Hey, anyone can make a mistake… even butterfly experts. A beautiful blue butterfly in the Amazon was first described and named in 1911. Recently, a brown butterfly was discovered and also named. However, it now turns out that these two butterflies are actually the same species!The sunburst cerulean-satyr butterfly, Caeruleuptychia helios, was described when a researcher saw the bright blue butterflies. It was assumed that the females looked the same. When a rarer brown butterfly was described recently, it didn’t look like any other species and was named Magneuptychia keltoumae, in a completely different genus.The blue and brown butterfly are actually the same species! Image credits: Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Shinichi Nakahara.Recently, researchers wanting to have an idea of butterfly biodiversity in the neotropics took DNA barcodes of hundreds of butterfly species. DNA bar codes are parts of the genome that are informative and unique in identifying species. Each one should, therefore, be different from any other. The researchers’ goal was to have an idea of the biodiversity in the area. It is especially important to survey biodiversity now as it is being lost at an alarming rate.
Two butterflies thought to be different species are actually the same one