Friday, 7 December 2012

New species of butterfly discovered in Jamaica


University of Florida researcher Andrew Warren displays the holotype specimen of a new genus and species of skipper butterfly from Jamaica in the Florida Museum of Natural. Photo by Jeff Gage.

Skipper butterfly is new species
December 2012. Belonging to the family of skipper butterflies, the new genus and species is the first butterfly discovered in Jamaica since 1995. Scientists hope the native butterfly will encourage conservation of the country's last wilderness where it was discovered: the Cockpit Country. This discovery underscores the need for further biodiversity research and establishing a baseline of organisms as more tropical areas suffer habitat destruction.

University of Florida scientists have co-authored the study describing a new Lepidoptera species found in Jamaica's last remaining wilderness.

"My co-authors on this paper, Vaughn Turland and Delano Lewis, are really excited because they think this butterfly has the potential to be a new sort of flagship species for Jamaican habitat conservation, because it's a black and gold butterfly living in a green habitat, which together comprise the Jamaican national colours," said study co-author Andy Warren, senior collections manager at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History. "Whether or not a tiny little butterfly is going to attract the type of conservation interest that the giant Homerus Swallowtail in Jamaica has remains to be seen."

Very small butterfly
With a wingspan of little more than 1 centimetre, Troyus turneri is about the size of a thumbnail with its wings spread, Warren said. The genus was named Troyus for the town of Troy, which is nearest to the region of the Cockpit Country where it was collected, and the species was named for Thomas Turner, an expert on Jamaica butterflies who contributed to its discovery.

Surprising discovery
Jamaica is considered one of the most thoroughly researched areas for butterflies in the Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Until the discovery of T. turneri, researchers believed they knew all the butterflies in Jamaica, Warren said. The butterfly likely remained undiscovered for so long due to the inaccessible nature of the Cockpit Country, a 247-mile mostly undeveloped tangle of tropical vegetation. The species was described based on one male and one female specimen, collected in 2011 and 2012 within a quarter mile of each another.

Continued:  http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/jamaica-butterfly.html

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

ShareThis