tribe Polyommatini in the subfamily Polyommatinae.
*Lep7 90; Lep8 129
Gnophos asperaria: »Rhoptria asperaria
Gnophos stevenaria: »Neognopharmia stevenaria
Goat Moth: »Cossus cossus
Godunov's Erebia: an invented species of the genus »Erebia whose scientific name should be Erebia godunovi xy. In Father's Butterflies, Nabokov wrote: "[I am] especially captivated by an accurate portrayal of the priceless, utterly frayed and faded, single specimen of 'Godunov's Erebia' ever found on the face of the earth, 'amid dense leafy woods, July 8, 1903,' Father quotes from a letter sent him by Moltrecht, 'in the stifling heat at verst twenty of the old Aimsk road." Aim is a small and most remote place on the river Maya in SE Sibiria, about 500 km SSE of the town of Yakutsk and 300 km NW of Nelkan, even today to be reached only by helicopter or by boat from Nelkan. As the Khaborovsk entomologist Evgeni Novomodnyi has been able to ascertain, A.K. »Moltrecht whom Nabokov met in Berlin in 1926 had not himself been to Aim during his extended travels in the Amur and Ussuri region but knew someone who had been there in 1903 and perhaps told Nabokov about him. This person was an exiled Moscow graduate of natural science, Irinarkh Mikhailovich Shchogolev, who had been on the only expedition to travel to that region in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was led by the engineer V.E. Popov. The task was to find a better way from the coastal town of Ayan to Nelkan, and Shchogolev was charged with collecting plants, animals and insects along the way.
*NabBut 207 (FB)
Gonepteryx cleopatra (© DEZ 2012)
Gonepteryx cleopatra Linnaeus, 1767 [Pieridae, Coliadinae]: a S European sister species of the Brimstone (»Gonepteryx rhamni), found in all of the basin of the Mediterranean and also on Madeira and the Canary Islands. The females are much like those of the Brimstone, a pale greenish white, but the yellow males are different, a little larger and the upperwings adorned with a large orange-red area bordered by the basic lemon yellow. Like the Brimstone, it feeds on Buckthorn.
*SpeakM 147; Lep2 256, 270
& Ac: Gonépteryx cleópatra • En: Cleopatra • Fr: le citron de Provence • Ge: Kleopatra • It: cleopatra • Sp: cleopatra
The Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni, male & female (© DEZ 2012)
Gonepteryx (ex Rhodocera) rhamni Linnaeus, 1758 [Pieridae, Coliadinae]: a very common Palearctic Sulphur, flying from N Africa and Europa across temperate Asia (up to 67º N) to Japan. The males are a bright lemon yellow with a small round orange spot near the tip of each of its wings, the females are a delicate greenish white, with the same orange spots as the males. The wingspan is 50–60 mm. The imago lives longer than most butterflies, from June well into spring, wintering among dry leaves on the ground without any protection; the cold does not harm it, inducing it to conserve energy. Even in the periods when it is on the wing it takes a break now and then, falling into a torpor and waiting for more favorable weather conditions. As soon as the sun comes out, they rise from the ground. In the spring when the time for reproduction has come, the female will follow the male at a certain distance as if towed on a string. Its foodplant is buckthorn (Rhamnus); hence its specific name.
*Gift 24; SpeakM 111, 147, 176; NabBut 98; Int11; Lep1 31; Lep2 257, 268
& Ac: Gonépteryx/Rhodócera rhámni • Fr: le citron • Ge: Zitronenfalter • It: cedronella • Ru: крушинница, белянка крушинная, лимонница • Sp: limonera
Gorgo Hübner, 1819: an abandoned genus of »Nymphalidae, subfamily Satyrinae, tribe Erebiini (US alpines, GB ringlets and arguses). The type-species was Erebia albergnus de Prunner, 1798, the Almond-eyed Ringlet, in N Spain, C Alps, Apennines, Bulgaria, from 900–2,200 m.
*NabBut 590–2 (BE)
Graellsia isabellae (Procházka 1966)
Graellsia isabellae Graëlls, 1849 [Saturniidae]: the Spanish Moon Moth, the only European representative of the eccentric Luna Moth kind. The wings are a light yellowish or bluish green, with one russet eyespot on each and a strongly marked brown venation. The wingspan is 65–90 mm both in the males and the females. The most salient feature is that the males have extremely long tails. It flies in the middle of the night. The moth, named in honor of Queen Isabella II de Borbón, was described from the Sierra de Guadarrama by Mariano de la Paz »Graëlls and occurs only in the mountainous regions of C and N Spain and SE France, in pine forests at altitudes between 1,000 and 1,800 m. As an adult, it does not feed at all, dying after four or five days. The caterpillar feeds on pinetree needles.
Speaking of the conservation of animals in his tv interview with Bernard Pivot (1975), Nabokov mentioned "a remarkable moth, the French race of a Spanish species, one of whose scarce colonies risks extinction in the valley of the Durance where these merchants go to harvest this beautiful creature's caterpillars on a common conifer". The conifer is Pinus sylvestris, the endangered French race of the Durance valley is Graellsia isabellae galliaegloria Oberthür, 1922.
*NabBut 212 (FB), 716 (Int14)
& Ac: Graéllsia isabéllae • En: Spanish Moon Moth • Fr: l'Isabelle • Ge: Isabellaspinner •Ru: (DarII) изабелла • Sp: isabela
Grammia virgo (figured by Joseph Scheer)
*Grammia virgo LINNAEUS, 1758 [Arctiidae, Arctiinae]: a strikingly colored and patterned tiger moth with a wingspan of 56 mm flying in Canada and C and E United States.
In one of his letters to Véra (3 August 1942) Nabokov writes from West Wardsboro, Vermont, "These Arctia virgo flutter in like a Harlequin onto the stage." Now Arctia virgo is the obsolete name of the Yellow Tiger Moth, a N Eurasian moth whose valid name has been Arctia flavia FUESSLI, 1779 for a long time. This obviously cannot be the moth Nabokov was watching in Vermont. In his notes to the letter, Brian Boyd suggests convincingly that the moth Nabokov really had in mind was Grammia virgo, the Virgin Tiger Moth of N America. Boyd's explanation for Nabokov's error as to its genus was that "perhaps VN remembered early nineteenth-century images where this moth featured as Arctia virgo." The problem with this explanation is that Linne's virgo never belonged to Arctia. It was in several genera (Bombyx, Apantesis, Euprepia) until in 1866 it was definitely ranged in Rambur's new genus Grammia. So old images where this lepidopteran figured as Arctia virgo are purely hypothetical. And why should Nabokov have remembered ancient images which may or may not have existed while he had forgotten virgo's name in recent handbooks? There is no need for those old images. It is enough to assume that Nabokov correctly recognized the moths he saw fluttering about as the arctiid virgo and automatically assumed it belonged to the most prominent genus of Arctiids, Arctia. Arctia and Grammia do not look basically different and can easily be confused.
Nabokov readers have wondered whether the »harlequins of his last novel Look at the Harlequins! actually were butterflies or moths, and which ones, without reaching a definite conclusion. Now here is the Virgin Tiger Moth that Nabokov himself explicitly called a Harlequin.
Graphium marcellus: »Eurytides marcellus
Grass Jewel: »Chilades trochylus
greater fritillaries: all the members of the mainly N American genus »Speyeria Scudder, 1871 [Nymphalidae], with »Speyeria idalia Drury, 1773 as its type-species, the Regal Fritillary, with a wingspan of 66–90 mm, flying in the wet grassland of Canada and the United States.
