Current Butterflies News and Events

Current Butterflies News and Events, Butterflies News Articles.
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Two centuries of Monarch butterflies show evolution of wing length
North America's beloved Monarch butterflies are known for their annual, multi-generation migrations in which individual insects can fly for thousands of miles. But Monarchs have also settled in some locations where their favorite food plants grow year round, so they no longer need to migrate. A new study of specimens collected over the last two centuries shows how wing length evolves in response to migration habits. (2020-11-02)

Butterfly color diversity due to female preferences
Butterflies have long captured our attention due to their amazing color diversity. But why are they so colorful? A new publication led by researchers from Sweden and Germany suggests that female influence butterfly color diversity by mating with colorful males. (2020-10-27)

A new species of Darwin wasp from Mexico named in observance of the 2020 quarantine period
Scientists at the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas in Mexico recently discovered five new species of parasitoid wasps in Mexico, but the name of one of them is quite striking: covida. Described in a new paper, published in the peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal ZooKeys, the new to science Darwin wasp was identified during the 2020 global quarantine period, imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020-10-08)

Native milkweed cultivars planted by the public can support monarch butterflies and bees
Millions of people plant pollinator gardens in an effort to provide monarch butterflies with food along their annual migration route from overwintering sites in the highland forests of central Mexico to summer breeding grounds in the United States and southern Canada. For the first time, entomologists studied how effective native milkweed cultivars in small gardens are at attracting and supporting monarchs - their results suggest that this can be a valuable additional food source. (2020-10-07)

Evolution: Shifts in mating preference
In their efforts to identify the genetic basis for differences in mate choice that keep two co-existing species of butterfly separate, evolutionary biologists at Ludwig-Maximlians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have identified five candidate genes that are associated with divergence in visual mating preferences. (2020-10-06)

Sentinels of ocean acidification impacts survived Earth's last mass extinction
Two groups of tiny, delicate marine organisms, sea butterflies and sea angels, were found to be surprisingly resilient--having survived dramatic global climate change and Earth's most recent mass extinction event 66 million years ago, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (2020-09-28)

Provide shady spots to protect butterflies from climate change, say scientists
Researchers have discovered significant variations in the ability of different UK butterfly species to maintain a suitable body temperature. Species that rely most on finding a suitably shady location to keep cool are at the greatest risk of population decline. The results predict how climate change might impact butterfly communities, and will inform conservation strategies to protect them. (2020-09-24)

Biologists developing global citizen network to monitor insect abundance
A University of Arkansas biologist is part of an international team of researchers is building a volunteer network of citizen scientists to help monitor the abundance of dragonflies and damselflies. (2020-09-16)

Climate change recasts the insect communities of the Arctic
Through a unique research collaboration, researchers at the University of Helsinki have exposed major changes taking place in the insect communities of the Arctic. Their study reveals how climate change is affecting small but important predators of other insects, i.e. parasitoids. (2020-09-11)

Over a century later, the mystery of the Alfred Wallace's butterfly is solved
An over a century-long mystery has been surrounding the Taiwanese butterfly fauna ever since the 'father of zoogeography' Alfred Russel Wallace described a new species of butterfly: Lycaena nisa, whose identity was only re-examined in a recent project looking into the butterflies of Taiwan. Based on the original specimens, in addition to newly collected ones, Dr Yu-Feng Hsu of the National Taiwan Normal University resurrected the species name and added two new synonyms to it. (2020-09-10)

New subspecies of the rarest Palaearctic butterfly found in the Arctic Circle of Yakutia
An isolated population of the rarest Palaearctic butterfly species: the Arctic Apollo (Parnassius arcticus), turned out to be a new to science subspecies with distinct looks as well as DNA. Specimens had been collected during a 2019 field trip to northeastern Yakutiya (Russia), a ''real blank spot'' in terms of biodiversity research. The unique butterfly is described by Russian scientists in a recent paper, published in the peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal Acta Biologica Sibirica. (2020-09-08)

Poetry in motion: Engineers analyze the fluid physics of movement in marine snails
In a new interdisciplinary study that combines intellectual curiosity with awe, researchers show in detail that the swimming and sinking behaviors of tropical marine snails are influenced by body size and shell shape, as predicted from fluid physics theory. (2020-09-07)

'Wrong-way' migrations stop shellfish from escaping ocean warming
Ocean warming is paradoxically driving bottom-dwelling invertebrates -- including sea scallops, blue mussels, surfclams and quahogs that are valuable to the shellfish industry -- into warmer waters and threatening their survival, a Rutgers-led study shows. (2020-09-07)

