A Butterfly’s Moustache Leads Scientists to a New Species

By Allison Bond | February 24, 2009 12:58 pm

2965413041_2830ddbdb0.jpgThis butterfly has a really funny mustache. So does this mean it looks more like Borat or Brad Pitt? Jokes aside, when the curators at the Natural History Museum in London noticed a butterfly with extra hair around its mouth, they took a closer look and discovered that it’s a new species.

The museum’s butterfly expert, Blanca Huertas, originally found the specimen four years ago on an expedition to the Magdalena valleys in Colombia. When she brought it back to the U.K., it promptly got lost in the museum’s three-million-and-change butterfly collection.

The good news is that she’s finally gotten around to classifying it: Huertas matched the butterfly to a reference species in the museum—a 90-year-old specimen known for having hairy mouthparts—and confirmed that it is a new species after all. It is now called Magdelena Valley Ringlet (or if you want to get all scientific, it’s also called Splendeuptychia ackeryl). But our nickname of Tom Selleck will do.

Related Content:
DISCOVER: Littlest Butterfly
DISCOVER: The Wired Butterfly
The Loom: Darwin, Meet Frankenstein

Image: flickr/ Tom


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