Butterfly of Colombian Naturalist Francisco José de Caldas could be a new species
As reported by Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Bogotá Natural Sciences Institute Professor Gonzalo Andrade, who participated in the recent 200th year death anniversary of Francisco José de Caldas, carried out in Manizales (Province of Caldas)Manizales, 24 de mayo de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
“The following process is to confirm if this is a new species for science and for society. It looks very similar to morphos Uls Colqui which thrives in an Andean tundra known as Páramo de Letras. It is cream color with brownish highlights under the body,” said Andrade who has been studying butterflies for 25 years.
From the top the color looks cream like but depending on the angle of sight the butterfly has a metallic blue color.
The morphometry studies do not contribute much to help define the name of the species. However they determined that the wingspan can reach up to 60 centimeters (23.6 in.).
Studies on the only specimen are over the male genitals and the color patterns which are analyzed through a microscope or a stereoscope.
“We know the name of the rest of the insects we have including species of morpho (amathonte and ciprix), moths, dragonflies, flies, and wasps among others.
Andrade says that researcher Jorge Reynolds Pombo is member of the eight generation of the Caldas family and which had previously opened the boxes. The task of cleaning the insects (removing the dust and reestablishing the original colors) and classifying them took approximately 4 months.
The boxes seem to be very old; the glass was made by hand and has some defects. The bottom of the box has tin paper which is what they had at the time. Furthermore, during the analysis they noticed that the insects had never been moved from the where they had been originally placed.
“We already have them all identified but we are looking to know how old they are because all we know is the story told by the Reynolds. We are trying to use Carbon 14 to date the insects and see if the provide more accurate data if they were gathered in Colombia or Ecuador,” he said.
This project has been entitled “Una historia por contar” (A story to tell) and hopes results will be positive in the coming months.
The President of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, Enrique Forero, whom also was present during the academic activity says this analysis is very important for Colombia because it relives the work of Caldas as the first scientist who worked with great limitations.
“Francisco José de Caldas is a role model for young people. If we are involved in a peace process, we need to show new generations new paths such as science and research, which provides the possibility to understand the nature that surrounds us,” he said.(Por: Fin/JDMP/MLA/APBL