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New Butterfly Species Named after Sir David Attenborough

Upper (left) and under (right) side of the male holotype of Euptychia attenboroughi. Photo by Andrew Neild, Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

Add another item to the list of insects that have been named after the British naturalist and filmmaker David Attenborough. Last year a 20-million-year-old pygmy locust was named after him, as was a new species of beetle.

Now, for the first time, a butterly has been named after him. It’s a black-eyed satyr that it is known only from lowland tropical forests of the upper Amazon basin in Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. In fact, Euptychia attenboroughi has such a restricted distribution that all of its known sites lie within 500 kilometers from each other in the northwest of the upper Amazon basin.

Sir David Attenborough is best known for scripting and presenting the BBC Natural History’s ‘Life’ series and is a multiple winner of the BAFTA award and a president of Butterfly Conservation. He’s also got a humorous side, as you can see in this video where he narrates a music video by the pop singer Adele:

Due to the butterfly’s atypical wings, in comparison to its relatives, scientists took to plenty of diagnostic characters to define its taxonomic placement. The peculiar patterns and morphology initially led the researchers to think the species could be even a new genus.

“It was a surprise for us that DNA data supported inclusion of this new species in the existing genus Euptychia, since this species lacked a distinctive structural character which was considered to be shared by all members of the genus,” said Shinichi Nakahara, one of the researchers from the University of Florida.

Read more at:

Two new species of Euptychia Hübner, 1818 from the upper Amazon basin (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae)

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