Green Fritillary: »Speyeria edwardsii
Green-underside Blue: »Glaucopsyche alexis
Green-veined White: »Pieris napi
Grinnell's Blue: »Glaucopsyche lygdamus australis
Gruner's Orange-tip: »Anthocharis gruneri
Gymnoscelis (ex Eupithecia) rufifasciata Haworth, 1809, syn pumilata Hübner, 1813 [Geometridae, Larentiinae]: the Double-striped Pug Moth, in Europe.
Gypsy Moth: »Lymantria dispar
hairstreak: any member of the subfamily »Theclinae Swainson, 1831 in the family »Lycaenidae. It is one of the three main Holarctic and Neotropical subfamilies; the two others are the Lycaeninae (coppers) and the Polyommatinae (blues). Most hairstreaks have a little filamentous tail on each of their hindwings. Their colloquial English name refers to the delicate transverse streaky lines many of them have on the ventral side of their wings. Originally there was only one genus, Thecla Fabricius, 1807.
& En: hairstreaks • Fr: théclas • Ge: Zipfelfalter • Ru: хвостатки
The hairstreak in Speak, Memory has a "white W on its chocolate brown underside" and is clearly is the White-letter Hairstreak (»Satyrium w-album Knoch, 1782), with a wingspan of 27–30 mm, ranging from C Europe across temperate Asia to Japan.
*SpeakM 132; Lep1 30
& Ac: Satýrium w-álbum • Fr: le W-blanc, (Autres rivages) "un petit Thécla rare" • Ge: Ulmenhain-Zipfelfalter, Ulmenzipfelfalter, Weißes W • Ru: вязовая хвостатка • Sp: w-blanca
Hamearis lucina (Lampert 1907)
Hamearis (not Hamaeris, ex Nemeobius) Hübner, 1819 [Lycaenidae, Riodininae]: a genus consisting of just one butterfly, Hamearis lucina Linnaeus, 1758. Superficially it resembles a small nymphalid (wingspan 28 mm); hence the English common name which makes it a fritillary. It is the only European representative of »Riodininae. It used to range from Spain via C Europe to C Russia but is on the decline.
Scudder erroneously assigned another (American) type-species to Hamearis.
The genus is not to be confounded with Hemaris Dalman, 1816, a genus of hawk moths, something altogether different.
*StrOps 329; Lep2 269
& Ac: Hámearis/Neméobius lucína • En: Duke of Burgundy Fritillary • Fr: la lucine • Ge: Perlbinde, Frühlingsscheckenfalter • Ru: • люцина, лесная пестрчшка • Sp: perico
Harkenclenus (ex Strymon) titus Fabricius, 1793 [Lycaenidae, Theclinae]: the Coral Hairstreak, in S Canada and the United States except for the extreme SW and the Gulf Coast.
*NabBut 398 (L); Lep16
Harlequin: according to Brian Boyd (VNAY 627), the suggestive 'harlequins' of Nabokov's last novel (p. 8–9) might also be taken as butterflies: "Young Vadim … is told by a grandaunt to stop daydreaming, stop moping: 'Look at the harlequins!' As neither boy nor grandaunt know, 'harlequin,' like 'mnemosyne,' is the name of a butterfly" (VNAY 627). But what butterfly?
There is a Palearctic moth that looks like a harlequin and in former times was called 'Harlekin' in German and 'geómetra arlequín' in Spanish. That is the Magpie Moth (Abraxas grossulariata Linnaeus, 1758, Geometridae, Ennominae); Hofmann's spelling even was 'Harlequin'. Boyd found four West Indian butterflies to match obligingly, being commonly called Harlequins. They belong to the genus Atlantea Higgins, 1959 [Nymphalidae], and each one is endemic to a different Greater Antillean island: Atlantea pantoni Kaye, 1906 (the Jamaican Harlequin), Atlantea perezi Herrich-Schäffer, 1862 (the Cuban Harlequin), Atlantea tulita Dewitz, 1877 (the Puerto Rican Harlequin) and the rare Atlantea cryptadia Sommer & Schwartz (the Hispaniolan Harlequin), the type specimen of which was collected as late as 1979. (David Spencer Smith / Lee D. Miller / Jacqueline Y. Miller: The Butterflies of the West Indies and South Florida, Oxford [Oxford University Press] 1994, p. 89–91) It is not at all clear, however, why Nabokov should have imported those Caribbean insects into his novel. He was always careful to choose the right habitat for the butterflies of his fiction. Neither is the novel set in the Caribbean nor does the aunt suggest Vadim go there, in order to look at some Atlantea species. On the other hand, later on in the novel (p. 108–109), the title phrase "Look at that harlequin" recurs, and this time it explicitly refers to an identifiable und fully identified near-by butterfly, "a most ordinary nettlefly" (»Aglais urticae). So if there are butterflies behind the "harlequins", they could either be Magpie Moths or just some ordinary butterflies. However, there is one more special candidate: the Virgin Tiger Moth »Grammia virgo. This is a lepidopteron Nabokov himself explicitly called a Harlequin. (See also »Arlequinus arlequinus.)
*LHarl title, 8–9, 108–109; LtVé 459
The Malayan Hawk Moth whose "monstrous caterpillar" gives out a "piercing sound," an "improvement over the mouse-like squeak of our Death's Head moth" (The Gift, p. 110), probably is *Acherontia lachesis Fabricius, 1798, a close relative of the Palearctic »Acherontia atropos, the Death's Head Moth. The imago, the pupa and the larva of both emit a chirping sound when threatened, the caterpillar probably by pulling back its head into the prothorax. Acherontia lachesis occurs mainly in Malaya, but its range is from India to the Moluccas and north to China.
The ocellated hawk moth with "its shagreen caterpillar which clung to a twig and arched its neck" of Bend Sinister (p. 181) very probably is »Smerinthus ocellatus, the Eyed Hawk Moth.
A likely candidate for the "party-crashing Hawk Moths with red black-belted bellies" of Ada (p. 250) is »Agrius convolvuli Linnaeus, 1758.
*Gift 110, 137; BendSin 181; Lol 157; SpeakM 12, 134; StrOps 286; Ada 250; SelLet 414; NabBut 205 (FB); Lep12
& En: sphingids, hawks, hawk moths, sphinx moths • Fr: sphingidés (sphinx, etc.) • Ge: Sphingiden, Schwärmer • It: sfìngidi • Ru: бражники • Sp: esfíngidos
& Ac: Ágrius/Hérse convólvuli • Am: Morning Glory Sphinx • En: Convolvulus Hawk Moth • Fr: le sphinx du liseron • Ge: Windenschwärmer • Ru: бражник вьюнковый • Sp: trompa larga
& Ac: Sphinx ligústri • En: Privet Hawk Moth • Fr: le sphinx du troène • Ge: Ligusterschwärmer • Ru: бражник бнрючинный
& Am: ringlets • Ge: Kleinäugler • Ru: сенница
Heldreich's Sulphur: »Colias aurorina heldreichi
Heliconius charithonius Linnaeus, 1767 [Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae]: a black longwing with lemon-yellow bands, wingspan 76–86 mm, in SW United States (Texas to S California), West Indies, S America.
& Ac: Helicónius charithónius • Am: Yellow-barred Heliconia, Zebra Longwing
*Heliopetes laviana Hewitson, 1868 [Hesperiidae, Pyrginae]: an all-American skipper, wingspan 32–42 mm, flying in chaparral country, from Texas and Arizona south to Argentina.
In the article Robert Boyle wrote about their collecting excursion in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona, Nabokov is quoted with this exclamation, "Ah. Oh, that's an interesting thing! Oh, gosh, there it goes. A white skipper mimicking a Cabbage butterfly belonging to a different family. Things are picking up. Still, they are not quite right. Where is my Wood Nymph? It is heartbreaking work."
