The pale grass blue butterfly has been used to assess the biological effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Zizeeria and Zizina are two closely related genera of grass blue butterflies that are widely distributed in tropical to temperate Asia, Australia, and Africa, making them suitable environmental indicators for these areas. However, the morphological features of the immature stages have been examined only in fragmentary fashion. Here, we reared Zizeeria maha argia, Zizeeria maha okinawana, Zizeeria karsandra karsandra, Zizina emelina emelina, Zizina otis labradus, and Zizina otis riukuensis using a standard rearing method that was developed for Zizeeria maha, and comparatively identified morphological traits to effectively classify the immature stages of species or subspecies. Morphological information on these and other subspecies including Zizeeria knysna knysna and Zizina otis antanossa from Africa was also collected from literature. The subspecies were all reared successfully. The subspecies all had dorsal nectary and tentacle organs with similar morphology. For the subspecies of Zizeeria maha, only minor morphological differences were noted. Similarly, the subspecies of Zizina otis shared many traits. Most importantly, Zizeeria and Zizina differed in the shape of the sensory hairs that accompany the dorsal nectary organ; Zizeeriahad pointed hairs, and Zizina had blunt or rounded hairs. However, Zizina emelina exhibited several intermediate features between these two genera. Overall, the morphological traits did not completely reflect the conventional systematic relationships. This comparative study describes the efficient rearing of the grass blue butterflies and provides a morphological basis for the use of these species as environmental indicators.
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Vol. 33 • No. 4