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Daily Archives: 13. February 2017 − News & Stories


Sup­po­sed­ly extinct but­ter­fly dis­co­ve­r­ed

A small but­ter­fly, that was con­si­de­red to be extinct, ended up in the net of some rese­ar­chers in the north of Spits­ber­gen. Plut­el­la Pola­ris was last seen 147 years ago in 1870, befo­re Geir Søli dis­co­ve­r­ed it again.

The rese­ar­cher of the Natu­ral Histo­ry Muse­um in Oslo visi­ted Ring­horn­da­len in the Wij­defjor­den in sum­mer 2015 to map plants and insects in the area. When he dis­co­ve­r­ed a small gray but­ter­fly in the squid, he regar­ded it first as a clo­se rela­ti­ve of Plut­el­la pola­ris, which is cal­led Plut­el­la xylostella, a spe­ci­es more fre­quent in the north of Nor­way and some­ti­mes is blown to Spits­ber­gen by the wind. Ring­horn­da­len is a val­ley well pro­tec­ted from the wea­ther and the­re­fo­re rela­tively warm and fer­ti­le.

Plut­el­la Pola­ris, © Kars­ten Sun­de, Natur­his­to­risk Muse­um, Oslo, Nor­way

Plutella Polaris

The rather incon­spi­cuous but­ter­fly must have deve­lo­ped enor­mous adap­ti­ve abi­li­ties in order to sur­vi­ve in Spits­ber­gen. The litt­le guy would only in a very short peri­od in sum­mer be able to find enough food. Plut­el­la Pola­ris is one of only three spe­ci­es of but­ter­flies regis­tered on Spits­ber­gen.

The occur­rence or disap­pearan­ce of spe­ci­es is par­ti­cu­lar­ly inte­res­ting with regard to the effects of cli­ma­te chan­ge. Rese­ar­cher Geir Søli hopes that soon more exci­ting dis­co­ve­ries will fly into his net…

Source: Forskning.no, Sval­bard­pos­ten

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