The white skipper Nabokov and Boyle saw skipping by must have been Heliopetes laviana (or possibly the similar and more northernly Heliopetes ericetorum Boisduval, 1852), and the "Cabbage butterfly belonging to a different family" Pontia beckerii W.H. Edwards, 1871 [Pieridae], wingspan 41–50 mm, flying on hot, semi-arid hillsides from British Columbia to Baja California and eastward to Utah and Colorado. It is considered conspecific with Palearctic Pontia chloridice Hübner, 1808, wingspan c. 40 mm, flying on stony places and gravelly river banks, in scattered colonies in Balkans, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, W and C Asia, N Pakistan, Siberia, Mongolia.
The skipper is 10 mm (wingspan) smaller than the white. Both are white above, and both have a dark pattern on the forewings, the skipper along the border, the White in the apex. That is as far as the likeness goes, however, and nobody seems to have suggested so far that any mimicry is involved. Why should the skipper mimick the white, or the white the skipper? None of them is known to be noxious to predators, so none would profit from imitating the other. It may be a case of evolutionary convergence, both butterflies evolving a certain superficial similarity because they adapted to similar dry, bright habitats. Perhaps Nabokov was speaking in jest.
& Ac: Heliopétes laviána • Am: Laviana Skipper
& Ac: Póntia béckerii • Am: Becker's White, Great Basin White, Sagebrush White
& Ac: Póntia chlorídice • En: Small Bath White • Fr: le marbré kurde
Helleia (ex Lycaena) helle Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775, syn amphidamas Esper 1779 [Lycaenidae, Lycaeninae]: the small Violet Copper, in C and N Europe, W Russia, C and S Siberia, Mongolia, Amur region.
"I wonder if it is still common in May, as it was forty years ago among the pines and flowering brambles on the sandy banks of Lake Grunewald, Berlin" ("Butterflies of Europe", 1964). On the German Red List, Helleia helle today has the status "critically endangered," that is almost extinct, so nowadays it will be very rarely seen on Lake Grunewald and elsewhere. The 1011 disribution atlas says, "From NE Pyrenees N and E in small isolated colonies through most of Europe and Siberia to E Asia; apparently extinct in Italy".
*NabBut 604 (BE)
& Ac: Helléia/Lycáena hélle • En: Violet Copper • Fr: le cuivré de la bistorte • Ge: Blauschillernder Feuerfalter, Zwergfeuerfalter • Ru: голубянка фиолетовая
Hemaris tityus (Lampert 1907)
Hemaris (ex Macroglossa) tityus Linnaeus, 1758, syn bombyliformis Linnaeus, 1758, scabiosae Zeller, 1869 [Sphingidae, Macroglossinae]: a glasswing hawk moth strongly resembling a bumblebee, in N Africa, C, E and S Europe, Russia, Asia Minor and C Asia. It is similar to »Hemaris fuciformis, but the dark forewing borders are a little narrower.
*Possibly Gift 133; Lep2 255
& Ac: Hémaris títyus • En: Bumblebee Hawk, Narrow-bordered Bee-Hawk • Fr: le sphinx-gazé • Ge: Skabiosenchwärmer • Ru: бражник Тнтнй • Sp: esfinge abejorro de orla estrecha, esfinge de la madreselva
Hemaris (ex Macroglossa) fuciformis Linnaeus, 1758 [Sphingidae, Macroglossinae]: a glasswing hawk moth strongly resembling a bumblebee, in all of the S Palearctic and Japan. It is similar to »Hemaris tityus, but the dark forewing borders are a little wider.
*Possibly Gift 133
& Ac: Hémaris fucifórmis • En: Bumblebee Hawk, Broad-bordered Bee Hawk Moth • Ge: Hummelschärmer • Ru: бражник трутневндный • Sp: esfinge abejorro de orla ancha, esfinge hemorrágica
According to Lep8, the genus consists of the species hanno Stoll, 1790 (corrected to ceraunus Fabricius, 1793 in Lep9 1) and perhaps isola Reakirt, 1866.
In Lep9, Nabokov revised the material assigned to this genus and proposed to sort some of its members into his own new genus »Cyclargus Nabokov, 1945. Not all lepidopterists, however, embraced the split; some have stuck to Hemiargus. In Nabokov's revised genus, the type-species is Hemiargus antibubastus Hübner, 1818 (which was considered a subspecies of ceraunus), the Florida Blue; the former type hanno, says Nabokov, cannot stand. According to Lep9, the genus comprises three species, ceraunus (Caribbean, SE United States), hanno (C and S America) and ramon Dognin, 1887 (Ecuador). Nabokov emphasized that Hemiargus belongs to the »Plebejinae. Bálint & Johnson have placed it in the Itylos Section of the Polyommatini.
*StrOps 319–320; NabBut 445, 496 (L); Lep8 105; Lep9 20–27, 47
Hemiargus bogotana Draudt, 1921 [Lycaenidae]: a blue similar to »Hemiargus hanno, mostly at altitudes well over 2,000 m in Colombia. It was considered a subspecies of hanno but according to Zsolt Bálint is a good species ("A Catalogue of polyommatine Lycaenidae [Lepidoptera] at the Xeromontane Oreal Biome in the Neotropics As Represented in European Collections", Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin [Stevens Point], 29, no year).
*NabBut 383 (L)
Hemiargus catilina: »Cyclargus erembis
Hemiargus ceraunus Fabricius, 1793 [Lycaenidae]: the Ceraunus Blue, in the S United States, Bahamas, Caribbean, C America. Nabokov distinguished ceraunus from hanno Stoll, 1790 which used to be considered as one of its subspecies.
*StrOps 320; Lep9 20, 22–24 passim
Hemiargus hanno Stoll, 1790 [Lycaenidae]: one of the most common Neotropical polyommatine blues, from Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentine. It is the type-species of the genus Hemiargus which Nabokov split into Hemiargus and his own »Cyclargus.
*SelLet 55; Lep8 105; Lep9 1, 20–21 passim
Hemiargus isola: »Echinargus isola
Hemiargus ramon (Peña Guzmán 1996)
Hemiargus ramon Dognin, 1887 [Lycaenidae]: the Alfalfa Hairstreak, Spanish licena de la alfalfa, a sister species of »Hemiargus hanno Stoll, 1790, in S Ecuador, W Peru and coastal Chile.
*SelLet 55; Lep9 26–27 passim
Heodes (ex Lycaena, Chrysophanus) tityrus Poda, 1761, syn dorilis Hufnagel, 1766 [Lycaenidae, Lycaeninae]: the Sooty Copper, in S and C Europe, S Russia, Transcaucasia, Altai, described from Graz.
Heodes virgaureae (Lampert 1907)
*Heodes (ex Lycaena, Chrysophanus) virgaureae Linnaeus, 1758 [Lycaenidae, Lycaeninae]: the Scarce Copper, flying from mid-June to August on moist meadows up to an altitude of 1,500 m in most of the Palearctic except for the southernmost and northernmost regions; it is missing also along the W rim of Europe (including Norway and Britain). The wingspan is 27–32 mm. The upperside of the wings is a bright golden orange with a black border in the males; the females are paler, with black spots. Its name comes from the supposed food plant of its caterpillar, Solidago virgaurea L., goldenrod, while in truth it is sorrel.
In The Eye, the hero's case is likened to a case in entomology. "Long ago, Linnaeus, described a common species of butterfly, adding the laconic note, 'in pratis Westmanniae'. Time passes, and in the laudable pursuit of accuracy, new investigators name the various southern and Alpine races of this common species, so that soon there is not a spot left in Europe where one finds the nominal race and not a local subspecies. Where is the type, the model, the original? Then, at last, a grave entomologist discusses in a detailed paper the whole complex of named races and accepts as the representative of the typical one the almost 200-year-old, faded Scandinavian specimen collected by Linnaeus; and this identification sets everything right."
