Wild boar help rare butterflies


This video from Britain is called Grizzled Skipper. Pyrgus malvae (taras) Cornwall 2015.

Wild boar help birds like robins in winter. Now, it turns out they also help butterflies like grizzled skippers.

Translated from Nature Today in the Netherlands:

29 JANUARY 2018 – Wild boar do not have a good reputation everywhere. They can disturb much grassland. But that disturbance can also have its good sides. In De Hoge Veluwe National Park it has been found that the caterpillars of the endangered grizzled skipper butterfly can be found at sites where boar have been digging. So, these pigs are good for the grizzled skipper butterfly.

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Oldest butterflies discovered, when there were dinosaurs, no flowers yet


This video from Chicago in the USA says about itself:

Moths vs Butterflies

9 October 2013

Wherein we explore the order Lepidoptera!

Huge thanks to Jim Boone, collection manager of insects for making this episode possible.

You can learn more about The Field Museum’s historical butterfly collection from J. Boone: here.

From Science Advances:

A Triassic-Jurassic window into the evolution of Lepidoptera

10 Jan 2018

Abstract

On the basis of an assemblage of fossilized wing scales recovered from latest Triassic and earliest Jurassic sediments from northern Germany, we provide the earliest evidence for Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).

The diverse scales confirm a (Late) Triassic radiation of lepidopteran lineages, including the divergence of the Glossata, the clade that comprises the vast multitude of extant moths and butterflies that have a sucking proboscis. The microfossils extend the minimum calibrated age of glossatan moths by ca. 70 million years, refuting ancestral association of the group with flowering plants.

Development of the proboscis may be regarded as an adaptive innovation to sucking free liquids for maintaining the insect’s water balance under arid conditions. Pollination drops secreted by a variety of Mesozoic gymnosperms may have been non-mutualistically exploited as a high-energy liquid source. The early evolution of the Lepidoptera was probably not severely interrupted by the end-Triassic biotic crisis.

New blue butterfly species discovery in Russia


The newly discovered South Russian blue butterfly. Credit: Vladimir Lukhtanov

From ScienceDaily:

New butterfly species discovered in Russia with an unusual set of 46 chromosomes

November 27, 2017

Summary: Finding a new species is a rare event in easy-to-see and well-studied organisms like butterflies, especially if they inhabit well-explored areas such as Europe. Researchers have now discovered the previously unknown South-Russian blue using an array of modern research techniques. Furthermore, the new species was found to possess 46 chromosomes, just like a human, whereas its closest relative has 68 chromosomes.

What looked like a population of a common butterfly species turned out to be a whole new organism, and, moreover — one with a very peculiar genome organisation.

Discovered by Vladimir Lukhhtanov, entomologist and evolutionary biologist at the Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Alexander Dantchenko, entomologist and chemist at the Moscow State University, the startling discovery was named South-Russian blue (Polyommatus australorossicus). It was found flying over the northern slopes of the Caucasus mountains in southern Russia. The study is published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics.

“This publication is the long-awaited completion of a twenty-year history,” says Vladimir Lukhtanov.

In the mid-nineties, Vladimir Lukhtanov, together with his students and collaborators, started an exhaustive study of Russian butterflies using an array of modern and traditional research techniques. In 1997, Alexander Dantchenko who was mostly focused on butterfly ecology, sampled a few blue butterfly specimens from northern slopes of the Caucasus mountains. These blues looked typical at first glance and were identified as Azerbaijani blue (Polyommatus aserbeidschanus).

However, when the scientists looked at them under a microscope, it became clear that they had 46 chromosomes — a very unusual number for this group of the blue butterflies and exactly the same count as in humans.

Having spent twenty years studying the chromosomes of more than a hundred blue butterfly species and sequencing DNA from all closely related species, the researchers were ready to ascertain the uniqueness of the discovered butterfly and its chromosome set.

Throughout the years of investigation, it has become clear that caterpillars of genetically related species in the studied butterfly group feed on different, but similar plants. This discovery enables entomologists to not only discover new butterfly species with the help of botanic information, but also protect them.

“We are proud of our research,” says Vladimir Lukhtanov. “It contributes greatly to both the study of biodiversity and understanding the mechanisms of biological evolution.”

Butterfly, springbok are photo contest winners


Butterfly leaves chrysalis, photo by Mascha van Lynden tot Oldenaller / National Geographic

This photo, by Ms Mascha van Lynden tot Oldenaller, shows a butterfly leaving its chrysalis behind. It is the overall winner of this year’s photo contest of the Dutch edition of National Geographic.

Springbok, photo by Bart Michiels / National Geographic

This photo by Bart Michiels of a drinking springbok won the audience prize in the Animals category.

Refugees help Dutch butterflies


This video shows white admiral butterflies in Sang en Goorkens nature reserve in North Brabant province in the Netherlands.

Dutch Vroege Vogels radio reported on 16 October 2017 that refugees, living in the refugee centre in Oisterwijk in North Brabant province, are helping to create a better habitat for white admiral butterflies.

The refugees help other volunteers to cut some trees in a woodland near Liempde village to improve the habitat for these rare butterflies.

Peacock butterfly in the wind


This 17 October 2017 video from the Netherlands shows a peacock butterfly in the wind.

Francisca Bakker made the video.