Forestry Bureau publishes 4th illustrated book on Taiwan butterflies

09/12/2020 07:55 PM
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A Chilades pandava spotted in the wild / Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
A Chilades pandava spotted in the wild / Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau

Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) In the latest addition to its ongoing series of books on the butterflies of Taiwan, the Forestry Bureau last week published a fourth volume that covers over 100 species of Lycaenidae, also called gossamer-winged butterflies.

Lycaenidae is known as the second-largest family of butterflies, with over 6,000 species worldwide.

Volume 4 of the "Butterfly Fauna of Taiwan" introduces 130 types of Lycaenidae, including subspecies, while detailing their English/Chinese names and synonyms, specimen inspections, adult morphology, global distribution, distribution in Taiwan, larval host plants, biology and remarks, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, each species of butterfly is depicted in color photos showing dorsal and ventral sides, and the dissected genitalia of both males and females.

Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau

Published on Sept. 3, the book also examines the different ecological roles and impact a range of butterflies have had. Examples include the Chilades pandava, which are among the few species that breed on plants of the cycad class, currently listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

According to CITES, cycads are seed plants with a very long fossil history that used to be an abundance in nature but are now on a long-term decline due to trade.

Although once regarded as a rare butterfly species in Taiwan, the Forestry Bureau said the Chilades pandava now poses a threat to the conservation of wild cycad plants in Taitung's Hongye Village.

Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau

Indeed, this species of butterfly has become such a threat in recent years that it is now regarded as an invasive species in Guam due to the extensive damage it has caused to cycad populations there, the bureau said.

This series of books marks a new chapter in butterfly research in Taiwan, following the work of pioneering Japanese entomologist Takashi Shirozu, who published a book titled "Butterflies of Formosa in Colour" in 1960, it said.

The bureau said it hopes the butterfly series, a bilingual publication in Chinese and English, will help promote Taiwan's butterfly research around the world.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Ko Lin)

Enditem/AW

Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
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