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Striking green-eyed butterfly discovered in the United States

Date:
May 28, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Striking olive-green eye colour allows scientists to distinguish a new butterfly species, which was confirmed using Smithsonian entomology collections. Previously unrecognized because of its similarity with the common Gray Ministreak, the newly described Vicroy's Ministreak was named after the wife of Jeffrey Glassberg, who discovered it. It may turn out to be the last distinctive butterfly species from the United States.

This image shows the new butterfly species Vicroy's Ministreak, distinguished by its striking olive green eyes.
Credit: Jeffrey Glassberg; CC-BY 3.0

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 United States.

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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.

As their common names suggest 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). Bob Robbins, the butterfly curator at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, together with Glassberg, are the authors of the paper officially describing Vicroy's Ministreak, published in the open access scientific journal ZooKeys.

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


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert Robbins, Jeffrey Glassberg. A butterfly with olive green eyes discovered in the United States and the Neotropics (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae, Eumaeini). ZooKeys, 2013; 305: 1 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.305.5081

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Striking green-eyed butterfly discovered in the United States." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528122510.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, May 28). Striking green-eyed butterfly discovered in the United States. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528122510.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Striking green-eyed butterfly discovered in the United States." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528122510.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

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