Remarks on taxonomy

The nomenclature follows the 2011 edition of Fauna Europaea with some modifications.

Leptidea juvernica Williams, 1946

This species was recently separated from L. reali Reissinger, 1989 based on molecular studies (Dinca et al. 2011a). The Balkan populations, previously identified as L. reali, belong to L. juvernica (Shtinkov et al. 2016).

Pieris balcana Lorkovic, 1970

There seem to be no morphological characters allowing reliable separation from P. napi (Coutsis and Ghavalás, 2001; Kolev, 2009). Reports of this species from Bulgaria need reexamination (Kolev, 2009). In this situation, I believe it is most expedient to treat this taxon as a subspecies of P. napi following Geiger and Scholl (1985).

Polyommatus eroides (Frivaldszky, 1835)

P. eroides has been treated as a subspecies of P. eros (Ochsenheimer, 1808) by Vodolazhsky and Stradomsky (2008) based on the small genetic differences between the two taxa. Both have been reported for Bulgaria, but no reliable records of nominotypical P. eros exist (Kolev, 2009). To avoid confusion, for now I retain the name P. eroides for this taxon.

Polyommatus andronicus (Coutsis & Ghavalas, 1995)

Kolev (2005) has convincingly demonstrated that P. andronicus is a distinct species from P. icarus (Rottemburg, 1775) based on well pronounced morphological and ecological differences between the two taxa. They have been recently synonimized based on DNA results (Wiemers et al., 2010). One must remember though that as an identification tool, DNA barcoding has its limitations (Dinca et al., 2011b); it should be regarded as complementing other taxonomic techniques rather than superseding them. The established genetic similarity between P. andronicus and P. icarus does not refute the evidence for their specific distinctness; rather, it should motivate further research into the two taxa. I therefore consider them distinct species.

Melitaea ornata Christoph, 1893

The correct name for the species previously reported from Bulgaria as Melitaea telona or M. punica is in fact M. ornata (Tóth & Varga, 2011).

Doubtful records

The following species, which have been reported from Bulgaria based on questionable data or for which no reliable records exist (Kolev, 2002; 2009), have been excluded from the list: Muschampia proto (Ochsenheimer, 1808), Archon apollinus (Herbst, 1798), Leptidea morsei (Fenton, [1882]), Colias chrysotheme (Esper, [1781]), Polyommatus eros (Ochsenheimer, 1808), Pseudochazara graeca (Staudinger, 1870), Pseudochazara geyeri (Herrich-Schäffer, [1846]), and Boloria titania (Esper, [1793]).

Two species previously reported from Bulgaria have in fact never been found in the country: Colias myrmidone and Polyommatus aroaniensis. More information can be found in the Butterflies of Bulgaria Android App.


Abadjiev S. P., 2001. An atlas of the distribution of the butterflies in Bulgaria (Lepidoptera: Hesperioidea & Papilionoidea). Sofia, Bulgaria: Pensoft Publishers.

Coutsis J. G. and N. Ghavalás, 2001. The Skippers and Butterflies of the Greek part of the Rodόpi massif (Lepidoptera: Hesperioidea & Papilionoidea). Phegea 29: 143-158.

Descimon, H. and J. Mallet, 2009. Bad species. In: J. Settele, M. Konvicka, T. Shreeve, R. Dennis, and H. Van Dyck (Eds.), Ecology of butterflies in Europe, pp. 219–249. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dincă, V., V. A. Lukhtanov, G. Talavera, and R. Vila, 2011a. Unexpected layers of cryptic diversity in wood white Leptidea butterflies. - Nature Communications, 2: 324.

Dinca V., E. V. Zakharov, P. D. N. Hebert, and R. Vila, 2011b. Complete DNA barcode reference library for a country's butterfly fauna reveals high performance for temperate Europe, Proc. R. Soc. B 278: 347–355.

Geiger H. J. and A. Scholl, 1985. Systematics and evolution of holarctic Pierinae (Lepidoptera). An enzyme electrophoretic approach, .Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 41: 24-29.

Kolev, Z., 2002. Critical notes on some recent butterfly records (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea & Hesperioidea) from Bulgaria and their source collection. Phegea 30: 95–101.

Kolev Z., 2005. New data on the taxonomic status and distribution of Polyommatus andronicus Coutsis & Ghavalas, 1995 (Lycaenidae). Nota lepid. 28: 35-48.

Kolev Z., 2009. The Butterflies of Bulgaria, last update September 2009.

Shtinkov N., Z. Kolev, R. Vila, and V. Dincă, 2014. The sibling species Leptidea juvernica and L. sinapis (Lepidoptera, Pieridae) in the Balkan Peninsula: ecology, genetic structure, and morphological variation. Zoology 119: 11-20.

Tóth J. P. & Z. Varga, 2011. Inter- and intraspecific variation in the genitalia of the 'Melitaea phoebe group' (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae). Zoologischer Anzeiger – A Journal of Comparative Zoology 250: 258-268.

Vodolazhsky D. I. and B. V. Stradomsky, 2008. Phylogenetic analysis of subgenus Polyommatus (s. str) Latreille, 1804 (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) based on mtDNA markers. Part I. Cauc. Ent. Bull. 4: 123-130.

Wiemers M., B. V. Stradomsky, and D. I. Vodolazhsky, 2010. A molecular phylogeny of Polyommatus s. str. and Plebicula based on mitochondrial COI and nuclear ITS2 sequences (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Eur. J. Entomol. 107: 325–336.

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