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Riodinidae Grote 1895

Metalmarks, Erycinidae Swainson 1827 (see nomenclature section)

Andrew V. Z. Brower
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taxon links [up-->]Nymphidiini [up-->]Eurybiini [up-->]Stygini [up-->]Riodininae - incertae sedis [up-->]Riodinini [up-->]Corrachiini [up-->]Euselasiini [up-->]Symmachiini [up-->]Helicopini [up-->]Mesosemiini [up-->]Nemeobiinae [up-->]Stalachtini Not Monophyletic[down<--]Papilionoidea Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Papilionoidea


Riodinidae are a pantropical family, with the majority of species occurring in the neotropics.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The tree shown is implied by classifications of Harvey (1987), Corbet et al. (1992) and Lamas (2004), and should be viewed as an informal hypothesis in need of corroboration.


Although Erycinidae Swainson 1827 appears to be a senior name to Riodinidae Grote 1895, the type genus Erycina Fabricius 1807 is a junior homonym of Erycina Lamarck 1805 (a genus of bivalve mollusk). A family-group name cannot be based on a generic name that is a junior homonym (ICZN Article 39), so Swainson's Erycinidae is invalid. The Commission ruled (ICZN opinion 1073, 1977) that the family group name for this taxon should be Riodinidae Grote 1895 (1827), based on the replacement generic name Riodina that was selected by Westwood [1851], even though there are alternative family-group names with priority (e. g., Nemeobiinae Bates [1868]; Mesosemiini Bates 1859). (Bates employed Erycinidae as the family-group name for these subordinate taxa). This is one of the more confusing puzzles in butterfly nomenclature.


Ackery, P. R., R. de Jong, and R. I. Vane-Wright. 1999. The butterflies: Hedyloidea, Hesperioidea, and Papilionoidea. Pages 264-300 in: Lepidoptera: Moths and Butterflies. 1. Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbook of Zoology Vol. IV, Part 35. N. P. Kristensen, ed. De Gruyter, Berlin and New York.

Bridges CA. 1988. Catalogue of family-group and genus-group names (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). Charles A. Bridges, Urbana, IL.

Corbet AS, Pendlebury HM, and Eliot JN. 1992. The butterflies of the Malay Peninsula. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.

Devries, P. J. 1997. The Butterflies of Costa Rica and Their Natural History: Riodinidae. Princeton University Press, N. J.

Harvey, D. J. 1987. The higher classification of the Riodinidae (Lepidoptera). vii + 215 + [1] pp. Ph. D . Thesis, University of Texas, Austin.

Lamas G ed. 2004. Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 4A Hesperioidea - Papiionoidea. Gainesville: Scientific Publishers/Association of Tropical Lepidoptera.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Apodemia mormo langei
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Collection U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Online Digital Media Library
Scientific Name Calephelis virginiensis
Location Okeechobee County, Florida, USA
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Collection BugGuide.Net
ToL Image Use creative commons This image is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Creative Commons License.
Copyright © Jeff Hollenbeck
Scientific Name Rhetus arcius
Location El Naranjo, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By Gill Carter
Life Cycle Stage adult
View dorsal
Source Arcius Swordtail
Source Collection Neotropical Butterflies
Copyright © 2003 Gill Carter
About This Page

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Andrew V. Z. Brower at

Citing this page:

Brower, Andrew V. Z. 2007. Riodinidae Grote 1895. Metalmarks, Erycinidae Swainson 1827 (see nomenclature section). Version 19 May 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Riodinidae/12174/2007.05.19 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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