Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Discovery of Striking Green-Eyed Butterfly in US

A new butterfly species from Texas, given the common name Vicroy's Ministreak, was discovered because of its striking olive green eye color, and was given a formal scientific name Ministrymon janevicroy. This beautiful new butterfly may be the last truly distinctive butterfly species to be discovered in the US.

Although individuals of Vicroy's Ministreak were deposited in the Smithsonian entomology collections a century ago, this species was unrecognized because it was confused with the common, similar-looking Gray Ministreak. Interestingly what distinguishes the two species is the distinctive olive-green eyes of the new species in contrast to the dark brown/black eyes of the Gray Ministreak.

Both species are diminutive, about the size of a thumbnail and may occur at the same time and place. Besides eye color, each has different wing patterns and different internal structures. They have different, but overlapping, geographic distributions and habitat requirements. Jeffrey Glassberg, President of the North American Butterfly Association, discovered Vicroy's Ministreak, and he named the species after his wife Jane Vicroy Scott. 

Regardless of whether Vicroy's Ministreak turns out to be the last truly distinctive butterfly to be discovered in the US, the era of new butterfly species, which began with Linnaeus more than 250 years ago, is ending in the US. In tropical America, however, there are still hundreds upon hundreds of butterfly species awaiting discovery.

No comments:

Post a Comment