Tag Archives: Lepidoptera

New Species: March 1 to 10

by Piter Kehoma Boll

Here is a list of species described from March 1 to March 10. It certainly does not include all described species. Most information comes from the journals Mycokeys, Phytokeys, Zookeys, Phytotaxa, Zootaxa, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, and Systematic and Applied Microbiology, as well as journals restricted to certain taxa.


Pristimantis attenboroughi is a new frog species described in the past 10 days and named in honor of Sir David Attenborough.














Ray-finned fishes




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Filed under Systematics, taxonomy

Friday Fellow: Six-Spot Burnet

ResearchBlogging.orgby Piter Kehoma Boll

Found in Europe, today’s Friday Fellow is a nice day-flying moth with beautiful colors and toxic compounds. Scientifically known as Zygaena filipendulae, its common name is six-spot burnet, burnet being the common name of moths in the genus Zygaena and six-spot referring to the six red spots in each of the front wings. Those spots contrast beautifully with the dark blue or green metalic background of the wings, giving it some sort of mystical look, don’t you think?

The color say "I'm not edible". Photo by Vlad Proklov.*

The colors say “I’m not edible”. Photo by Vlad Proklov.*

As a caterpillar, the six-spot burnet feeds on leguminous plants, especially trefoils, and has a very different appearance, as usually in lepidopterans. It is yellow to greenish-yellow and has two rows of black spots running on the dorsum.

A chubby yellow caterpillar. Photo by Harald Süpfle.**

A chubby yellow caterpillar. Photo by Harald Süpfle.**

The plants used as food by the caterpillar contain cyanogenic glucosides, substances that are stored individually and produce toxic hydrogen cyanide when in contact with each other. This is used as a defense mechanism by the plant, but the caterpillar ingests and stores such compounds to use for its own defense. It has also been shown that the caterpillar is able to produce these cyanogenic glucosides by itself, thus not relying solely on the portion ingested with the food. Most of the compounds, however, are lost during the metamorphosis, so that the adults are much less toxic than the caterpillars.

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Zagrobelny, M., Bak, S., Olsen, C., & Møller, B. (2007). Intimate roles for cyanogenic glucosides in the life cycle of Zygaena filipendulae (Lepidoptera, Zygaenidae) Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 37 (11), 1189-1197 DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2007.07.008

Wikipedia. Six-spot burnet. Available at: < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-spot_burnet >. Access on August 1, 2016.

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*Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

**Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License.

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Filed under Entomology, Friday Fellow, Zoology

Friday Fellow: Gulf fritillary

by Piter Kehoma Boll

I decided that it is time for me to introduce my favorite butterfly here, Agraulis vanillae, commonly known as Gulf fritillary.

The Gulf fritillary is a butterly in the tribe Heliconini and is found in the Americas, from southern United States to northern Argentina. It is easily recognizable by a series of large silvery spots on the underside of the wings. The upper side is orange with black marks.

An adult of Agraulis vanillae. Photo by Piter K. Boll.

An adult of Agraulis vanillae on a head of Zinnia elegans. Photo by Piter K. Boll.*

This orange and black pattern serves as a warning for potential predators, especially birds, about the butterfly’s unpalatability. When disturbed, they produce a complex secretion from abdominal glands that has a strong odor.

As all Heliconini, the Gulf fritillary feeds on species of passionflower in the caterpillar (larval) stage. The adults feed on nectar of several flowers and have been demonstrated to learn to associate a specific color to a better food resource.

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Ross, G. N.; Fales, H. M.; Lloyd, H. A.; Jones, T.; Sokolski, E. A.; Marshall-Batty, K.; Blum, M. S. 2001. Novel chemistry of abdominal defensive glands of nymphalid butterfly Agraulis vanillaeJournal of Chemical Ecology27 (6): 1219-1228. DOI: 10.1023/A:1010372114144

Wikipedia. Gulf fritillary. Available at < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_fritillary >. Access on April 14, 2016.

Weiss, M. R. 1995. Associative colour learning in a nymphalid butterfly. Ecological Entomology20: 298-301.

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This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Filed under Entomology, Friday Fellow