To identify this butterfly, one has to keep the main points of this description in mind: a common European species first described by Linnaeus from a certain local habitat in Sweden, occurring all over Europe, with many local and regional subspecies – and some paper by "a grave entomologist" confirming that among all the subspecies described later Linné's type is to be regarded as the nominal one. All of this seems to be true of only one species: virgaureae, the Scarce Copper. It was first described in the 1758 edition of Linné's Systema naturae, the first to include animals. In the 1761 edition of his Fauna suecica (no. 1079, p. 285), he gave as its locality "in pratis Westmanniae," that is, on the meadows of Västmanland (Westmania), a region roughly 60 miles NW of Stockholm. It was a very common European butterfly which now is on the decline. As it varies a great deal locally, a number of subspecies (including many spurious ones) have been reported. Finally, there was an article in the London journal The Entomologist ("The geographical variation of Lycaena virgaureae Linn.") by Major P.P. »Graves & Capt. A. F. »Hemming (61 , Feb 1928, p. 24–31, 56–62, 86–90, 104–109, 128–135) which sorted the jumble of more than thirty subspecies, adding a few new ones. In this article, the authors referred to a much earlier one by the Florentine entomologist Roger »Verity ("Revision of the Linnean types of Palæarctic Rhopalocera", Journal of the Linnean Society [London], 32 , 1913, p. 173–191), concurring with Verity: "[He was] completely justified when he called attention to the need of regarding the Swedish form as the nominotypical race of the species." So either Graves & Hemming themselves or else Verity may be Nabokov's "grave entomologist" who set things right – or still another one to whom Graves & Hemming also pointed, the Swiss entomologist Dr. Courvoisier who, following Verity's lead, examined 1,500 specimens of the Scarce Copper (Mitteilungen der schweizerischen entomologischen Gesellschaft [Bern], 32, 1918, p. 1–32). Probably the "grave entomologist" was a composite of all four of them. Nabokov need not have known Courvoisier's article first hand – the whole story was in the papers by Graves & Hemming and Verity. By the way, in his 1913 article Verity had not quite said what Graves & Hemming maintain he said, for Linné's specimen did not really need a formal reinstatement as the nominal type. Verity had only argued that "it will probably be found convenient to separate from this [i.e., Linné's] distinct northern race that of the mountains of Central Europe, always distinguishable by its larger size, much brighter colouring, and more prominent markings on the underside". This would speak for the conjecture that Nabokov knew of Verity's revision only from Graves' & Hemming's article. (He probably kept up with The Entomologist which printed his first entomological paper in 1920 and his second one in 1931.)
However, Verity's article he must have known first hand, too. For there is another species of coppers for which most of the above is true as well. It is the Small Copper (»Lycaena phlaeas), first described in Linné's Fauna suecica (1761) on the same page as virgaureae and likewise said to dwell in pratis Westmanniae. It is even commoner all over Europe and also has many local races. However, there is one point which definitely excludes it. There must exist that "almost 200-year-old, faded Scandinavian specimen collected by Linnaeus" which Nabokov mentions. Now Verity reported in his 1913 paper on the Linnean collection in London that while three of Linné's virgaureae have in fact survived, Linné's specimen of phlaeas has not been preserved.
*Eye 53–54; NabBut 478 (L)
& Ac: Heódes virgáureae • En: Scarce Copper • Fr: le cuivré de la verge d'or, l'argus satiné • Ge: Dukatenfalter • It: argo verga d'oro • Ru: червонец золотарниковый / огненный • Sp: manto de oro
*Hepialus armoricanus Oberthür, 1909 [Hepialidae]: Among the cases of mimicry and imitation mentioned in The Gift, the most puzzling one is this: "In my vicinity some witch doctors with the wary and crafty look of competitors were collecting for their mercenery needs Chinese rhubarb, whose root bears an extraordinary resemblance to a caterpillar, right down to its prolegs and spiracles – while I, in the meantime, found under a stone a caterpillar of an unknown moth, which represented not in a general way but with absolute concreteness a copy of that root, so that it was not quite clear which was impersonating which – or why."
The information that went into this passage comes mainly from A.E. »Pratt's travel account To the Snows of Tibet through China (1892) which Nabokov was well acquainted with (cf. also »Esakiozephyrus bieti). "I was glad to reach ... a rest-house frequented principally by the Chinese collectors of medicine. There were nearly fifty of them … The medicines collected here are rhubarb, Tchöng-tsäo (Sphæria sinensis), a plant the root of which bears an almost exact resemblance to the body of a caterpillar, and pey-mou (Fritillaria Roylii)" (p. 187–188). "Tchöng-tsäo is a most curious plant, growing at a great elevation in the eastern part of Tibet. It has a single spathe-shaped leaf about three inches long, and the root bears the most extraordinary resemblance to a caterpillar, all the segments, legs, eyes, &c. being faithfully represented" (p. 17). Nabokov must have taken the "Tchöng-tsäo …" phrase in the first of these sentences as an apposition and not as the next item in an enumeration of plants collected (rhubarb, Tchöng-tsäo, pey-mou). So he erroneously came to understand that the strange root is that of rhubarb. In fact it is something completely different.
Chinese rhubarb (Chinese name Da Huang, Latin name Rheum palmatum, Polygonacaea) is cultivated in N China and Tibet and widely used for its mildly laxative, astringent and haemostatic effect. That's what the witch doctors were mainly collecting.
They were also collecting what Pratt spelled 'Tchöng-tsäo'. That is no plant at all but a parasitic fungus, Cordyceps sinensis Berkeley, 1843 (family Clavicipitaceae, Ascomycota), called the Caterpillar Mushroom and found in marshy grasslands of Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet and Nepal above 3,800 metres. (In 2007, the scientific name was changed to Ophiocordyceps sinensis by Sung e.a.) The Chinese name is Dong Chong Xia Cao (Pinyin spelling) or simply Chong Cao, meaning 'Winter-worm Summer-grass'. The spores of the fungus infest the caterpillars of various insects, mainly of the genus Hepialus Fabricius, 1775 in the family Hepialidae (ghost moths, also called swift moths or bat moths), among them Hepialus armoricanus Oberthür, 1909, locally called Chong Cao (or Cordyceps) Bat Moth. Ghost moths are primitive moths with short antennae and big eyes that owe their common names to their swift flight, the shroud-like white of their males and to the fact that they have no ultrasonic hearing to dodge approaching bats and thus fall easy prey to them. When uninfested with the fungus, they live in the soil for two years before pupating; some of them drill holes into roots and can become pests. When spores have infested a larva, they germinate and the mushroom grows until it has filled the caterpillar's body with mycelium. In summer there emerges from the head of the dead larva a stalked fruiting body 20–60 mm long, resembling a brownish black blade of grass and shedding spores. The caterpillars are about the same length.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps sinensis makes a much coveted and highly prized tonic supposedly boosting endurance and stamina and used as a remedy against many kinds of ailments affecting the lungs, the kidneys and the glands, much like ginseng, "but better". In former times it is said to have been reserved for the emperor. There is also a duck recipe ('Medicin Duck') involving Cordyceps. It is collected in midsummer, then cleaned and dried in the sun. For medicinal use, it is cultivated nowadays and not grown out of caterpillars any more. Its worldwide renown spread when a Chinese women's track team that set a 10,000 m record in 1993 attributed its success to Cordyceps.
