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Home* News and Stories → Supposedly extinct butterfly discovered

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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last modification: 2017-02-14 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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