In butterfly battle of sexes, males deploy 'chastity belts' but females fight back
Some male butterflies seal their mate's genitalia with a waxy 'chastity belt' to prevent future liaisons. But female butterflies can fight back. Could this sexual one-upmanship ultimately result in new species? (2020-09-03)

New study on migration success reinforces need for monarch butterfly milkweed habitat
A recently published study presents evidence that the migration success of monarchs hasn't declined in recent years and thus cannot explain the steep decline in the monarch population over the last few decades. The study drew on data collected on 1.4 million monarch butterflies that were tagged in the United States Midwest from 1998 to 2015 and emphasizes the need for new monarch habitat. (2020-09-02)

Migration and dispersal of butterflies have contrasting effect on flight morphology
Migration and dispersal are vastly different activities with very different benefits and risks. NCBS Grad student Vaishali Bhaumik and her advisor Dr Krushnamegh Kunte decided to investigate the effects of such activities on the morphology (form and structure) and reproduction of butterflies. (2020-08-19)

Vagabonding female butterflies weigh in on reproductive strategies
A new study by researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, published today in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, shows that dispersals, when undertaken by butterflies in search of unpredictable resources, selectively burden the egg-carrying females on their long flights. (2020-08-19)

Findings refute idea of monarchs' migration mortality as major cause of population decline
Research shows that the decline in the monarchs' overwintering numbers is not due to an increase in the deaths of monarchs during the migration. The main determinant of yearly variation in overwintering population size is the size of the summer monarch butterfly population. (2020-08-17)

Monarchs raised in captivity may be worse at migrating than wild monarchs raised outdoors
New research provides clearer picture of the migration behavior of commercially and wild-derived monarchs and the effects of indoor rearing on ability to fly south. (2020-08-04)

Butterfly genomics: Monarchs migrate and fly differently, but meet up and mate
A new study confirms that while the eastern and western butterflies fly differently, they are genetically the same. The journal Molecular Ecology published the findings, led by evolutionary biologists at Emory University. (2020-07-29)

Scientists discover how deep-sea, ultra-black fish disappear
In the July 16 issue of the journal Current Biology, a team of scientists led by Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History research zoologist Karen Osborn and Duke University biologist Sönke Johnsen report on how a unique arrangement of pigment-packed granules enables some fish to absorb nearly all of the light that hits their skin, so that as little as 0.05% of that light is reflected back. (2020-07-16)

The tug-of-war at the heart of cellular symmetry
Researchers develop an artificial cell that brings to light the dynamics that govern each cell's internal symmetry. Two coexisting actomyosin networks with opposing functions exists in cells: a ring-like centripetal actomyosin that pushes toward the center, and radially-formed bulk actomyosin bridges that pull to the edges. (2020-06-25)

Scientists unravel the evolution and relationships for all European butterflies in a first
For the first time, a complete time-calibrated phylogeny for a large group of invertebrates is published for an entire continent. In a research paper in the open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal ZooKeys, a German-Swedish team of scientists provide a diagrammatic hypothesis of the relationships and evolutionary history for all 496 extant European species of butterflies. Their work provides an important tool for evolutionary and ecological research, meant for the use of insect and ecosystem conservation. (2020-06-15)

Milkweed, only food source for monarch caterpillars, ubiquitously contaminated
New evidence identifies 64 pesticide residues in milkweed, the main food for monarch butterflies in the west. Milkweed samples from all of the locations studied in California's Central Valley were contaminated with pesticides, sometimes at levels harmful to monarchs and other insects. 32% of the samples contained pesticide levels known to be lethal to monarchs, according to a study released today in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. (2020-06-08)

UCF's butterfly-inspired nanotech makes natural-looking pictures on digital screens
The new technology creates digital displays that are lit by surrounding light and are more natural looking than current display technologies that rely on energy-intensive bright lights hidden behind screens. The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (2020-06-04)

How some insects manage to halt their own growth in harsh conditions
Most insects alter their own development or physiology to overcome adverse conditions, such as harsh winters. Although day length and temperature are known to regulate this change, exactly how this process occurs is not very clear yet. In a collaborative study, a research group from Okayama University, Tokushima University, and Pompeu Fabra University showed how a specific insect undergoes seasonal adaptation in its immature state. (2020-05-19)

The butterfly effect: Climate change could cause decline of some alpine butterfly species
The long-term effects of climate change suggests that the butterfly effect is at work on butterflies in the alpine regions of North America, according to a new study by University of Alberta scientists -- and the predictions don't bode well. (2020-05-12)

