Smithsonian’s retired museum specialist honored with newly found butterfly species

Caeruleuptychia harrisi. Credit score: Nakahara et al.

When a brand new species is found, taxonomists have the privilege of selecting its scientific identify. Whereas there are pointers for naming, there’s additionally room for creativity and private affect.

Usually, new species are named primarily based on their geographical location or distinguishing traits. Nevertheless, researchers even have the chance to honor people who’ve contributed to their work, similar to famend scientists, celebrities, and even their very own relations or pets.

Within the Amazon rainforest, a newly found butterfly species has been named in recognition of the decades-long dedication of somebody who offered invaluable assist to researchers behind the scenes in museum collections.

The butterfly species is named Caeruleuptychia harrisi, named after Brian P. Harris, a retired museum specialist on the Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past. The researchers, led by Shinichi Nakahara from Harvard College, selected this identify to acknowledge Harris’s tireless efforts in facilitating butterfly analysis and going above and past to assist visiting researchers at USNM.

New butterfly species named after Smithsonian's retired museum specialist
Caeruleuptychia harrisi. Credit score: Nakahara et al.

Brian Harris personally collected the sort specimen of Caeruleuptychia harrisi throughout his time in Brazil. This specimen was later deposited at USNM, the place it served as a reference for the scientific description of the brand new species.

Shinichi Nakahara emphasizes the significance of recognizing people like Harris, who’ve devoted a good portion of their lives to offering technical assist for analysis. Harris’s position in curating the Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera collections on the Smithsonian Establishment was essential for visiting researchers like Nakahara to conduct their research utilizing these specimens. Nevertheless, Nakahara notes that this sort of technical assist is usually underappreciated within the scientific neighborhood.

Nakahara personally skilled Harris’s distinctive assist throughout his visits to the Smithsonian’s Lepidoptera assortment. Harris went out of his approach to make sure Nakahara had entry to the required butterfly specimens, organising imaging methods upfront and even serving to within the seek for subject notes left by a deceased collector. Nakahara highlights Harris’s dedication and willingness to help researchers in making probably the most out of the collections.

Extra info: Shinichi Nakahara et al, Reassessment of the sort locality of Euptychia stigmatica Godman, 1905, with the outline of two new sibling species from Amazonia (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae, Satyrini), ZooKeys (2023). DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.1167.102979

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Quotation: New butterfly species named after Smithsonian’s retired museum specialist (2023, June 15) retrieved 16 June 2023 from

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