Adam. Thank you for your kind comments, yes I have reread the whole thread, I have had rather bad man flu the past week . Cyane , yes that seems to be our Man. Thank you for your link. It is very interesting that Pomeroy states he caught a specimen of antizox in 1913. As the specimen was lost we will never know what he had managed to capture.
Happy to copy here Steve Collins answer to this interesting post :
Page 8 d'Abrera Afrotropical Part I of Revised version “antizox” (Barnes name)
Yes this is interesting and not impossible that there is an uncaptured species out there. What I can say is that zalmoxis/antimachus are not closely related, both species are not rare in the area Bafwasande that it was recorded from. I have been there and had collectors there for several months, and they have caught the two typical species but never mentioned anything unusual. What we do see is in nature sometimes the Zalmoxis blue become a burnt coppery colour in old specimens but usually all four wings are this colour abberations of both species also occur but not with high degree of frequency, and usually melanism or poor scale formation.
Having said that Barnes and his wife were extraordinary collectors and even more so for their time when logistics were so difficult the fact that a specimen caught was lost in transit adds additional weight anyway not many was with their clothes on!.
On Danny Burke and his stories about SCC catching a gynandromorphy in a river will his shirt. I am afraid he is muddling up 3 stories. We do have a gynandrons antimachus which we got from commercial collectors in Bangui many years ago. Yes I did catch a female antimachus parva (good ssp in my opinion) the only one that we have in fact. When washing by a river in SW Uganda I had no clothes and the net was out of reach, the female flew by closely and I managed to knock it down with my hand. (We would not have a shirt on in the river or it would be wet).
The third part that Danny has mixed up was yes I did catch a Papilio dardanus ff trophonius in Kitale High Street (he was very keen on P. dardarnus in those days form trophonius is a rare morph in P.d.dardanus and I had not seen it in that race. I was about at the time and I took my shirt off in the high street to catch it (much to mothers horror and other passersby amusement).
All 3 specimens are in the ABRI collections, so this just to put the record straight. As Erich Bauer is putting out an edition of Butterflies of the World which will be published in January 2015 which has 2 parts one on Unusual ABRI Papilio and the second with some other extraordinary specimens, things never seen elsewhere in the Lepidoptera. This will also come in Quarter 1 2015 so I'd ask your forum some patience to see these.
Post by deliasfanatic on Dec 22, 2014 14:30:24 GMT
Thanks for posting this, Michel, and thanks to Steve for writing it. It's been a long time, and I'm surprised to see how much I've mixed up the information from several different incidents! It was 26 years ago that Steve visited me, so time and faded memory are the reason, I suppose. Nice to see that Steve remembers my great interest in dardanus, which continues to this day, and that's great to hear about the upcoming BOTW publications.
I fear Barn's antizox may forever remain a mystery. I suppose it is quite plausible that this was a case of mistaken identity as Adam and later Torben has pointed out and what indeed the African collector saw was a large P. zalmoxis. However as Torben and Steve Collins has also stated T.A. Barns seems to have been a good reliable observer. The wing shape of his drawing clearly shows a large antimachus type butterfly, which he maintained he observed closely.
Recently I have found further information regarding antizox in the Transactions of the Entomological Society of London for 1921 entitled ' The existence in Africa of a remarkable Papilio of the antimachus type. The article was placed under the exhibits for the meeting of December 1921 . ' Lord Walter Rothschild' took the chair.
" Mr G. Talbot said that when Mr T.A. Barns was collecting lepidoptera on the Lindi River in April 1920 ( not 1919 as I originally suggested in my article ) he saw a remarkable butterfly and he exhibited a coloured drawing of it which Mr Barns has made. The insect appears to partake of the characters of both Papilio zalmoxis and P. antimachus but it is unlikely to be a hybrid between them. Since the publication of the note of this butterfly in the ' Bulletin of Hill Museum ' some further information has come to hand which seems to confirm the evidence of Mr Barns."
