General Recommendation: Full Accept

Overall Summary and Thoughts:

The research seeks to establish whether V. Nabokov's correct interpretation of the evolutionary and biogeographical history of the polyomattine/plebejiine Blues in the New World, vis a vis the Old World fauna, was a matter of his scientific adeptitude and deduction, or a product of informed good luck. It is completely relevant today and is indeed captivating and convincing in its presentation.

The work builds upon the authors' own previous research and writing (Johnson's Nabokov's Blues with Stephen Coates and many papers with two other authors), as well as Nabokov's Fine Lines with his current co-author (S. Blackwell), and elaborates on the results of a major multiauthor paper (Vila, et al) that was stimulated by Dr. Naomi Pierce's notice taken of Johnson and Coate's earlier work. It is novel in its reach and finality, and beautifully caps off this long string of studies and papers. 

The quality of the rhetoric, clarity of the arguments and supportive data, and overall readability are all excellent. These researchers are also good and experienced writers.

The conclusions of the study completely align with their supportive evidence and arguments, and fully and convincingly address (and answer) the primary research question.

The previous academic and informal consensus, such as it was, that is to say in the decades following the conclusion of Nabokov's work as an active scientist and the publication of Nabokov's Butterflies by Johnson and Coates, was indeed challenged by this work and that upon which it was built. But the old, ill-informed orthodoxy (again, such as it was, more of a general impression in the field) had already been demolished by Johnson & Coates, Johnson & Blackwell, and Vila, Pierce, et al. The current paper drives the silver stake into the heart of the old misconception by demonstrating that Nabokov was not only right, but that he got there through his own experitise and acumen, not by luck.

The tables do the job they are intended to do very well. In particular, the way the authors have added graphics to one of Vila, Pierce et al's main figures in order to illustrate where Nabokov's major discoveries and conclusions were made in the cladistic sequence, is very helpful to the reader in understanding the thrust.

My only suggestion is for another careful proofreading and edit of minor particulars of typography and grammar. I noticed a few typos, disagreement of number in a sentence or two, and a couple of small errors of syntax. For example:

"we did not fully appreciate during our work towards" p. 2 (should be "toward")

"on the very eve of receiving an invation of them" p. 9 (Nabokov quotation)—should be "invasion"

"the male’s penis (aedeagus), p. 23" vs. "conditions of the male’s penis (a.k.a. “aedeagus”)" p. 34—quotation marks for one, not the other

These are minor and not many, but should be easily caught with another close proof-reading.

Finally, the conclusion seems a little abrupt, and in someone else's words. While this quotation is appropriate and valuable, he authors might consider one more short paragraph in their own words that more clearly wraps things up.

On the whole, I think this is a terrific paper. I enjoyed its conversational style, and think Nabokov would have also. Most impressive were its breadth and depth of investigation of available materials, both text and specimens; and how the authors located widely separated, telegraphic statements that, taken together cemented Nabokov's case for the existence and sequence of thermal filtration and waved dispersals among the Blues. I recommend published it with no major changes.