A report from Phys.org said that this summer, if you see a butterfly that has blue-colored wings on top and orange-colored spots below, it may have come across a Polyommatus Icarus or a male European Common Blue, the new species.
As suggested in the study, the new discovery is not an accidental discovery. This was according to a research team from the University of Ottawa who took a close look at this pretty blue creature. They are in fact the first researchers to study the ecology of the new species.
According to Stephen Rivest, a doctoral student at the University of Ottawa, the study results suggest that Polyommatus Icarus or P. Icarus may become widespread in the future because it prefers urban sites.
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(Photo : Zeynel Cebeci sur Wikimedia Commons)
A common blue male (Polyommatus icarus)
Could become universal across Canada
Rivest, the study’s first author, “ Human disturbance favors the abundance of a newly introduced butterfly, the common European blue (Polyommatus Icarus; Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), in Canada ”, published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, the new butterfly species can reach extremely high densities and its caterpillars depend on a universal host plant across Canada.
Typically found in Europe, P. Icarus was originally discovered in 2005, near Montreal, Quebec. Its production provided the Rivest team with an unusual opportunity to examine a non-native insect during the early stages of its colonization and better understand the progression of an invasion.
The first author also said that the rate of introduction of plant and animal species outside their home ranges is increasing around the world, although only a few of these species will become invasive. In other words, they are widespread, abundant and have negative impacts on environmental communities.
This is the reason, he added, “it is important that newly introduced species” are examined as they have been so that they can better understand and predict which introduced species are likely to become invasive.
P. Icarus on the rise
Describing their results, Rivest said he found that P. Icarus is most abundant in urban sites and where its favorite food plant for caterpillars, Lotus corniculatus or Birds Foot Trefoil is found.
According to Minnesota Wildflowers, bird clover is a whorl of three to eight bright yellow flowers at the end of a long, bare stalk that originates from the axils of leaves along branching stems.
This plant, he explained, was introduced in the mid-1700s to North America and now exists in all provinces of Canada.
Their study, he added, also shows that P. Icarus can reach very high densities compared to native butterflies and is a weak to moderate disperser, that is, “Adults don’t fly very well”.
The new species of butterfly might not be a winner in flight competitions, the first author explained, adding that it could still spread to Canada.
In 2017, when researchers began research, common European blue existed in southwestern Quebec. This is where the Rivest team conducted their field investigations.
More than 4,600 people find their way outside Quebec
A similar Mirage News said the team gathered information on butterfly communities and their habitat at various sites, and then assessed the ability of adults of P. Icarus to fly.
To do this, the researchers marked as many individuals of the said butterfly species as possible, using a permanent marker.
Each of the species was given a unique marking on its wing so that, if ever recaptured, it could measure the distance it flew, explained Rivest.
As a result, researchers were able to capture and tag an astonishing number of individual species, 4,629 to be exact. Now, these butterflies have found their way outside of Quebec.
Related information on P. Icarus can be found on the Filming Varwild YouTube video below:
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