DNA Barcodes Reveal Two Distinct Butterflies Are Male & Female Of Same Species

Male Sunburst Cerulean-Satyr butterfly (Caeruleuptychia helios; Weymer, 1911) attracted to bait of fermented fish and urine. Villa Carmen Biological Station, Pilcopata, Cuzco, Peru, April 2016.
(Credit: Andrew Neild /
Florida Museum of Natural History.)

Taxonomy — identifying species — is one of the oldest sciences

DNA barcodes are a promising taxonomic tool for identifying species

DNA barcoding works best when there are sufficient specimens available for scientific studies

A researcher walks down Trail 2 at Villa Carmen Biological Station, Pilcopata, Cuzco, Peru. This trail features secondary regrowth habitat where numerous species of Caeruleuptychia butterflies have been recorded. (doi:10.1163/1876312X-00002167)

Caeruleuptychia butterflies are a case of extreme sexual dimorphism

Figure 1: Sunburst cerulean-satyr butterfly (Caeruleuptychia helios). Male (top row: upperside and underside of the wings) and female (bottom row: upperside and underside of the wings). (Shinichi Nakahara et al., 2017, doi:10.1163/1876312X-00002167)
Figure 2. Trembath’s cerulean-satyr butterfly (Caeruleuptychia trembathi). Male (top row; upper and underside of the wings) and female (bottom row; upper and underside of the wings). (Shinichi Nakahara et al., 2017, doi:10.1163/1876312X-00002167)

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Evolutionary ecologist & ornithologist, science journalist. Freelance, job hunting. Writes about science for Forbes. Formerly: The Guardian. Always: Ravenclaw.

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