One was captured on Umboi by a Japanese collector; it's the same as those from New Britain.
The data for "Santa Isabel" was confused with that of other species that were collected there, in the '60s I believe. Looking at altitude maps, it seems doubtful that the peaks are high enough for messalina on that island. I remain convinced, however, that new ssp are waiting to be discovered on Kolombangara and Malaita.
During 1965 the Royal British Expedition set out for the Solomon Islands and collected both at Tatamba in lowland forest on Santa Isabel with had much secondary forest and then moved on to Guadalcanal where they collected in the high montane forest of Mount Popomanaseu. This expedition had no entomologist with them. During their expedition they caught among others a series of Delias that was later named D. alberti tetamba and Delias messalina orientalis. The butterflies were stored away papered in boxes at the BMNH and were not examined until 1983 by Arora who named both subspecies.
During 1996 John Tennent led a BMNH team to Santa Isabel and explored the area around Tatamba and found the habitat most unsuitable for either D. alberti tetamba and Delias messalina orientalis but they then collected high on Mount Popomanaseu where they found both Delias including the first female of D. alberti tetamba
It seems highly likely there was a mix up of specimen data from the 1965 expedition and I believe John Tennent believes that the earlier expedition collected both Delias as he did on Mount Popomanaseu and not in lowland secondary forest near Tatamba.
It would seem as far as the new subspecies of Delias alberti is concerned it has a most unfortunate ssp name being described after an erroneous locality.
Danny, Peter > Thanks a lot, I agree than Tatamba biotope is unlikely for messalina and alberti and these specimens must come indeed from Guadalcanal Mt Popomanaseu.
This said, a population of messalina could live in the top of Santa Isabel. Altitude is 1150m. Nicolas Grimaldi has recently proven that messalina also flies in mid-altitude as he caught some in Mt Popomanaseu at 1100m (and no one knows if some population exist at even lower altitudes).
If anyone has a possibility to find a picture of the Umboi specimen, I would be happy to see it.