Two New Butterfly Species Identified in Eastern United States

Posted on February 20, 2014

two new satyr butterfly species identified


Two new butterfly species have been discovered in the eastern United States. The Texas researchers used DNA analysis to uncover the new species.

Dr. Nick V. Grishin, one of the authors of the research paper, says, "It was completely unexpected. We were studying genetics of these butterflies and noticed something very odd. Butterflies looked indistinguishable, were flying together at the same place on the same day, but their DNA molecules were very different from each other. We thought there was some kind of mistake in our experiments."

The three species pictured above look very similar. Carolina Satyr (the middle butterfly above, B) was discovered centuries ago in 1793. The other two species, Intricate Star (A on the left) and South Texas Satyr (C on the right) are the newly discovered species. Intricate Satyr and Carolina Satyr have very similar wing patterns, but the researchers found they have different genitalia and are not even very closely related to each other. South Texas Satyr was found to be a close related of Carolina Satyr, but genetically different enough to be a new species.

The research was published here in ZooKeys.

Photo: Nick V. Grishin