The false association with rhubarb proves, if this still needed proof, that Pratt's book was Nabokov's source. It cannot have been his only one, however, because Pratt does not mention that there actually is a moth's caterpillar resembling the supposed root, merely stating that the root looks like a caterpillar. Nabokov may have remembered that information from something he had read as a boy. In 1906, there was a note by Alfred Philpott in The Entomologist (39, p. 175–176), wondering whether Hepialus virescens or rather Porina dinodes was the host of the New Zealand Cordyceps robertsii fungus. So at that time the case itself was known, but it was still unclear which moth was involved in Tibet.
Hepialus armoricanus was first registered by Charles »Oberthür (Etudes de Lépidopterologie comparée [Rennes], 3, 1909, planche XXV, no. 135). Oberthür had caught a newly hatched and unusual ghost moth in his garden, and thinking it was a local specialty had called it armoricanus, after l'Armorique, the old name for Brittany. As neither he himself nor anybody else ever came across another like it again and even Otto Staudinger to whom he sent the specimen did not know where it belonged, it dawned upon him that it must have hatched from the larvae sent to him by the missionaries at Tatsienlu. He figured it in his serial work and gave it a name, but there never was a proper OD. Simultaneously he wrote an article telling about it and explaining why it puzzled him so. Hesitatingly he concluded that it actually belonged to W China, and he proved to be right. Probably he would have been less puzzled that a caterpillar can survive months in a box full of weeds had he known that the caterpillar of armoricanus lives two years underground. (Charles Oberthür: "Observations sur l'Hepialus armoricanus", Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France [Paris], 1909, p. 250–252.)
So there is no mimicry, camouflage or imitation involved at all. What seems to be a curiously shaped grass root actually is the carcass of a C Asian caterpillar.
& Ac: Hepíalus sp. • En: ghost moths, swift moths, bat moths • Fr: hépiales • Ge: Wurzelbohrer • Ru: тонкопряд
Hero: »Coenonympha hero
Herse convolvuli: »Agrius convolvuli
Hesperia alveus: »Pyrgus alveus
Hesperia armoricanus: »Pyrgus armoricanus
Hesperia carthami: »Pyrgus carthami
Hesperia Fabricius, 1793: a genus of »Hesperiidae (skippers), subfamily Hesperiinae. The type-species is »Hesperia comma. According to Nabokov, Hesperia was one of the five genera of the family represented in Europe; today, there are at least thirteen.
*NabBut 611 (BE)
Hesperia comma (Lampert 1907)
*Hesperia comma Linnaeus, 1758 [Hesperiidae]: this Holarctic skipper is found on openings and subalpine meadows all over Europe (except for the islands of the Mediterranean and N Britain and Scandinavia) as well as in Asia and N America (from Alaska to Labrador and the SW). Its wingspan is 25–30 mm. The males have a comma-like black stigma on the upperside of the forewings.
Fyodor sees one in the Berlin Grunewald: "A golden, stumpy little butterfly, equipped with two black commas, alighted on an oak leaf, half opening its slanting wings, and suddenly shot away like a golden fly."
Note that the Grunewald butterfly that settles on Fyodors chest two pages earlier is an entirely different one, belonging to a different family. It has "a white bracket on its dark mottled underside" and is the Comma Butterfly of "Mademoiselle O" (Stories, p. 482) and Speak, Memory (p. 106) which has "a tiny initial chalked on (the) dark underside" (»Polygonia c-album). See also under »anglewing.
& Ac: Hespéria cómma • Am: Holarctic Grass Skipper • En: Silver-spotted Skipper • Fr: le Comma • Ge: Kommafalter, Kommafleck • Ru: толстоголовка злаковая, толстоголовка-запятая • Sp: dorada manchas blancas
Hesperia malvae: »Pyrgus malvae
Hesperia malvoides: »Pyrgus malvae malvoides
Hesperia onopordi: »Pyrgus onopordi
Hesperia serratulae: »Pyrgus serratulae
Urbanus proteus (Howe 1975)
Hesperiidae Latreille, 1809: a family of butterflies, comprising some 3,500 species of small to medium size (with wingspans of 13–64 mm) distributed worldwide, most of them in S America; there are about 250 of them in N America and 48 in Europe. Even though their antennae (which are far apart) have clubs and most of them are flying by day, they have many moth-like features. Their heads have a broad front and are as wide as the thorax (deserving them the German name 'Dickkopffalter'), their bodies are squat und sturdy, and their coloring mostly is a darkish brown or orange. Their English vernacular name, 'skipper,' derives from their swift and erratic flight; it is as though they were skipping about in the air. For the taxonomist, they are a very challenging family, for many species are very close to each other. The type-species of the family is »Hesperia comma LINNAEUS, 1758.
In one of his letters to Véra (12 October 1942), Nabokov writes he is sending his son "a wonderful longtailed Hesperid" he had collected during a lecture tour in the vicinity of Atlanta, Georgia. As there are very few longtailed skippers N of Mexico (i.e. with hindwings prolonged into tails) and still fewer of them one would call wonderful, there is hardly a choice left, and Nabokov's capture might be Urbanus proteus LINNAEUS, 1758, the Long-tailed Skipper, which is documented from Augusta, Georgia.
*NabBut 268 (L), 610 (BE); LtVé 397, 425, 426, 430, 465, 472
& Ac: Hesperíidae • En: hesperi(i)ds, skippers • Fr: hespéridés, hespéries • Ge: Hesperiden, Dickkopffalter • It: esperidi • Ru: толстоголовки, (DarII) геспериды • Sp: hespéridos
Hessel's Hairstreak: »Mitoura hesseli
*N/WLet 142=113old; SelLet 413
Heteropterus Duméril, 1806: a genus of »Hesperiidae (skippers), subfamily Hesperiinae. The type-species is »Heteropterus morpheus, the Large Chequered Skipper. According to Nabokov, it is one of five genera that represent the family in Europe; today there are at least thirteen.
*NabBut 611 (BE)
Heteropterus morpheus Pallas, 1771 [Hesperiidae]: the Large Chequered Skipper, in W, C and E Europe, Baltic states, Balkans Turkey, C Asia, Amur region, Korea. It was described from Samara in S Russia. "I have taken it only in Berlin & Stresa". "Describe flight … Jerky, 'mechanical,' rather rapid. Settles on rushes and ground."
*NabBut 611 (BE)
High Brown: »Fabriciana adippe
The Woodland Grayling, Hipparchia fagi (© DEZ 2012)
Hipparchia Fabricius, 1807: a genus of »Nymphalidae, subfamily Satyrinae, tribe Satyrini (US true satyrs, GB graylings). The type-species is Hipparchia fagi Scopoli, 1763, the Woodland Grayling, in N Spain, S and C Europe, N Caucasus, Volga, S Urals, W Kazakhstan.
*NabBut 495 (L)
Hipparchia euxina: »Pseudochazara euxina
Hipparchia hippolyte: »Pseudochazara hippolyte
Hipparchia semele Linnaeus, 1758 [Nymphalidae, Satyrinae]: a grayling on the warm hills of C Europe and the mountain slopes of S Europe.
& Ac: Hippárchia sémele • En: Grayling • Fr: l'agreste • Ru: сатир Семела
Hippolyte Grayling: »Pseudochazara hippolyte
Hippotion celerio LINNAEUS, 1758 [Sphingidae]: a predominantly tropical hawkmoth with a wingspan of 59 to 76 mm flying in tropical Africa, Asia Minor, the Mediterranean countries, India, SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand.
& Ac: Hippótion celério • En: (Grape-) Vine Hawk Moth • Ge: Großer Weinschwärmer • Fr: Grand Sphinx de la Vigne • Sp: esfinge de la parra
Holly Blue: »Celastrina argiolus
The description given in The Gift ("a small hummingbird moth with a bumblebee's body and glasslike wings") fits all members of the genus Hemaris Dalman, 1816, especially »Hemaris fuciformis Linnaeus, 1758 which is its type-species and »Hemaris tityus Linnaeus, 1758. It excludes Macroglossum stellatarum and Proserpinus proserpina that have no glasslike wings.
