New Butterfly Species Named After Sir David Attenborough

Posted on December 4, 2015

Euptychia attenboroughi butterfly

A new butterfly species has been named after naturalist and TV presenter Sir David Attenborough. Attenborough is a president of Butterfly Conservation. The rare Black-eyed Satyr species is found in lowland tropical forests of the upper Amazon basin in Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. It has been given the name Euptychia attenboroughi.

The butterfly species has atypical wings in comparison to its relatives. The peculiar patterns and morphology initially led the researchers to think the species could be even a new genus. However, DNA data supported inclusion of this new species in the existing genus Euptychia.

The study was conducted by an international team of researchers led by Andrew F. E. Neild, Natural History Museum, London, and Shinichi Nakahara, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity and Entomology & Nematology Department, University of Florida. A research paper was published in ZooKeys. E. attenboroughi is one of two new butterfly species reported in the paper.

Neild says in a statement, "Other animals and plants have previously been dedicated to Sir David, but it makes us happy and proud to be the first to dedicate a butterfly species in his name. Although we are a large team from several countries from across four continents and speaking different languages, we have all been deeply influenced and inspired by Sir David's fascinating and informative documentaries."

Image: Andrew Neild, Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London