Afrotropical Butterflies

a digital encyclopaedia compiled by Mark C. Williams

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“Afrotropical Butterflies and Skippers” is a digital format encyclopaedia, that currently comprises nearly 4000 pages of text and images. It contains all the names (generic to infraspecific, including synonyms) that have been applied to the Papilionoidea (butterflies) and Hesperioidea (skippers) of the Afrotropical (= Ethiopian) zoogeographical region. For each of the more than 10 500 names, the complete journal reference is given. The type locality/locality for each taxon is also provided. The distribution for each species and subspecies has also been included, but is still complete, and may not be entirely accurate.

The taxonomic portion of the encyclopaedia is based on the monumental catalogue “Carcasson’s African Butterflies”, edited by Ackery, and others, of the Natural History Museum, London, and published by the CSIRO, Australia, in 1995. This work, unfortunately, included only publications up to about 1990. Publications that appeared between 1990 and 1995, and which were not included in “Carcasson’s”, have been given taxonomic priority, should there be non-concordance. Since 1990, almost 500 new species and subspecies have been described from the Afrotropical Region. There have also been many other taxonomic changes.To right column

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The Afrotropical Region covers sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and other off-shore islands, as well as the southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

The encyclopaedia also includes three bibliographies. Two of the bibliographies list the references dealing specifically with Afrotrpical butterflies (more than 4 300 references) and the third includes references of general interest (over 1 000 references). This should serve as a valuable resource for accessing both the taxonomic and other recent literature.

Expansion of the encyclopaedia on a continuous basis will include updating of taxonomic changes and updating and expansion of the bibliography. In addition, archived information regarding the biology of each taxon will gradually be added. This will include data on distribution, habitat, habits, flight period, early stages, and larval foods and associations. The adults of more than 1 000 species are illustrated by means of digital images and new images will gradually be added. A further envisaged development will be the inclusion of digital images of the early stages, larval food plants, and habitats.

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Thank you for visiting!

-Mark C. Williams

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