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.

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


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