Blue Butterfly :

The extinction of species isn’t new to the planet as it had been part of the life cycle since life 1st began on Earth.

Extinction of weak species by natural selection or Extinction of life form by unexpected natural disasters like the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroid.

But during all these 4-billion-years of life’s history on earth, scientists are sure that never once was a single species responsible for the extinction of many other species all around the world until modern civilization began.

Since the age of colonization and the industrial revolution first began, humans have disrupted the natural balance of a region wherever they stepped and pushed many species to go extinct or to the brink of extinction in the name of modernization.

The Tasmanian Tiger, the Dodo, Steller’s Sea Cow, Passenger Pigeon, the Great Auk are some examples of many species that were brought down to extinction.

Since the 16th century, almost 680 vertebrate species were driven to extinction by humans.

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And the list is just growing. Recently, a new species that was thought to be a subspecies of a species has been added to this unfortunate list.

The Xerus blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche Xerces)

Blue ButterflyImage credit: Vic Smith

The Xerces blue butterfly disappeared from the face of the earth about 80 years ago and only their relics now sit in the museum. But the lepidopterists are still learning about that insect.

The DNA examination of a 93-year-old specimen showed that this blue butterfly was in fact a unique species and did not belong to subspecies of others.

The research report published in Biology Letters revealed that Xerces blue butterfly was the 1st insect in the United States of America to go extinct because of humans.

Xerces blue butterfly fluttered its wings on the San Francisco Peninsula and was first formally identified in the 1850s.

But unfortunately for these beautiful creatures, within just 100 years of their identification, they went into extinction due to their habitat loss in the name of urbanization and the infestation of invasive species like ants through the shipment of the goods.

The researchers used the DNA from a 93-year-old blue butterfly specimen at Chicago Field Museum. As the DNA was a little degraded with time, they had to dig deeper studying the genomes and mitochondria for a clear picture.

The researchers prepared an evolutionary tree using the genes and the “mitogenomes” to find out how all the different species of butterflies are related to each other and found out that Xerces blue butterfly was a distinct species.

“We sort of lost a piece of the biodiversity puzzle the made up the tapestry of the San Francisco Bay area when this species was driven to extinction,” said Corrie Moreau, an entomologist at Cornell University.

Many other insect species are now being threatened to go extinct because of human-induced climate change and pesticide usage.

Scientists are considering bringing back Xerces blue butterfly from extinction using genetic manipulation science.

But few scientists cautioned against it, “Maybe we should spend that time and energy and money on ensuring that we protect the blues that are already endangered that we know about,” Akito Y. Kawahara, a lepidopterist at the Florida Museum of Natural History stated.

Chetan Raj

I'm a writer, entrepreneur, and traveler obsessed with technology, travel, science, and the world we are living in. I realized the value of 'true knowledge' for the 1st time in my graduation which is one of the many reasons to create this magnificent platform...


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