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Hestina assimilis

Basic information
Scientific name Hestina assimilis

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Common names Red ring skirt; Nymphalid butterfly
Higher taxon Nymphalidae, Papilionoidea, Lepidoptera
Natural range Northern Vietnam, southern to eastern continental China, Korean Peninsula, and peripheral islands (e.g., Cheju Is.). Two other subspecies are distributed in Amami Islands of southern Japan (H. s. shirakii) and Taiwan (H. s. formosana).
Habitat Around human habitat.
Invasion information
Range in Japan There have been recorded in wide area of Kanto Plain. Kanagawa, Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunnma Pref. and Izu-Oshima Is.
Recently, there have been several observation records in Shizuoka, Gifu, Ishikawa and Yamanashi Pref.
Range in Japan
Origin Possibly continental China.
Date The first record in Japan was in 1995 at Saitama Pref. (not established), and the first record of reproduction in Japan was in 1998 at Kanagawa Pref. They also observed at Izu-Oshima Is. in 2009, and at Ibaraki Pref. in 2011.
Route Deliberate: Possibly release by some people (“butterfly release guerrilla”).
Impact Potentially: Competition with native butterflies.
Native organism(s) affected: Several butterflies using Celtis sinensis (e.g., Hestina japonica, Sasakia charonda charonda, Libythea celtis celtoides)
Regulation in Japan Release of this species is prohibited in Aichi Pref. by a prefectural code.
Nymphalidae is designated as a Quarantine Pest (the Plant Protection Law).
Introduced range in other countries None.
Reference Notes
  • JWRC (ed) (2008) A Photographic Guide to the Invasive Alien Species in Japan. Heibonsha, Tokyo (in Jpn)
  • Kato (2007) An attempto to clarify environmental stimuli responsible for the production of white morphs in a nymphalid butterfly Hestina assimilis. Butterflies. 45, 12-19 (in Jpn)
  • Shirzu (1960) Butterflies of Formosa in Color. Hoikusha, Osaka (in Jpn)
  • Plant Protection Station (2011) The Plant Protection Act. Quarantine Pest List. (Accessed on 2012-4-26) (in Jpn)
  • Karasawa et al. (2012) Records of Hestina assimilis (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) Collected or Observed in Ibaraki Prefecture, Central Japan. Bulletin of Ibaraki Nature Museum. 15, 3-5 (in Jpn)
  • etc.
Hestina assimillis (without Hestina assimillis shirakii) is listed as invasive alien species. Some hybrids were emerged in a cross experiment between this subspecies and a native congener H. japonica. However, the low rate of successful adult eclosion implied the small risk of introgression.