Humbert Humbert, being no entomologist, is not aware that the "hundreds of gray hummingbirds in the dusk, probing the throats of dim flowers" are moths and not birds.
In a narrow sense, it is the Hummingbird Moth proper, »Macroglossum stellatarum.
*Gift 133; SpeakM 134; Lol 157; Ada 510; N/WLet #231=191old; Lep2 255
Hyles (ex Deilephila) euphorbiae Linnaeus, 1758 [Sphingidae]: the Spurge Hawk Moth, in N Africa, Europe, Near East, Russia, N India, C Asia, China.
Hyles galii (Lampert 1907)
*Hyles (ex Celerio) galii Rottemburg, 1775 [Sphingidae]: In Nabokov's last novel, a "tremendous olive-green fellow, with a rosy flush somewhere beneath" pauses for a moment on a thistlehead. As there are few big olive-green Lepidoptera in Europe, there is little choice. Zsolt Bálint suggests it might be »Pandoriana pandora, the largest European fritillary, with wingspans of 60–70 mm. The underside of the hindwings is a pale green in both males and females, and the underside of the forewings has a slight rosy touch. The predominant impression it gives when pausing on a flower, however, is not that of an "olive-green" butterfly at all, for the upperside of both wings has the typical patterning of fritillaries, light brown with blackish dice-like dots.
Another possibility is that the insect in question is no butterfly at all but a »hawk moth. While the Oleander Hawk (»Daphnis nerii) is both large and predominantly olive-green, there is no rosy flush beneath. The best match to the features is the Bedstraw Hawk (Hyles galii) whose posteriors have reddish bands with brown margins. It flies at dusk, sometimes by day, all over Europe, N Asia and N America up to the polar circle and to an altitude of 2,000 m, preferring dry and sunny meadows where willow herb grows. With a wingspan of 60–80 mm it is almost as big as the Oleander Hawk.
& Ac: Hýles gálii • En: Bedstraw Hawk • Fr: le sphinx de la garance • Ge: Labkrautschwärmer • Ru: бражник подмаренниковый • Sp: esfinge del cuajaleche
Hyles lineata Fabricius, 1775 [Sphingidae]: this is a day- and night-flying hawk moth with a wingspan of up to 80 mm and dark olive-brown forewings that have pinkish white streaks. Its range is N America. In Europe there is the very similar Hyles livornica Esper 1780, sometimes considered a subspecies of H. lineata.
The "striped Hawk Moth" of Lep12 observed immersing its proboscis into water in Estes Park, Colorado, probably is the Nearctic form of this moth.
*StrOps 317; Lep1 33; possibly Lep12; LtVé 51
& Ac: Hýles lineáta (livórnica) • Am: White-lined Sphinx • En: White-striped Hawk Moth • Fr: le Livournien • Ge: Linienschwärmer • Ru: бражник ливорнский • Sp: esfinge rayada
Hyles nicaea DE PRUNNER, 1798 [Sphingidae]: a large hawkmoth with a wingspan of 80 to 100 mm flying in the countries around the Mediterranean from Portugal to Turkey.
& Ac: Hýles nicáea • Ge: Großer Wolfsmilchschwärmer • Fr: le Sphinx nicéa • Sp: Esfinge mediterránea
Hyllolycaena hyllus Cramer, 1775, syn thoe Guérin-Ménéville, 1831 [Lycaenidae, Lycaeninae]: the Bronze Copper, in N America, from Ontario to Alberta and southward to Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey.
*NabBut 398 (L), 448 (L); Lep16
Hypodryas intermedia wolfensbergeri Frey, 1880 [Nymphalidae, Nymphalinae, Melitaeini]: a subspecies of the Asian Fritillary (Hypodryas intermedia Ménétriès, 1859), in the Swiss Alps. "I would say that alder, rather than spruce, characterizes the habitat." Nabokov captured specimens of this local fritillary in Davos and in Ponte di Legno.
& Ac: Hypodrýas intermédia wólfensbérgeri • En: Wolfensberger's Fritillary
Hypodryas (ex Euphydryas) maturna Linnaeus, 1758 [Nymphalidae, Nymphalinae, Melitaeini]: the Scarce Fritillary, in C and E Europe, Caucasus, Urals, E Kazakhstan, S and W Siberia, Transbaikal, Mongolia. "Common for a few days in June in aspen glades near St. Petersburg".
*NabBut 600 (BE); Lep16
& Ac: Hypodrýas matúrna • En: Scarce Fritillary • Fr: le damier du frène • Ge: (Kleiner) Maivogel • Ru: шашечница Матурна
Hyponephele (ex Epinephele, Maniola) lycaon Kühn, 1774 [Nymphalidae, Satyrinae, Maniolini]: the Dusky Meadow Brown, in S and SE Europe, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel to Kyrgyzstan and C Asia.
Icaricia Nabokov, 1945: a genus of Lycaenidae named by Nabokov (»Icaricia). In 1997, the genus was included in the genus Aricia Reichenbach, 1817 where its members will be found; for details on this transfer, see under »Lycaenidae.
*SelLet 199; Lep8 104–105, 129
ida Grum-Grzhimaylo: »Plebejus ida
Idas Blue: »Plebejus idas
Imperatorial Apollo: »Parnassius imperator
Inachis (ex Vanessa, ex Aglais) io Linnaeus, 1758 [Nymphalidae, Nymphalinae, Nymphalini]: In much of Europe, this common and rather variable species is considered a particularly beautiful butterfly. Its wingspan is 50–60 mm. In the corners of each of its dark reddish brown and quite ragged wings there is a large eyespot, a red one on the primaries and a blue one on the secondaries. Its range is from W Europe across temperate Asia to Japan. It is one of the butterflies that have profited from agriculture and urbanization, the larvae feeding on nettles and the imagos on clover fields as well as on city gardens.
According to Nabokov (Speak, Memory), in the nineteenth century it had been scarce in the region of St. Petersburg. The butterfly Nabokov captures and kills for the camera in the gardens of the Montreux Palace Hotel in the tv film of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (spring 1972) is a Peacock butterfly.
*SpeakM 12, 75; Gift 109; Ada 524; Lep1 31; Lep2 268; LtVé 193
& Ac: Ínachis/Vanéssa ío • En: Peacock Butterfly • Fr: le paon de jour, (Ada) le Paon du Jour • Ge: Tagpfauenauge • It: occhio di pavone, pavone di giorno, vanessa io • Ru: нимфа Ио, (Dar) павлиний глаз • Sp: pavo real
*PaleF 59; P&P 179
Inyo Blue: »Plebejus melissa inyoensis
Io Moth: »Automeris io
Iolana Bethune-Baker, 1914: a genus of »Lycaenidae, subfamily Polyommatinae (blues), tribe Polyommatini, Glaucopsyche Section. The type-species is »Iolana iolas, the Iolas Blue.
Iolas Blue: »Iolana iolas
Iolana iolas (Lampert 1907)
Iolana (ex Lycaena) iolas Ochsenheimer, 1816 [Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae]: in Ada (p. 128), there are "blue butterflies nearly the size of Small Whites, and likewise of European origin" that were "flitting swiftly around the shrubs and settling on the drooping clusters of wild flowers. In less complex circumstances, forty years hence, our lovers were to see again, with wonder and joy, the same insect and the same bladder-senna along a forest trail near Susten in the Valais". No doubt this is Iolana iolas, a beautiful large blue with a wingspan of up to 40 mm, making it even larger than a Small White (»Pieris rapae). The males have a purplish iridescent lustre. The caterpillar feeds inside the pods of yellow blossoming bladder-senna (Colutea arborescens). It is strictly Palearctic, flying in N Africa, S and E Europe and east to the Caucasus. "In flight like a giant [»Celastrina] argiolus."
