Thank you to David Calvo and Catherine Ryan for sharing the following discovery and links!
After having been misidentified for more than sixty years, the newly identified butterfly makes its home in the spruce and aspen forest of the Tanana-Yukon River basin. Arctic species of butterflies such as the Tanana Arctic are able to survive in such extremely harsh conditions because their bodies produce a natural anti-freeze.
Why is this re-identification important? It could be holding clues about Alaska’s geological history. And the Tanana Arctic may be found to be the only butterfly endemic to Alaska. Also too it lives in an area where the permafrost is melting. Butterflies are known to quickly respond to climate change. The Tanana Arctic’s response could aid scientists in determining variaitions in the sensitive Arctic ecosystem.
Read More About the Tanana Arctic Butterfly Here:
Huron Daily Tribune
Andrew Warren, who made the discovery, is the senior collections manager at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History. I had the great joy to travel with Thomas C. Emmel, the director at the McGuire Center, to Angangueo and interview him at the Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Biosphere reserve. You can watch the interview on youtube at this link.
This undated image provided by lepidopterist Andrew Warren shows the newly discovered Tanana Arctic butterfly. Research by Warren released on March 15, 2016 suggests that the newly discovered species evolved from the offspring of two related butterfly species, and he thinks all three lived in the Beringia region between Alaska and Russia before the last ice age. (Andrew Warren/Florida Museum of Natural History via AP)
Horses neigh, bugs crawl across the lens, and Monarchs flutter in the background —interview on the mountaintop and it was all beautiful! Video includes footage from my forthcoming film, Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly.
Monarch Migration Interview with Tom Emmel, filmed at the summit of the Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Angangueo, Mexico.
This was Tom’s 40th trip to Angangueo to study the Monarchs. In this interview, he provides some historical perspective from those very first trips to the remote Oyamel fir forests atop the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Mountains. We learn how scientists count millions of Monarchs. Tom discusses the state of the Monarch migration today and why it is in crisis.
Tom Emmel is the Director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florida, Gainesville. Additional footage shot at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve and at the base of Sierra Chincua.