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Cracow. Polish scientists discovered a new species of butterfly in Ecuador. Thanks to the photo on the Internet

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Corades yanacocha – this is the name of a new species of butterfly discovered, among others, by Polish scientists near Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Researchers came across the trace of the new insect while browsing photos on an Internet portal. “It is difficult to understand how an impressive, brightly colored species of butterfly managed to escape the eyes of researchers for such a long time,” we read on the website of the Jagiellonian University.

An international group of scientists, including researchers from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, discovered it in the immediate vicinity of the capital Ecuador – Quito – a species of butterfly new to science.

Read also: They wanted to build a power plant in a national park. The investment was stopped by a butterfly

He was hiding in plain sight

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The insect, which belongs to a well-studied group of butterflies, has been named Corades yanacocha. Although reports of new species, especially in South America, are not rare, as the Jagiellonian University authorities emphasized in their announcement, this case is special – due to the place where the butterfly occurs and the way in which scientists tracked it down.

According to the university, scientists noticed a trace of this species on the global website “iNaturalist”, where nature enthusiasts and scientists share interesting photos of animals and plants. “One of them, depicting an unidentified butterfly with characteristic wing coloration, caught the attention of specialists” – we read in a publication of the Jagiellonian University.

The university emphasized that the place of discovery is also unusual – Quito is a large metropolis with about three million inhabitants. “Among the South American countries, Ecuador is considered to be by far the best known in terms of fauna and flora, especially butterflies, which have been studied in this area since the mid-19th century; it is difficult to understand how an impressive, brightly colored species of butterfly has survived for such a long time. through the eyes of researchers,” the press release noted.

Corades yanacocha is a new species of butterfly. It was discovered near QuitoAbigail de Pozo, uj.edu.pl

Corades yanacocha is a new species of butterfly. It was discovered near QuitoAbigail de Pozo, uj.edu.pl

Scientists suspect that the butterfly has not been described yet because of its natural environment. Although it lives in the vicinity of the busy capital, it occurs only in a narrow strip of vegetation along the upper forest line that covers the cone of the active Pichincha volcano. Scientific research in this area is hampered by unfavorable weather conditions and the high altitude.

The living environment of Corades yanacochaPierre Boyer, uj.edu.pl

As we read in the announcement of the oldest Polish university, Corades yanacocha is “a large butterfly with a wingspan of about 7 cm. Its wings are brown with a brick-red stripe not found in any other representative of this genus, which has a total of about 25 species.”

Read also: “No plants, no butterflies.” Many species are endangered

The new species of butterfly has a camouflaging “marble pattern with a hint of orange on the front pair” on the underside of its wings. Six males of this species are known in collections around the world, one of which is in the Nature Education Center of the Jagiellonian University. However, the female remains unknown.

A specimen of Corades yanacocha from the collections of the Nature Education CenterR. Garlacz, uj.edu.pl

The reserve “saved from extinction” a previously unknown butterfly

Corades yanacocha occurs in the Yanacocha Reserve, which was originally established to protect the endangered hummingbird. The protection of a fragment of the primeval forest prevented the establishment of industrial plantations of trees alien to this area (pine and eucalyptus) and stopped predatory farming, which saved this species of butterfly from extinction,” the Jagiellonian University reported.

The discovery was made possible thanks to the cooperation of scientists from the Jagiellonian University, the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florida, the Zoological Museum in Bonn and French lepidopterologists, “aimed at learning about the fauna of the most biodiverse area in the world, the tropical Andes, contributing to raising public awareness of the need to protect natural environments and preserve biodiversity of our planet.

The living environment of Corades yanacochaPierre Boyer, uj.edu.pl

Main photo source: Abigail de Pozo, uj.edu.pl

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