There is an echo of it in "Villa Jolana" of Ada (p. 552). This is also the blue Nabokov speaks about in his tv interview with Bernard Pivot (Int14), mentioning that it is endangered in S France due to the fact that its foodplant, bladder-senna, is disappearing in the vicinity of vinyards where it used to grow as a weed.
'Scolitantidea' in NabBut 606 must be a misprint for Scolitantides. There is no such generic name. Actually Nabokov meant to place iolana in the supergenus Scolitantides. The supergenus Scolitantides corresponds to the Glaucopsyche Section, tribe »Polyommatini, subfamily Polyommatinae, in present-day classification.
*Ada 128, 552; Int14; NabBut 606–7 (BE), 698 (L)
& Ac: Iolána/Lycáena íolas • En: Iolas Blue • Fr: l'azuré du baguenaudier • Ge: Blasenstrauchbläuling • Ru: голубянка Иоланта • Sp: espantolobos
Iphiclides feisthamelii Duponchel, 1832 [Papilionidae]: a swallowtail in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and SW Europe (Iberian Peninsula, E Pyrenees) so similar to the European Scarce Swallowtail (»Iphiclides podalirius) that some authors have treated it as a subspecies of it. See also »Iphiclides podalirius podalirius.
*NabBut 578 (BE)
Iphiclides (ex Papilio) podalirius Linnaeus, 1758 [Papilionidae]: one of the few swallowtails of Europe; together with Iphiclides feisthameleii, its only kite swallowtail. Preferring the warmer parts of the Palearctic, its range is N Africa, S and C Europe, Turkey, Near and Middle East through temperate Asia to W China. It flies in grassy or bushy places, on rocky slopes and in woodland margins. Due to intensive agriculture, its numbers seem to diminish in Europe.
One of Nabokov's interview remarks in Strong Opinions poses a riddle. He mentions a "Zebra Swallowtail, in a quite conventional Madonna and Child by Gentile, as realistic as though it were painted yesterday". Now the Zebra Swallowtail is a strictly N American butterfly, »Eurytides marcellus. But I do not think one has to spend much time pondering how an American butterfly can make it into a European painting, even before the discovery of America. I believe Nabokov simply called Gentile's butterfly 'Zebra Swallowtail' for the benefit his American readers to whom "Scarce Swallowtail" would have meant little.
The zebra-striped swallowtail gliding past in Glory, its tails extended and joined, must be Iphiclides podalirius.
"Father's Butterflies" urges the reader to "consider the charm of remarkable aberrations encountered only within the confines of Russia, the sooty swallowtail (Avinov's lucifer) …" (авиновский люцифер). This is Iphiclides podalirius f. lucifer Avinov 1918, described from Russia in Oberthür's second serial work, Lépidopterologie comparée.
In his memories of his father, Dmitri Nabokov relates that there was a reproduction of one of Fra Angelico's Annunciations propped up on Nabokov's lectern, with a handwritten note saying that the angel's rainbow-wings have a "dash of Iphiclides podalirius, with a slight dash of Papilio machaon and perhaps a hint of the day-flying moth Panaxia (= »Euplagia) quadripunctaria. The two blackish stripes on each 'wing' correspond to the pattern of I.podalirius in the natural position of rest." Referring to Adolf Portmann's book on Animal Forms (American edition, 1967, p.110), Nabokov implies that the standard way of spreading butterflies distorts the patterning of the Scarce Swallowtail as it does that of the »European Swallowtail. If the position of the forewings were lowered as it is in nature when they are resting, the black stripes on the fore- and hindwings would join to form a total pattern. [»Butterflies in Art]
*Glory 9; NabBut 147 (L), 207 (FB), 578 (BE), 583 (BE); Lep1 30; Lep2 257, 268, 269; Dmitri Nabokov, "On Revisiting Father's Room", Encounter, Oct 1979, p.77
& Ac: Iphiclídes/Papílio podalírius • En: Scarce Swallowtail • Fr: le flambé • Ge: Segelfalter • It: podalirio • Ru: парусник Подалирий • Sp: chupaleche
Iphiclides podalirius podalirius Linnaeus, 1758 [Papilionidae]: the nominal subspecies of the Scarce Swallowtail. Hemming (1967) explains: "The bibliographical references and localities cited by Linnaeus for the nominal species Papilio podalirius showed clearly that he had confused together under this name two distinct taxa, one occurring in central and southern Europe, exclusive of Spain; the other in Spain and for a long stretch of the African Mediterranean littoral; it was to the first of these taxa that the specific name podalirius has always been applied while the second, which was not distinguished until 1832, was equally well known by the specific name feisthamelii… Verity drew attention to the fact that the sole syntype of Papilio podalirius preserved in the Linnean collection in London was a female, not of the European species always known as podalirius but of the North African species Papilio feisthamelii and suggested that the name podalirius should be transferred to the species known as feisthamelii. The adoption of this course would have had a most disturbing effect on accepted nomenclature…" The case was brought before the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in 1945. The solution was to select a new type-species for European podalirius, one from a locality near Livorno, Tuscany. So both, podalirius and feisthamelii, could retain their established names.
Ismeninae Mabille, 1904: an abandoned SE Asian and Australian subfamily of »Hesperiidae. Quoting Verity, Nabokov says it is strictly nocturnal. It was constructed around the genus Ismene Swainson, 1820, likewise abandoned. The type-species was what today is Allora doleschalii Felder, 1860, the Peacock Awl of Australia. The genus Allora Waterhouse & Lyell 1914 is in the subfamily Coeliadinae.
*NabBut 610 (BE)
Issoria (ex Argynnis) lathonia Linnaeus, 1758 [Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae, Argynnini]: one of the Palearctic lesser »fritillaries, with a wingspan of 35–45 mm and silvery spots or bands on the underside of its wings. From N Africa and W Europe across Asia Minor, W and C Asia to N India, Mongolia and W China. "The several 'subspecies' described by Verity and others are purely an environmental and climatic affair of no taxonomic value" ("Butterflies of Europe", 1964).
*SpeakM 218; Ada 524; NabBut 601 (BE); Lep1 31; Lep2 257, 268
& Ac: Issória/Argýnnis lathónia • En: Queen of Spain • Fr: le petit nacré • Ge: Kleiner Perlmutterfalter • Ru: перламутровка полевая • Sp: sofia
Ithomine: any member of the nymphalid subfamily Ithomiinae, an exclusively S and C American group of about 300 butterflies with partly diaphanous wings and enlarged forewings. Some authors used to consider them a family of their own (Ithomiidae). The type-genus of the subfamily is Ithomia Hübner, 1816, and the type-species of Ithomia is Ithomia drymo Hübner, 1816, in Colombia and Brazil.
Itylos Draudt, 1921 [Lycaenidae]: This is a "jumble" of a genus of Andean polyommatines which Nabokov revised in Lep9. As species belonging to it he recognized Itylos (ex Cupido) moza Staudinger, 1894, in Bolivia and Argentinia, Lycaena ruberrothei Weeks, 1902 (which he thought might prove to be the same as moza as it did) and pacis Draudt, 1921, in the Peruvian and Bolivian high Andes. Together they form the moza species group. Into the same genus Nabokov sorted koa Druce, 1876, from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes, which, along with several further, recently discovered species forms the koa species group.
