TAXONOMIC HISTORY OF THE SUBFAMILY COELIADINAE
The taxonomic history of the subfamily Coeliadinae began with Dru Drury (1773), an English jeweler, who described the first taxon, Papilio Plebeius Urbicola iphis (now Pyrrhochalcia iphis). He was followed by Fabricius (1775) and Cramer (1777).

The number of described taxa increased rapidly from 1850 due to the efforts of Moore (1866, 1881), Mabille (1876a, b), Ploetz (1879), and Elwes & Edwards (1897). Moore (1881) established 4 major Asiatic genera of the subfamily, namely Bibasis, badamia, Choaspes and Hasora.

Watson (1893) proposed the first comprehensive classification of the family Hesperiidae. His classification was based on the antenna, the third palpal segment, wing venation, male secondary sexual characters, and the resting position of wings. He incorrectly considered the group (an exclusive dicotyledon feeder) as a section of Pampilinae (now Hesperiinae), which includes almost all skippers that feed on moocotyledons. watson recognized 5 genera.

Elwes & Edwards (1897) revised the oriental Hesperiidae. They emphasized the importance of the structure of the male genitalia in diagnosing species. They considered that the group was distinctly separated from Pampilinae by the porrect and filiform third segment of the palpi. They also recognized the same 5 genera as Watson. However, their concepts of Ismene (now Burara) and Bibasis were somewhat different from those of Watson. Mabille (1903-1904) relied on the same characters as watson. He named the subfamily Ismeninae and transfered 2 species of Rhopalocampta to his new Pyrrhochalcia. Fruhstorfer (1911) added 46 taxa. Most of these taxa, however, are considered either junior synonyms or intraspecific variations by current authors.

Brigadier William Harry Evans, in his celebrated work on world Hesperiidae, revised the African (1937) and Indo-Australian (1932, 1934, 1949) taxa of the Coeliadinae. The era when Evans was working on hesperiid taxonomy was the beginning of the "New Systematics" of Huxley (1940).

Apparently, he was primarily concerned with constructing a good reference system and determining species limits morphologically among hundreds of extremely similar, often undescribed, skippers. In radically lumping series of geographically allopatric taxa {superspecies of Mayr (1942)} all together as single species, h relied strongly on male genitalia. For that reason, Burns (1985), among others, accused him of reducing good species to subspecific rank. I feel it was rather fortunate for subsequent skipper workers that Evans completed his catalogue in that fashon. If he did not, it would be very difficult to follow his classification unless each description is compared with the synoptic collection in the Natural History Museum (BMNH). Moreover, his treatment of geographically replacing taxa intrinsically suggests a vicariance model of biogeography.


TO BE CONTINUED ...