Vanessa itea report UK

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  • #14120


    Hi all

    I would just like to report that finally after the worst winter for over 30 years in the UK, I now have lots of fertile pairings from my last remaining Vanessa Iteas and small first instar larvae hatching out for the past 2 days. I am so pleased that it has all worked out, What a relief! I really thought that this time the project was really over, but hey it's on to year 13 and time to see if I can cope with all the hard work all over again! I must be crazy! But I love it really!

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    Our two admirals are the only ones in the genus Bassaris.
    A good reason to stay with it!



    Hi Jacqui, Terry & All,

    Carl Linneaus formulated the scientific grouping of plants and animals back in 1758, using the binomial system of a 'generic' (genus) name first, being a group with similar characteristics, followed by the 'species', using Latin terms.
    Since then and with ongoing research, scientists often present findings that contradict the original decisions, and propose name changes. However not all agree and this is where differences of names occur, simply because two authors don't agree. In 1971 W.D. Smith, a scientist with the Smithsonian Intitute in USA proposed a change of genus with the 'southern admirals', removing them from the genus of 'Vanessa' and placing them in the new genus of 'Bassaris'.
    The reason given as two major differences.
    1. The NZ red admiral and the Australasian yellow admiral differ from the world wide admirals in that they have blue centres to the black spots on the hindwings.
    2. The males have distinct genetalic differences.
    Hence we have Bassaris (genus) gonerilla (species)instead of Vanessa gonerilla and Bassaris itea instead of Vanessa itea. Generally NZ references accept the Bassaris genus while other countries remain with Vanessa. Possibly using older references when publishing new works sometimes results in remaining with the original names.
    Pronounced Bass-are-riss, Bassaris was one of the female worshippers of Bacchus, the Greek god of wine.
    As Terry mentioned, references are from G.Gibbs.



    Hi Jacqui

    Butterflies often have their classifications changed, there is always a reason, although not being very scientific I don't always know the reason. In Gibbs book "Butterflies of New Zealand" he gives a breakdown of the classification changes, however I bet Norm will know the answer!
    Over to you Norm!!!!
    It was meant for me to be interested in the Vanessids as Vanessa has always been my fave girls name. My mother told me if I had been born female I would have been named Teresa, I don't think it would fit though as I am no Saint!
    Thanks Jane, for your kind words on this forum, it's good to know others are cheering one on.



    Hey Terry, I am SO pleased to hear that.

    Tell me, can you please, why do some people refer to it as Vanessa itea while others refer to it as Bassaris itea? Are there any other butterflies named "Bassaris"?

    Vanessa is a beautiful word,to me, but Bassaris sounds ugly – just to my ears. I should look them up and see what they all mean, and 'itea' too.

    Anyway, whatever, I'm thrilled for you. Have a happy Spring. Summer weather still continues where I am (currently Bay of Plenty) but I saw a horrendous storm hit Wellington on the news the other day so don't know what it's like in all parts of the south.





    Hi Terry,

    That's the best news. I'm so pleased you've got fertile pairings again. It was too sad a thought to think that your project may be over after all those years. I'm thrilled for you. Lets hope you get some sunshine to go with your butterflies! Keep up the great work : )

    Regards – Jane

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