Saturday, 22 February 2014

Two new butterfly species discovered in eastern USA

Intricate satyr (A) and Carolina satyr (B)
are very similar in wing patterns despite
being more evolutionary distant from each
 other, but south Texas satyr (C) is
distinguished by smaller eye spots are wavier
lines, while being much closer related to Caro

February 2014: Two new butterfly species have been discovered in eastern USA, one in east Texas and one in south Texas by scientists who were studying the common Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius). 

“It was completely unexpected', said Dr. Grishin. 'We were studying genetics of these butterflies and noticed something very odd. Butterflies looked indistinguishable, were flying together at the same place on the same day, but their DNA molecules were very different from each other. We thought there was some kind of mistake in our experiments." 

It soon became clear that the researchers were dealing with two species and one new to science, which were not even very closely related to each other, just very similar in wing patterns. The new species has been named Intricate Satyr (Hermeuptychia intricata). 

Initially discovered in Brazos Bend State Park in East Texas, Intricate Satyr is widely distributed all over eastern USA in several states, including Florida and South Carolina. 

Being curious about genetic makeup of these Satyrs the scientists decided to investigate DNA sequences and genitalia of Satyr populations from South Texas. And it immediately paid off. These populations turned out to be another new species, named "South Texas Satyr" (Hermeuptychia hermybius).

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