" Monsieur F. le Cerf of the Paris Museum has furnished the following account of an insect seen in French Guinea. A Sergeant Monceaux, who took part in the Franco- Liberian Mission for the delimitation of the Liberian - French Guinea frontier, made a collection of 4,000 butterflies. He described having seen in the district of the Upper Sasandra River a large butterfly which at midday, was drinking from a pool of water in the road. The butterfly was opening and closing its wings and Sergeant Monceaux got quite close to it before it flew away. The wings were very long and for the greater part a brilliant blue. I showed the sergeant various butterflies including P. zalmoxis but these were not the specimen seen. However, upon seeing P. antimachus he exclaimed : " " it is that species but with much more brilliant blue and larger "
"Dr W.A. Lamborn has written to say that he once saw a specimen of this great Papilio in Nigeria."
" Mr C.J. Grist records that a friend who was in Nigeria told him that he saw a large butterfly, which he could not catch, and his description tallied to a great extent with that of Mr Barns, except that he said the forewings were all a bright Cambridge blue and the hindwings red with yellow markings "
"We have recently come across the following notes by Hewitson in the Ento Mag page 122 1873. In the introduction to his description of some West African Lycaenidae, he says the collector Mr Rodges saw P. antimachus and another large butterfly, which from his description, must be a magnificent species. No mention is made of what this was like and no further locality given. May it not have been the species under discussion "
" It is certain that a Papilio similar to the specimen drawn by Mr Barnes does exist in Africa and the evidence points to its being distributed from Guinea to the Lindi River. It must be very rare and very wary and strong on the wing. "
It would be simply amazing if this is truly a species that has managed to go uncollected all this time with such an extensive range. I'd guess it would have to survive with an incredibly low population density.
Yes, it would be incredible. However I doubt that it could survive with an extremely low population density, that's a recipe for extinction. More likely (assuming it does exist) it is very restricted in habitat and confined to places that humans very rarely ever reach, probably the canopy.
I have found another reference to Barn's giant Swallowtail. In Butterflies and Late Loves, a book by W.F. Cater who researched the diaries of the famous women collector and expert lepidopterist- Margaret Fountaine, there is a further account of an encounter with the mythical insect. In 1927, at the age of 60, Margaret was collecting at the village Ekona in Cameroon. She wrote
"There is one butterfly on the West Coast of Africa which for some years has been known amongst entomologists as the elusive 'Drurya ' which, though occasionally seen at various places by several people, has up to the present always managed to evade capture; it has been described as being a wonderful vivid blue and very large, and it was now my ambition to be the first to catch a specimen of this gorgeous creature. One evening at Ekona I had I thought, seen it down by the stream. The lovely creature was sitting with its wings closed, imbibling as one might say a last drink before retiring for the night. Just as I was making up my mind to plunge across the stream to it, the thing got up and floated majestically over our heads. It was a most beautiful sky blue, and jumping at a conclusion I cried " That is the butterfly I have come to West Africa specially to take! making at the same time a frantic effort with my big yellow net, but it was just out of reach, and soaring high in the air it sailed proudly away towards a patch of thick Jungle.
It could have been, but Fountaine's mention of Drurya, refers to the mysterious antimachus. She often went to the BMNH and would have been aware of P. zalmoxis, what she in fact saw we will never know, as she failed to capture the butterfly. She certainly was an adventurous lady perhaps indeed, not very far behind Cheesman, collecting in the depths of the Amazon or deep in the African Jungles, she indeed also collected in Indo-China modern day Thailand.
Seeing the d'Abrera illustration, it seems likely Papilio agestor. It could be very interesting. It could be a n (extinct?) species that imitated the Danaidae pattern. But now there isn't Danaidae species in Africa (sometimes could were?) and were reemplazed by Acraeidae...
Otherwise, The pattern of the Barn's illustrator is quite possible and so similar to Papilio agestor, isn´t it?