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Cherry Gall Azure full species status

I just recieved a letter on Masslep that Harry Pavulaan posted about Azures. Here's what he wrote. Does this mean we should upgrade the Cherry Gall, and possibly the other Ladon species status in the guide?

"Several people have inquired with me offline regarding the status of the Cherry Gall Azure paper. First, here is the reference:

Pavulaan, H. and D. M. Wright. 2005. Celastrina serotina (Lycaenidae: Polyommatinae): A new butterfly species from the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. The Taxonomic Report Vol. 6(6):1-18. The paper fully describes and officially names the Cherry Gall Azure.

If anyone is interested in a copy of the paper, please do not use the Pay Pal link at for now. TILS and the website is being reorganized in the wake of the passing of TILS president Ron Gatrelle, who pretty much handled everything himself in Goose Creek, S.C. I'd offer free copies, but unfortunately, with funds currently being tight for both TILS and myself, and the high cost of professionally printing the full-color issues, no spare copies were printed apart from our subscriber base. Copies can be ordered for $10 each from me (via email) but you will have to wait for about 2-3 weeks so I can have a run of copies printed and mailed from Virginia. PDF copies are available more rapidly at $5 per upload (this helps support our continued research).

The Cherry Gall Azure has become accepted as a species in many publications since we first recognized the distinctness of this butterfly in 1983. I first noted this butterfly in my field studies when I lived in Rhode Island in 1983 and 1984, and have studied it ever since. Many authors did not wait for us to officially describe and name the butterfly, thus it is variously treated as "Cherry Gall Azure (Celastrina sp.)" in books such as Butterflies of Canada, Butterflies of Quebec. The name "C. serotina" is now available as the latin name. The species "type locality" is Great Swamp WMA in West Kingston, R.I. where it can be seen in profusion along trails in mid-May.

There are three full species of Azure in Massachusetts, possibly four. None of these are "subspecies" of each other since each one is essentially univoltine and does NOT produce any of the other seasonal flights. By month:

The April emergence in most of Massachusetts is C. ladon (Spring Azure). This is the array of dark forms ranging from dark patches, margins and large spots. In the high elevations of Berkshire County, C. lucia (Northern Azure) can be found. In the northeast, the undersides of C. ladon and C. lucia are identical in their range of variation. In other words they cannot be distinguished by their undersides. However, the uppersides of C. ladon and C. lucia males are dramatically different in the structure of their wing scales, easily discernable to the trained eye.

The May flight is C. serotina (Cherry Gall Azure). These are the butterflies that are very white beneath, with very crisp and distinct black spots. The upperside is similarly distinct from C. ladon and C. lucia.

The July flight is C. neglecta (Summer Azure). This familiar butterfly has no biological connection to any of the earlier flights. All Azures seen from July 1 onward are C. neglecta. There is a partial second brood in early September some years, but only a small number of adults are reported.

The Appalachian Azure (C. neglectamajor) likely exists in extreme southwestern Massachusetts, in association with stands of the hostplant Cimicifuga racemosa. However, nobody yet has investigated this as a possible new addition to the Massachusetts fauna!

NABA treats several species of Azure (C. idella, C. humulus, C. neglecta) as "subspecies" of the Spring Azure, but this is flat out wrong, as subspecies are GEOGRAPHICAL races, not seasonal flights. Virtually all biologists recognize the fact that subspecies cannot be found in the same places but at different times of year. I suspect, that by previous example, NABA will similarly refuse to recognize this unique butterfly as a species."

Harry Pavulaan

The "Spring Azure" butterflies
At my request, Dr David Wright has looked at the Celastrina images on BG and has graciously identified them. Dr Wright has been studying this species complex for more than 25 years and along with Harry Pavulaan they have written the most authoratative papers on the eastern species; with the most recent (December 2005) being a formal description and naming of the cherry gall azure which they prefer to call the Late Spring Azure.
I will re-name, where necessary, BG’s Celastrina based on Dr. Wrights comments; some of our ID’s were correct, some incorrect. Further comments by Dr. Wright on this complex will be added to the Celastrina Info page when time permits.

this will be fascinating reading! Thanks,

Upgrade? Yes
Tom: I copied this letter and posted it under the genus page Celastrina. It seems an obvious place for it; may get hard to locate in the Forum pages in the future.
I would like to order a copy, do you have Pavulaan's e-mail address?

email address
Tony, here's the address:

Thanks Tom
I have written and asked to purchase all his papers on Celastrina. Let's wait until I get them and see what taxa he proposes, unless someone already has them and wants to update the Celastrina pages

More lepidoptera info from H Pavulaan
Here's another link that Harry Pavulaan posted on Masslep that has hundreds of lep research links. research results
Don't know if this is useful to you, all I know is that it's a bit much for me.

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