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  Yahoo News 12 Oct 07
Butterfly sighting causes stir in Texas

BBC 8 Oct 07
Butterflies used to check climate

Moths and butterflies are to be used by the Scottish Government as an indicator of the state of the environment.

Butterfly Conservation Scotland (BCS) said it was delighted by the decision, which it hoped would raise the profile of threatened species.

BCS said the announcement came as a small heath butterfly was spotted a month later than usual.

While warmer weather has brought new species to Scotland, several resident ones have declined, the group said.

BCS director Paul Kirkland spotted the small heath butterfly in Stirling. It is not normally seen after September.

Mr Kirkland said climate change had been affecting the insects over a number of years and welcomed their use as a "biodiversity indicator".

He said: "This is recognition butterflies are useful indicators of the state of the environment."

Dr Martin Warren, chief executive of Butterfly Conservation, said the small heath was not an isolated occurrence.

He said: "This is a phenomenon we are noticing with a lot of butterflies.

"They are coming out earlier than normal and fitting in extra generations in a year."

Dr Warren added: "The change going on has seen new species colonising Scotland in the last few years.

"Your are getting these lovely butterflies, such as the comma, in your garden and also peacock spreading right across the country."

However, he said other species had suffered from a loss of habitat as a result of weather-related and human activities.

The dingy skipper has declined by 75% in the past 20 years.

One factor in its reduction has been the lack of livestock grazing on coastal grasslands.

Welcoming the government's decision, he said: "It is brilliant news.

"Butterflies and moths are very sensitive to changes and if we can learn from them we can help all Scotland's wildlife."

Yahoo News 12 Oct 07
Butterfly sighting causes stir in Texas

A tiny green butterfly not seen in the United States in more than 70 years likes the new butterfly garden at Falcon State Park, experts said.

Berry Nall of Falcon Heights took a photograph of his find on Monday, posted it on his Web site and asked members of an online mailing list to help him identify it.

"I tried to get as many pictures as I could, but it took off," Nall said.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department informed him that he had taken a picture of a telea hairstreak butterfly.

"I knew something was going on when I couldn't find it (in any books)," he said.

Mike Quinn, an invertebrate biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife's wildlife diversity program, said he immediately started reviewing his books to verify the insect was a telea hairstreak after he saw the posting.

"As soon as I saw the photo, my jaw dropped. It was fresh as a daisy and crisp," he said.

Avery Freeman first captured a telea hairstreak in Laredo in 1935, Quinn said. The specimen is at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Quinn said two other types of green hairstreak butterflies, the xami and the silver-banded, can be spotted in the Rio Grande Valley and feed off the same plants as the telea hairstreak.

A telea hairstreak has tiny filaments on the lower back sides of the wings. It also has false antennae, also on the backs of the wings, that serve to dupe predators, he said.

David Dauphin of Mission said he and his wife, Jan, saw the green butterfly at the state park on Tuesday and took pictures of it. They say they saw other types of hairstreaks later in the week.

Fran Bartle, Falcon State Park's volunteer park naturalist, said the sighting has created a stir and people are coming to the park to look for it.

Jeffrey Glassberg, president of the North American Butterfly Association, said people could have overlooked the telea hairstreak butterflies before because they are so tiny.

"Only recently have there been knowledgable people looking for butterflies," he said. "When you have nobody looking, you don't see anything."

Quinn and the butterfly watchers believe the butterflies hatched in the Valley rather than migrated here.

"There might already be an established community at Falcon State Park," he said. ___

Information from: The Monitor, http://www.themonitor.com

Related articles on Global issues: biodiversity
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