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With this volume, the author has completed his multi-volume treatment of the Butterflies of the World. He has left the treatment of the Neotropical Lycaenidae to the final volume because in his opinion, they present the greatest difficulties to the naturalist and systematist. The biology, behaviour and distributions of these mercurial little creatures are so relatively unknown, that it may be well into the next century before an understanding of them reaches the same level as say, any of the other families of the Neotropical Region. Further, the problem is exacerbated by the paucity of competent workers devoted to the Neotropical Lycaenids. The literature emerging from the Americas in particular, can best be described as a Curates Egg of an output, arguably good, and then only in parts.
The Author is only too painfully aware that there are perhaps another 150 to 250 species as yet undetermined or undescribed, or simply not available to him in the production of this title. However with this work he offers at best a sketchy, but still highly necessary map for progress through the tormented pathways of this terra incognita of the wonderful universe of the Lepidoptera. He trusts however that by falling back on traditional systematics he will be providing the users of the volume, with a few more signposts to the pitfalls, snares and traps that abound in the great adventure ahead, both for those so foolish as to think they can simply prolifically publish their way out of trouble, and to those who think they can solve the problems extant by relying upon the canons of the bogus and decidedly unholy churches of Evolutionary Phylogenetics and Hennigian Cladistics.
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