The genus had originally been introduced by Max »Draudt to accommodate ruberrothei, moza and a new and very rare Peruvian species described by Draudt himself, inconspicua, which Nabokov, in his revision of Itylos, assigned to his new genus »Paralycaeides (in Section 1.1). However, Draudt had failed to designate a type-species for Itylos. This was supplied in 1929 by Francis »Hemming who chose speciosa Staudinger, 1894. When Nabokov revised the genus in 1945, he might have left it the way it had been delineated by Hemming's move and founded a new genus for the koa species-group that did not fit any more. Instead, he did not accept Hemming's choice, arguing that the taxon had after all first been associated with the koa group and designated as its type-species moza. So historically there were three Itylos, one in the sense of (sensu) Draudt, the second one sensu Hemming, the third one sensu Nabokov (which approached that of Draudt). The one that is valid today is a fourth one, sensu Bálint & Johnson, which again is close to Hemming's.
When Nabokov restricted the genus to the koa group the way Draudt had done, he established his new genus »Parachilades to accommodate Staudinger's speciosa which moreover he thought might be just a junior synonym of Lycaena titicaca Weymer, 1890. Bálint & Johnson (1994) showed that he was right in this and tentatively declared speciosa to be a synonym of the older titicaca and hence invalid. On the other hand, there had been nothing wrong with Hemming's designation of speciosa as the missing type-species of Itylos, and there was no way of taking it back. This in turn rendered Parachilades (Nabokov's vessel for speciosa) invalid, which reverted to Itylos, and left Itylos sensu Nabokov (the koa group) without a generic name.
This is where Zsolt Bálint came in. In 1993, he provided the missing name. It is Madeleinea, called after the second wife of William D. »Field of the National Museum of Natural History. In addition to the koa and moza groups, Bálint & Johnson assigned a number of old and new species to Madeleinea, among them seven that bear Nabokovian names (»Section 1.3). By the end of 1995, the genus numbered seventeen species that come in three groups: koa (ranging from Lake Titicaca to Colombia), lolita (restricted to the High Andes of Peru) and moza (in the High Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and NW Argentina).
What had been Nabokov's Neotropical »Plebejinae (i.e., the Polyommatini of S America) had been more or less at rest for over thirty-five years. Then, in the early nineties, two independent parties began to look into them. One were Bálint, Johnson and their S American co-workers. The other was an Italian researcher, Emilio Balletto in Torino. Balletto's paper on the subject was published in February 1993 ("One some new genus-group and species-group names of Andean Polyommatini", Bolletino della Società entomologica italiana [Genova], 124 , p. 221–243). The first of a long series of papers by Bálint & Johnson appeared only twenty-eight days later. Among other things, Balletto proposed a new name for what had been the moza and koa species-group of Itylos. It was to be Nivalis. Though Balletto's paper was based on considerably less material, he would have beaten Bálint & Johnson to it, invalidating Madeleinea from the very start. However, he had explicitly declared Nivalis to be an adjective ('the snowy one'), and as adjectives are not allowed as generic names, Bálint & Johnson were able to rescue their Madeleinea.
With all these confusing developments, the revision of what was left of the genus Itylos produced in 1994 by Bálint & Johnson would seem most welcome ("Polyommatine lycaenids of the oreal biome in the Neotropics, part ii: The Itylos section [Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae]", Annales historico-naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici (Budapest), 86, 1994, p. 53–77). They assigned to it just three species: titicaca (syn speciosa, the type-species originally designated by Hemming) and two new ones, pnin Bálint, 1993 and fumosus Balletto, 1993 (syn luzhin Bálint, 1993). Very recently the taxon mashenka also proved to be a conspicuously patterned Itylos species. Madeleinea lolita also was moved over to Itylos. Together with Hemiargus, the genus Itylos now makes up the Itylos Section of the Polyommatini.
In a footnote to their article "Nabokov as a Lepidopterist: An Informed Appraisal" (Nabokov Studies [Davidson, NC], 3, 1996, p. 123–144), Johnson, Whitaker & Bálint explain Nabokov's mishap concerning Itylos and its consequences: "Nabokov's major misidentification was his view of the 'koa' species group as genus 'Itylos'. He proposed the invalid name Parachilades, a 'synonym' of what was already Itylos Draudt. Although this was widely known among lepidopterists after 1945, it appears not to have been officially corrected until Johnson's & Bálint's work in 1993 … Because of this misidentification, Nabokov inadvertently missed his chance to offer the seminal generic name for the koa assemblage of tropical American blues. Bálint's 1993 name Madeleinea is the valid name because Balletto's, 1993 'unavailable name' Nivalis was explicitly etymologized as an 'adjective,' violating article 11g of the Code."
*Lep9 38–43, 47
Itylos (ex Lycaena) koa: »Madeleinea koa
Itylos (ex Lycaena) moza: »Madeleinea moza
Itylos pacis: »Madeleinea pacis
Kallima Doubleday, 1849: a SE Asian and African genus of »Nymphalidae, subfamily Nymphalinae, tribe Kallimini. Its species mimic dead leaves to the point of perfection. Among the best-known species are Kallima inachus Boisduval, 1836, the Orange Oakleaf, and Kallima paralekta Horsfield, 1928, the Indian (or Malayan) Dry-leaf Butterfly, the type-species of the genus.
*NabBut 225 (FB)
& En: (Oak) Leaf Butterflies • Fr: papillons-feuille • Ru: (DarII) каллима
Kallima paralekta, underside (WikiCommons)
Karner Blue: »Plebejus samuelis
Kibo Fritillary: This very probably is an invented nymphalid, one of the imaginary butterflies of Ada that could really exist but don't. In his copy, Nabokov glossed it as Argynnis kiboensis (Boyd, personal communication). Mount Kibo is the main summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, a volcanic peak of nearly 6,000 m altitude. There does not seem to be a butterfly or moth named for it. Mt. Kilimanjaro itself has been incorporated into several names of moths (kilimanjarensis). At the time of Ada's writing, there also was a nymphalid subspecies named for it that may have inspired Nabokov (Charaxes ansorgei kilimanjarica van Someren, 1967, from the western slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro), not a fritillary, though. If Nabokov wanted it to be a butterfly adapted to an extreme altitude, he had to make it either a fritillary or an apollo. As there are no apollos in Africa, it had to be a fritillary.
Kirinia (ex Pararge) roxelana Cramer, 1777 [Nymphalidae, Satyrinae, Parargini]: the Lattice Brown, in SE Europe, Turkey, Levant, N Iraq, W Iran, described from Istanbul.
kodiak: »Plebejus saepiolus amica
Krolik's Lesser Fritillary: the naturalist Dr. Krolik was Ada's nature teacher. The so-called lesser »fritillaries of boreal N America and Europe are butterflies of the genera Boloria Moore, 1900, Clossiana Reuss, 1920 and Proclossiana Reuss, 1926 [Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae, Argynnini]. One of them is said to have been named by or after Krolik. The French translation revised by Nabokov has "la Clossiane de Krolik". In his copy of Ada Nabokov glossed 'Krolik's Lesser Fritillary' as Clossiana kroliki (Boyd, personal communication). So he meant it to be an insect named in honor of Krolik and not by Krolik. Krolik's butterfly flying "near an unnamed lake on an arctic mountain" whose caterpillar feeds on white violets therefore is an invented member of the real genus Clossiana. Four that feed on violets are Clossiana selene Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775 (the Silver-bordered Fritillary), Clossiana bellona Fabricius, 1775 (the Meadow Fritillary), Clossiana kriemhild Strecker, 1878 (Strecker's Small Fritillary) and Clossiana epithore W.H. Edwards, 1864 (the Western Meadow Fritillary). A British-Columbian subspecies of one of the Holarctic lesser fritillaries has been named for Nabokov, »Clossiana freija nabokovi Stallings & Turner, 1947.
*Ada 57, 404
Krueper's (Small) White: »Pieris krueperi