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Chinese-German Collaboration Yields Butterfly Discovery

UserPost

10:22 am
June 11, 2010


admin

Admin

posts 215

Chinese and German scientists have found a
new butterfly species in the south of China. It is the first known
species of the family of Large Blue butterflies which lives in mountain
forests.
The new species from northwestern Yunnan
was discovered by Prof. Min Wang of the South China Agricultural
University, Guangzhou, China and Dr. Josef Settele of the Helmholtz
Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Halle, Germany. The species was
described in the open access journal ZooKeys (Volume 48, pp. 21-28;
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.48.415) and was named Phengaris xiushani. With the
name the scientist Dr. Xiushan Li is honored, who has rendered
outstanding service to the cooperation of the butterfly researchers in
Germany and China. During June, further workshops will take place, which
can be followed at the blog http://www.blog.dcjwb.net.The
large blues belong to the most intensively studied group of butterflies
in Eurasia, which is probably due to their obscure biology and ecology.
On the one hand they depend on specific food plants, which in itself is
not yet that surprising. But they also require particular ant species
as many of the known species feed on ants during most of their life as
caterpillars. These specialized habitat requirements have made them
vulnerable to climate change and habitat alteration.The discovery of the new species now was quite
surprising, although contrary to the European species (which are well
known under their scientific name Maculinea), the Chinese species,
which include both the Maculinea and the Phengaris blues, are not so
well studied and monitored due to lack of financial and personnel
resources. Consequently, nothing is known on the ecology of this new
species, with the exception that it lives in undisturbed forested
mountains, where it was discovered. This makes it different from the
other Large Blues which live in grasslands.
The discovery was made in the course of a
Chinese-German workshop on butterfly conservation held in Guangzhou in
December 2009, funded within the German-Chinese Year of Science by BMBF (German Ministry for Science and Education) through
the project LepiPub and South
China Agricultural University
. This study was partly supported by
the National Nature Science Foundation of China and the FP 6 BiodivERsA
project CLIMIT. Reference specimens are kept in the Insect Collection of
the South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China, and the
"Senckenberg Museum für Tierkunde" in Dresden, Germany.
The name given to the new species refers:
(a) to the beautiful mountain on the slopes of which it was found
(Xiu-Shan in Chinese means "beautiful mountain"), and, more importantly,
(b) to Dr. Xiushan Li who worked at UFZ for some years, brought
together the two authors of the report, and who has committed much of
his life to research on ecology and conservation of butterflies.

// <![CDATA[//

The
United Nations have declared 2010 as the "International Year of
Biodiversity." With its expertise, the UFZ contributes to investigating
the consequences and causes of the loss of biodiversity as well as
developing mitigation options.


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