Excerpts from A Guide to Nabokov’s Butterflies and Moths
by Dieter E. Zimmer
Hamburg (Germany) 1996

Except as otherwise noted, all butterfly illustrations are by William H. Howe, who generously allowed them to be reproduced here.

Butterflies with "Nabokovian" names

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Nabokovia ada BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1994 [Lycáenidae]: a small thecline-like polyommatine butterfly known from one region in southern Chile (Coquimbo). The males are fuscous, with lunules at the black margin of the hindwings. The females unknown. The forewing length is 9 mm. It is named for Nabokov’s Ada. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”Polyommatine lycaenids of the oreal biome in the Neotropics, Part i: The Thecline-like Taxa (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae),” Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungariae (Budapest), 40 (2), 1994, p. 114.

Paralycaeides hazelea BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1995 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known only from the surroundings of Cuzco, Peru (elevation 3500 to 4400 m). The males are ”unicolorous brown with very thin black marginal border,” the females are unknown. The forewing length is c. 9 mm. Named for Hazel Shade, the daughter of poet John Shade in Pale Fire. The name was proposed by Brian Boyd. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”Taxonomic Synopsis of the High Andean and Austral Lycaenid Genus Paralycaeides NABOKOV, 1945 (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Annales historico-naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici (Budapest), 87, 1995, p. 115–116.

Paralycaeides shade BÁLINT 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known only from the type locality in Peru (Huancayo, elevation c. 4000 meters). The males and the females are reddish brown with a darker margin. The forewing length is 9 mm. Named for the poet John Shade of Pale Fire. OD: Zsolt Bálint: ”A Catalogue of Polyommatine Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera) of the Xeromontane Oreal biome in the Neotropics As Represented in European Collections,” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 29, 1993, p. 23.

Polytheclus cincinnatus BÁLINT & JOHNSON March 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly from Peru, west of the Andes, designated as the type-species of the genus Polytheclus BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1993. It resembles a hairstreak. The males are a shining violescent blue. The females were unknown when the taxon was described, but recently several specimens were located or collected (Bálint & Lamas, in preparation). The forewing length is 10–12 mm. Named for Cincinnatus of Invitation to a Beheading. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”A New Genus of Thecline-like Polyommatinae from the Andean Region of South America (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 28, March 1993, p. 2–3. This name proved to be a slightly newer synonym of Eldoradina cyanea BALLETTO February 1993 and thus for reasons of priority is invalid.

Pseudolucia aureliana BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known only from one mountain region in central Chile (Atacama). Males and females alike are a deep lustrous blue with checkered fringes. The forewing length is 9–10 mm. ”Named from Nabokov’s short story ‘The Aurelian’ in which a devoted butterfly collector [Pilgram] is unable to fulfill his dream of journeying to the tropics.” OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov from Chile and Patagonia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 27, 1993, p. 21–22.

Pseudolucia charlotte BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known from Patagonia, Argentina and Chile (Mendoza and Neuquén). The males are lustrous azure with a lot of orange, the females are brown with mottled orange. The forewing length is 9.5–10 mm. Named for Lolita’s mother. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov from Chile and Patagonia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 27, 1993, p. 17.

Pseudolucia clarea BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1993 [Lycáenidae]: an elegant polyommatine butterfly known from one region in Chile (Coquimbo). The males are burnished bronze, mottled with blue on the hindwings, the females are quite similar. The forewing length is 8.5–10 mm. Named for Clare Quilty of Lolita. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov from Chile and Patagonia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 27, 1993, p. 9, 15.

Pseudolucia hazeorum BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known from numerous localities in the Chilean Andes, at altitudes of 2000 to 4300 m. The males are lustrous indigo with wide grizzled black bands, the females are completely brown, with orange streaks on the forewings. The forewing length is 9.5–11.5 mm, the females being slightly larger. The name has a double meaning, ”the denotative of ‘haze’ referring to the dark wing bands characterizing the species, but signifying also Nabokov’s characters of the Haze family in Lolita--the infamous Lolita and her mother Charlotte.” OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov from Chile and Patagonia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 27, 1993, p. 8–9.

Pseudolucia humbert BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1995 [Lycáenidae]: a small polyommatine butterfly currently known only from the type locality in Argentina (Salta). Only the female has been examined. The median and the submedian area of the forewings is orange, the marginal area is dark brown and bonnie blue; the hindwings are bonnie blue with a greyish submarginal area and a thin black border. The forewing length is 9 mm. Named for Humbert Humbert of Lolita. ”We refrain here from adding the genitive ‘i’ since the character was imaginary and obviously masculine.” OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”The Argentine Fauna of Pseudolucia NABOKOV (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 45, 1995, p. 16–17.

