Over a century later, the mystery of the Alfred Wallace’s butterfly is solved

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  • September 10, 2020
  • A living individual (Famegana nisa) in its natural habitat. Credit: Dr Yu-Feng Hsu License: CC-BY 4.0

    An over a century-long mystery has been surrounding the Taiwanese butterfly fauna ever since the “father of zoogeography” Alfred Russel Wallace described a new species of butterfly: Lycaena nisa, whose identity was only re-examined in a recent project looking into the butterflies of Taiwan. Based on the original specimens, in addition to newly collected ones, Dr Yu-Feng Hsu of the National Taiwan Normal University resurrected the species name and added two new synonyms to it.

    New subspecies of the rarest Palaearctic butterfly found in the Arctic Circle of Yakutia

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  • September 8, 2020
  • An isolated population of the rarest Palaearctic butterfly species: the Arctic Apollo (Parnassius arcticus), turned out to be a new to science subspecies with distinct looks as well as DNA. Named Parnassius arcticus arbugaevi, the butterfly is described in a recent paper, published in the peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal Acta Biologica Sibirica.  “Thanks to the […]

    Being systematic about the unknown: Grid-based schemes could improve butterfly monitoring

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  • April 14, 2016
  • Butterfly monitoring schemes are at the heart of citizen science, with the general public and researchers collaborating to discover how butterfly populations change over time. To develop the concept further, a new paper in the journal Nature Conservation shows how systematically placed, grid-based transects can help schemes by reducing habitat bias. Rapidly increasing in number […]

    Rare Amazonian butterfly named after British national treasure Sir David Attenborough

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  • December 2, 2015
  • A beautiful new Black-eyed Satyr species has become the first butterfly named in honour of the popular naturalist and TV presenter Sir David Attenborough. Although not the first animal to be named after the British national treasure, the butterfly is so rare that it is known only from lowland tropical forests of the upper Amazon […]

    Get to know them faster: Alternative time-efficient way to describe new moth species

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  • November 20, 2015
  • Having collected thousands of moth and butterfly species from across Costa Rica, famous ecologist Daniel Janzen, University of Pennsylvania, and his team were yet to find out many of their names. When they sought help from Dr. Gunnar Brehm, the taxonomist realised he needed too much time to describe species in the framework of an […]

    To be fragrant or not: Why do some male hairstreak butterflies lack scent organs?

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  • September 17, 2015
  • Female butterflies generally choose among male suitors, but in the tropics with hundreds of close relatives living in close proximity, how can they decide which males are the right ones? After all, if she mates with a male of another species, she is unlikely to have surviving offspring. One solution is that males of some […]