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Official Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society of Africa
2014, Metamorphosis Volume 25: 141 - 146
Publication Date : 2014-12-01
Author/s : Steve C. Collins and Szabolcs Sáfián

Title :

Notes on the Iridana obscura species group with the description of a new species from western Cameroon (Lycaenidae: Lipteninae: Epitolini)

Abstract :

Iridana obscura Stempffer, 1964 is a unique-looking species, with very dark, almost blackish hindwing underside, and for over 50 years no closely related species were described. Recently I. agneshorvathae Collins, Larsen & Sáfián, 2008 with a similarly dark hindwing underside, but a different pattern was described from Ghana. A series of both sexes of an Iridana with similar pattern on the hindwing underside have been collected in Cameroon and the Central African Republic. They were mentioned in the recent Lycaenidae volume of Butterflies of the Afrotropical Region, as I. near agneshorvathae and both sexes were later illustrated in the addenda to this volume, and were also illustrated in a subsequent publication as an undescribed species. The description was already in preparation, when the same Iridana was published from a single female bred in Cameroon under the name I. pseudobscura Bouyer, 2014. The authors present supplementary information on I. pseudobscura including the description of the male and describe another closely related new species, I. michaelgwynnei from North-Western Cameroon. The existence of three very similar species justifies the introduction of an I. obscura species group. I. obscura might prove endemic to the Albertine Rift area, while I. pseudobscura is a Congolian lowland forest species, probably with wider distribution in Central Africa. The newly described I. michaelgwynnei, having been collected north-west of the Sanaga River, could either be a Central-Western African forest species or an upland element found only in mid-elevation forests in the Gulf of Guinea Highlands.

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