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25 December 2015

Newly discovered alpine butterfly 'Micropterix Gaudiella' flies only when sun shines at an altitude of 1,600 meters

Recently, the Austrian team of scientists around Dr. Peter Huemer, Curator of the Natural History Collections of the Tyrolean State Museums (Tiroler Landesmuseen), in collaboration with the Italian Museo di Scienze Naturali Enrico Caffi in Bergamo discovered a new 7 to 8 mm butterfly in the alpine region of Italy. The butterfly belongs to the family of the 'Archaic Moths', the oldest since around 130 million years almost unchanged existing group of butterflies; they are living fossils. It is named after the Latin word 'gaudium' for 'joy', 'Micropterix Gaudiella'. The name is derived from the team's joy about the surprisingly finding of the butterfly during a discovery journey. Before the Micropterix Gaudiella was seen at blossoms of roses, six species of archaic moths were already known to live in the alpine region.

fig.: Images of the Micropterix Gaudiella; the butterfly is metallic gold-purple colored and lives from pollen (biting, chewing). It was found on blossoms of roses at the mountain 'Pizzo Arera' in the alps of the region Bergamo in Northern Italy. The Micropterix Gaudiella flies only when the sun shines at an altitude of about 1,600 meters.

Photo right: (C) Stefan Heim / TLM - Tiroler Landesmuseen. Below: (C) Norbert Pöll.

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