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 […]

    Scientists unravel the evolution and relationships for all European butterflies in a first

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  • June 15, 2020
  • For the first time, a complete time-calibrated phylogeny for a large group of invertebrates is published for an entire continent. A German-Swedish team of scientists provide a diagrammatic hypothesis of the relationships and evolutionary history for all 496 European species of butterflies currently in existence. Their study provides an important tool for evolutionary and ecological research, meant for the use of insect and ecosystem conservation.

    New species of moths discovered in the Alps named after three famous alpinists

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  • April 27, 2020
  • The discovery of new, still unnamed animal species in a well-researched European region like the Alps is always a small sensation. All the more surprising is the description of a total of three new to science species previously misidentified as long-known alpine moths. During a genetic project of the Tyrolean State Museums in Innsbruck (Austria), Austrian entomologist […]

    New to science New Zealand moths link mythological deities to James Cameron’s films

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  • June 11, 2019
  • In an unexpected discovery from New Zealand, two species of narrowly distributed moths were described as new species. Interestingly, both Arctesthes titanica and Arctesthes avatar were named after mythological deities and top-grossing blockbusters by famous filmmaker James Cameron: Titanic and Avatar, respectively.

    Living room conservation: Gaming & virtual reality for insect and ecosystem conservation

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  • April 18, 2019
  • Gaming and virtual reality could bridge the gap between urban societies and nature, thereby paving the way to insect conservation by the means of education and participation. This is what an interdisciplinary team at Florida International University strive to achieve by developing a virtual reality game (desktop version also available) dedicated to insect and plant species. Focused on imperiled butterflies, their innovative idea: Butterfly World 1.0, is described in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology.

    Austrian-Danish research team discover as many as 22 new moth species from across Europe

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  • November 29, 2018
  • The last time so many previously unknown moths have been discovered at once in the best-studied continent was in 1887 Following a long-year study of the family of twirler moths, an Austrian-Danish research team discovered a startling total of 44 new species, including as many as 22 species inhabiting various regions throughout Europe. Given that […]

    Newly discovered moth named Icarus sports a flame-shaped mark and prefers high elevations

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  • October 9, 2018
  • The paper describing the new species is part of a special issue dedicated to macro moths of the New World published in the open-access journal ZooKeys Newly-recognized species of owlet moth recently discovered to inhabit high-elevation mountains in western North America was named after the Greek mythological character Icarus. From now on, scientists will be […]

    Tiny moth from Asia spreading fast on Siberian elms in eastern North America

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  • September 17, 2018
  • In 2010, moth collector James Vargo began finding numerous specimens of a hitherto unknown pygmy moth in his light traps on his property in Indiana, USA. When handed to Erik van Nieukerken, researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden, the Netherlands) and specialist in pygmy moths (family Nepticulidae), the scientist failed to identify it as a previously known […]

    Double trouble: Invasive insect species overlooked as a result of a shared name

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  • February 8, 2018
  • An invasive leaf-mining moth, feeding on cornelian cherry, has been gradually expanding its distributional range from its native Central Europe northwards for a period likely longer than 60 years. During that period, it has remained under the cover of a taxonomic confusion, while going by a name shared with another species that feeds on common […]