New Butterfly Species Discovered in Russua

Alexander Dantchenko, an entomologist at the Moscow State University, and Vladimir Lukhtanov, a biologist at the Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg, discovered a brand new butterfly species they are calling the South-Russian blue.

This new species was found in the northern reaches of the Caucasus mountains in the south of Russia. What makes the South-Russian blue so incredible is that it has 46 chromosomes, just like humans do, which is very unusual.

Lukhtanov and Dantchenko have been researching butterflies in the Caucasus for decades and thanks to their techniques have been able to ascertain the uniqueness of their find through DNA sequencing.

The scientists have learned that genetically similar caterpillars are eating on similar, but different plants, and are using those details to help discover and preserve new butterfly species in the areas of the country they study.

Purple Emperor Makes Early Appearance in Britain

The purple emperor, one of Britain’s rarest butterflies, made its earliest appearance this year when it showed up at the Nation Trust’s Bookham Common on June 11th.

The purple emperor, or Apatura iris, despite their names have dark brown wings with white bands and spots. The males have a purple tint that the females do not have. They are some of the largest butterflies found in Britain with the males having a three inch wingspan.

The previous record for an early showing of the purple emperor was all the way back in 1893 when one was spotted near Malborough College in Wilshire, on June 10th, by a group of school children.

The butterfly’s population has dropped over the last 100 years, restricting itself to wooded areas in the south of England, but in recent times appears to be expanding it’s living area outside of the region. It is closely monitored by experts as they try to protect its habitat.

The purple emperor was once one of the most common species found in southern England but by the 1960s it was becoming rarer to find. With a reliance on wooded lands to make its home the emperor’s population drop can be attributed to such obvious human interferences as Word War I and World War II and industrialization in general. This year’s early sighting is encouraging to researchers after last year’s population recording was the lowest since 2007.

Poey’s Swallowtail Spotted in United States for First Time

A woman in Key Largo, Florida, made a huge discovery recently.

Susan Kolterman found what would turn out to be a Poey’s swallowtail while she was out searching for an endangered butterfly she has been helping to survey in the area for over six years. Kolterman was initially unsure of what she had seen so she took several pictures before bad weather shut her day down short.

Once she got home and had a chance to check the photo against her reference material. She ran out of luck and couldn’t find a match so she brought in a fellow butterfly enthusiast named Roger Hammer to help her solve the mystery.

Mr. Hammer also had a difficult time identify the butterfly in the photo’s Susan took. Hammer eventually found a photographic match to a Poey using a long out-of-print book he had in his collection. In order to confirm the find, Kolterman and Hammer sent Susan’s photos to experts around the eastern United States. A researcher at the University of Florida eventually confirmed Susan’s mystery butterfly as a Poey’s swallowtail.

The Poey’s swallowtail is native to Cuba and had never before been seen in the United States. The Poey is found throughout the island of Cuba but is more common on the eastern side of the country. It is usually found near seashores and is atypical in the more mountainous regions of Cuba.

Susan’s find had an injured tail but there is hope that the butterfly will live long enough to start a new colony. She is excited, along with her colleagues, to keep monitoring the area for more Poey’s in the future.

Monarch Migration In Danger

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation, based in Montreal, is issuing warnings to Mexico, Canada and the United States about the dangers facing the annual Monarch butterfly migration.

The CEC says an increase in herbicide and pesticide use is one of the reasons causing the monarch’s trip from Mexico to Canada to become more treacherous. The increasing urban development and climate change are also factors cited in the reduction of viable space for the butterfly’s habitat.

One plan of action the CEC suggests it to cut back on the deforestation that occurs in Mexico and California. This will help stop the destruction of the Monarch butterfly’s winter habitat.