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Mormon Metalmark? - Apodemia mejicanus - female

Mormon Metalmark? - Apodemia mejicanus - Female
Tres Pistolas Canyon, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA
May 15, 2011
I found this butterfly near the bottom of a rocky canyon in the Sandia mountains.

she is a Metalmark
Apodemia mejicanus

Moved from Butterflies (excluding skippers).

Hmm - thanks, David!
I see this is a species complex with Mormon Metalmark? I keep my "life list" and sightings on the "Butterflies I have seen" web site and this species is not listed there - should I leave it as A. mormo there?

That is your decision to make
Basically it is a judgement call on "what is a species". Most authors and authorities have been splitting up the Mormon Metalmark complex (as with most other "Gossamer Wing" and "Metalmark" groups), and you will rarely see the one you photographed identified as A. mormo now. However, there is conficting evidence as to whether this (and others) blend with more typical "A. mormo" where they meet. If they do blend, I'd say they are the same variable species; however, if they fly side by side in the same area and don't blend, they are different. I have never found the two together in the same exact area yet (at least not that I remember), but I've seen them very near to one another and different. There are sometimes specimens found that look rather intermediate though. So, for now, I think the jury is out. Personally I think (tentatively) that there are just two species in this complex (perhaps only one), but most authors go well beyond that and end up with three, four, or even many. I think we have four listed here on BugGuide right now (A. mormo and three others), but to my eyes right now, the "other" three of those (duryi, virgulti, & mejicanus) are all the same species.

Thanks -
for the information! Interesting stuff. I will try to look into some of the technical references for this complex, when I get a chance.

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