Pseudolucia kinbote BÁLINT & JOHNSON March 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known only from the type locality, a mountain region in Chile (Coquimbo), at an altitude of 2500 to 2900 m. The males are brown with a slight suffusion of blue flecks, the females so far are unknown. The forewing length of the holotype is 9.5 mm. Named for Charles Kinbote of Pale Fire. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov from Chile and Patagonia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 27, 1993, p. 18–19. The name proved to be a synonym of Cherchiella scintilla BALLETTO February 1993 and thus for reasons of priority is invalid. In turn a revision of this genus proved Cherchiella to be invalid too. Hence the correct name of this insect is Pseudolucia scintilla.

Pseudolucia sirin BÁLINT 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known only from one locality in the Acongagua region, both in Argentinia and Chile, at an altitude of 3200 m. Only its males could be examined when the taxon was described. Later, females were collected or located in Chilean private collections. Both sexes are luminous sky blue with a black margin. The forewing length is 9.5–10 mm. The name derives from Nabokov’s nom de plume as a Russian writer. OD: Zsolt Bálint: ”A Catalogue of Polyommatine Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera) of the Xeromontane Oreal biome in the Neotropics As Represented in European Collections,” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 29, 1993, p. 20. The name proved to be a newer synonym of Cherchiella argentina BALLETTO February 1993 and thus for reasons of priority is invalid. In turn a revision of this genus proved Cherchiella to be invalid as well. Thus the correct name of this insect is Pseudolucia argentina.

Pseudolucia tamara BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1995 [Lycáenidae]: a small polyommatine butterfly occurring in Argentina (Neuquén and Río Negro, at c. 1 000 m). The color of the males is not given. The females are blue, with an extended submedian orange suffusion on the hindwings. The forewing length is not given but must be c. 12 mm. Named for Nabokov’s first love, called Tamara in Speak, Memory, at the suggestion of D. Barton Johnson. Also, because it echoes the Russian word for ‘there’, tam, and so for Nabokov signified the idea of a transcendent world. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”The Argentine Fauna of Pseudolucia NABOKOV (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 45, 1995, p. 20–21.

Pseudolucia vera BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a very small polyommatine butterfly from Chile (Araucania and Bío Bío). The wings are oblongate, color bronze with thin blackish margins, the females are grizzled brown. The forewing length is 5.5–9 mm. Named for Nabokov’s wife. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov from Chile and Patagonia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 27, 1993, p. 15–16.

Pseudolucia whitakeri BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1995 [Lycáenidae]: a relatively large polyommatine butterfly from Patagonia, colored a light lustrous blue. The forewing length is 10.5–11.5 mm. Named for G. Warren Whitaker, ”an avid reader of Nabokov and practicing New York attorney [who] offered his services to the authors in 1993 to provide etymologies of ‘Nabokovian names.’ The authors mentioned their interest to Mr. Whitaker while discussing with him Nabokov’s 1945 article in Psyche. This practice… ‘took on a life of its own’ following publication of the 1993 UWSP Reports. This resulted because a number of projects concerning Nabokov as a lepidopterist had been initiated in the literary community. Later, in response to several requests, Johnson, Whitaker and Bálint prepared an analysis of Nabokov’s work in Lepidopterology which will appear in Nabokov Studies in 1996. During preparation of the latter work, various Nabokov scholars volunteered their services to provide additional ‘Nabokovian names’ since it appears the numbers of new Neotropical Polyommatini are far from abating. Thus, it is appropriate to honor Mr. Whitaker with a patronym among the ‘Nabokovian’ blues of South America. Without a chance conversation in 1993, the entire practice of proposing ‘Nabokovian’ names might not have become a reality.”

Pseudolucia zembla BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1993 [Lycáenidae]: a polyommatine butterfly known from numerous localities in the Chilean Andes, at altitudes up to 2000 m. The males are lustrous azure with a narrow black margin, the females’ forewings are yellow to orange, the hindwings brown. The forewing length is 8.5–10.5 mm. The name derives from the mythical kingdom in Pale Fire. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov from Chile and Patagonia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Polyommatinae),” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 27, 1993, p. 6–7.

Pseudolucia zina BENJAMINI, BÁLINT & JOHNSON 1995 [Lycáenidae]: a small polyommatine butterfly known only from two localities in in central Chile. The males are lustrous ceramic blue with a black margin and a finely checkered fringe, the females are a mottled blue with suffusive orange medial patch. The forewing length is 8–9 mm. Named after Zina Mertz, the heroine of The Gift, at the suggestion of Stephen Parker. OD: Zsolt Bálint / Kurt Johnson: ”Recently Discovered New Species of Pseudolucia Nabokov (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) from Austral South America,” Reports of the Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point), 53, 1995, p. 1–2.


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INTRO
BUTTERFLIES NAMED BY NABOKOV
BUTTERFLIES NAMED FOR NABOKOV
BUTTERFLIES WITH 'NABOKOVIAN' NAMES
COMMON NAMES
NABOKOV ON BUTTERFLIES


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