Bug of the Week: Oeneis tanana

Who doesn’t love a good butterfly? Certainly Andy Warren loves these fluttering insects. This species was discovered in a fairly likely place: a museum collection. Museum collections are wonderful archives, that give us an in-depth look at diversity of a group, or region. In this case, Dr Warren noticed that some individuals of the species O. chryxus looked a little different. The outside of their wings were lighter in colour appearing almost ‘frosted’.

Through some careful taxonomy work, and genetic sequencing – Dr. Warren and his colleagues found that the frosted looking butterflies were a new species to science. This is the first butterfly that is endemic to Alaska, meaning it is not known from outside the state.

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You can read the description of O. tanana here on Dr Warren’s blog.

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