Abstract. Devillers, P. & Devillers-Terschuren, J.- Preliminary synthesis of the distribution of the Ophrys exaltata group in southern France and neighbouring regions [Natural. belges 87 (Orchid. 19) (2006) :228-251]. The geographical variation of Ophrys arachnitiformis s.l., an entity of the O. exaltata group with a distribution centred on southern France, is reviewed. It is suggested that at least three groups of populations can be distinguished, one a near-endemic of the Mediterranean south-east, distributed between the Rhone and the Italian border, a second one characteristic of the lower and middle valley of the Rhone, a third one with a centre of abundance in the Catalo-Languedocian lowlands of northern Spain and France. The names Ophrys arachnitiformis Grenier & Philippe, O. occidentalis Scappaticci & Demange and O. passionis Sennen are the correct names, at species rank, of the three taxa. Legitimate names also exist at subspecies rank. Optimal taxonomic treatment of the taxa concerned, as parapatric species or as geographical subspecies, depends on whether or not one wishes to emphasize the originality of, in particular, the Proven¨o‑Azurean O. arachnitiformis, but also on the confidence one places in hypotheses of monophyly. It is chosen to retain the current species-rank nomenclature for O. arachnitiformis and the Rhodanian O. occidentalis and thus to reinstate usage of O. passionis for the Catalo-Languedocian species. Reallocation of Ophrys passionis Sennen to a species of the O. exaltata group requires renaming of the species of the O. incubacea group to which the name had been erroneously attributed. Ophrys caloptera nom. nov. is proposed.
Key-words. Orchidaceae, Ophrys, Euophrys, O. arachnitiformis, O. classica, O. occidentalis, O. passionis, Ophrys caloptera nom. nov., biogeography, geographical variation, France, Italy, Spain, Liguria, Provence, Languedoc, Catalonia, Sennen, Grenier, Philippe.