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First New Butterfly Species Found in Alaska in 28 Years: Is it an Ancient Hybrid?

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First New Butterfly Species Found in Alaska in 28 Years: Is it an Ancient Hybrid?

Calling it a potential Alaskan climate bellwether, scientists have published a new paper identifying the first new butterfly species in Alaska in 28 years.

Calling it a potential Alaskan climate bellwether, scientists have published a new paper identifying the first new butterfly species in Alaska in 28 years. Photo credit: Andrew Warren / Florida Museum of Natural History

The discovery occurred when researchers realized that the new Tanana Arctic Butterfly is distinct from the Chryxus Arctic (Oeneis chryxus) and that it had been mis-classified as for the last 60 years.

If the Tanana Arctic Butterfly, which has been endemic to Alaska since the last ice age, is forced out of its habitat by warming weather, it will serve as evidence of the changing Arctic climate.

For a deeper dive: Christian Science Monitor, News Miner, I4U, U-Fairbanks, Mother Nature News, Morning Ticker, CDA News

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