Lyin' eyes: Butterfly, moth eyespots may look the same, but likely evolved separately
The iconic eyespots that some moths and butterflies use to ward off predators likely evolved in distinct ways, providing insights into how these insects became so diverse. (2020-05-06)

New species of moths discovered in the Alps named after three famous alpinists
During a genetic project of the Tyrolean State Museums in Innsbruck, Austrian entomologist and head of the Natural Science Collections Peter Huemer used an integrative research approach to study four long-known, yet controversial European moths. It turned out that he was not dealing with four, but seven species. Those three previously unknown moths were described in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Alpine Entomology under the names of legendary alpinists Reinhold Messner, Peter Habeler and David Lama. (2020-04-27)

Dramatic loss of food plants for insects
Just a few weeks ago, everyone was talking about plummeting insect numbers. A team of researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL have now demonstrated for the first time that the diversity of food plants for insects in the canton of Zurich has dramatically decreased over the past 100 years or so. The study has now been published in 'Ecological Applications'. (2020-04-24)

Insects: Largest study to date finds declines on land, but recoveries in freshwater
A worldwide compilation of insect abundance studies shows the number of land-dwelling insects is in decline. On average, there is a global decrease of 0.92% per year, which translates to approximately 24% over 30 years. At the same time, the number of insects living in freshwater has increased on average by 1.08% each year. Local trends are highly variable. These are results from the largest study of insect change to date, now published in Science. (2020-04-23)

Human handling stresses young monarch butterflies
People handle monarch butterflies. A lot. Every year thousands of monarch butterflies are caught, tagged and released during their fall migration by citizen scientists helping to track their movements. And thousands of caterpillars are reared by hand or used in classroom demonstrations and outreach events. These activities can provide valuable scientific data and educational benefits for the people participating in them. But how do the monarchs themselves feel about being handled by humans? (2020-04-15)

What do soap bubbles and butterflies have in common?
A unique butterfly breeding experiment gave UC Berkeley researchers an opportunity to study the physical and genetic changes underlying the evolution of structural color, responsible for butterflies' iridescent purples, blues and greens. Using helium ion microscopy, the scientists discovered that a 75% increase in thickness of the chitin lamina of wing scales turned iridescent gold to shiny blue. They showed that knocking out a gene called optix achieves the same result: a bluer Common Buckeye. (2020-04-08)

The evolution of color: Team shows how butterfly wings can shift in hue
A selective mating experiment by a curious butterfly breeder has led scientists to a deeper understanding of how butterfly wing color is created and evolves. The study, led by scientists at University of California, Berkeley, and the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, is published today in eLife. (2020-04-07)

To make ultra-black materials that won't weigh things down, consider the butterfly
Some butterflies have ultra-black wings that rival the blackest materials made by humans, using wing scales that are only a fraction as thick. Using scanning electron microscopy and computer simulations to examine the microscopic structures on the wings of 10 species of ultra-black butterflies and four regular black or dark brown butterflies from Central and South America and Asia, Duke researchers have figured out how they make ultra-thin substances that soak up all the light. (2020-03-10)

Why do men -- and other male animals -- tend to die younger? It's all in the Y chromosome
Males of most animal species die earlier than females because their smaller Y chromosome is unable to protect an unhealthy X chromosome, research suggests. (2020-03-03)

Male-killing bugs hold key to butterflies' curious color changes
An international team of researchers have shed new light on the complex reproductive process which dictates that only female offspring of the Danaus chrysippus survive -- all in close proximity to Kenya's capital, Nairobi. (2020-02-28)

Male-killing bacteria linked to butterfly color changes
Like many poisonous animals, the African monarch butterfly's orange, white and black pattern warns predators that it is toxic. Warning patterns like this are usually consistent across individuals to help predators learn to avoid them. However, a recent study, published February 27 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, shows how a population of African monarch butterflies (Danaus chrysippus) breaks this rule and has highly variable warning patterns. (2020-02-28)

Freshwater insects recover while spiders decline in UK
Many insects, mosses and lichens in the UK are bucking the trend of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive analysis of over 5,000 species led by UCL and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), and published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. (2020-02-17)

Bacteria get free lunch with butterflies and dragonflies
Recent work from Deepa Agashe's group at NCBS has found that unlike other insects, neither butterflies nor dragonflies seem to have evolved strong mutualisms with their bacterial guests. Instead, bacteria seem to be transient acquaintances, sampled randomly from species encountered in the diet or environment. (2020-02-17)

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