Striking New Butterfly Species Named After David Attenborough

Attenboroughs-black-eyed-satyr-buterfly
Researchers have discovered a new species of butterfly called Attenborough's black-eyed satyr, named after David Attenborough. ANDREW NEILD, TRUSTEES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON

Say hello to Attenborough’s black-eyed satyr, or if you prefer, Euptychia attenboroughi. This striking new butterfly species lives in in the upper Amazon basin in Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. Its territory is fairly small; the creature can be found only in a few sites, all relatively close to one another.

The researchers who located and described the insect decided to dedicate it to Sir David Attenborough, who is best known for writing and presenting in the BBC Life series and other nature programs.

“Although we are a large team from several countries from across four continents and speaking different languages, we have all been deeply influenced and inspired by Sir David’s fascinating and informative documentaries,” said Andrew Neild of London’s Natural History Museum in a statement.

The species has eight bright eyes spots, used for scaring away prey, and it looks quite different from other species in its appointed genus (the taxonomic grouping above species). DNA analysis suggests that it belongs here, however, which came as a bit of a shock to the researchers, as described in a study published December 1 in the journal Zookeys.

“It was a surprise for us that DNA data supported inclusion of this new species in the existing genus Euptychia, since this species lacked a distinctive structural character which was considered to be shared by all members of the genus,” said study co-author Shinichi Nakahara from the University of Florida and Florida Museum of Natural History.