Web Extra: Newcomer butterfly has a light footprint

December 3rd, 2008  |  by  |  Published in Multimedia, Research News  |  2 Comments

Zizina otis, the Lesser Grass Blue butterfly, photo by Jim Snyder

Zizina otis, the Lesser Grass Blue butterfly, photo by Jim Snyder

Recent reports of a new butterfly discovery heralded the arrival of the butterfly Zizina otis, the Lesser Grass Blue, on Oʻahu.

Amateur butterfly enthusiast Jim Snyder first spotted and photographed the unknown butterfly in Kapiʻolani Park on March 16th, 2008. Soon after Daniel Rubinoff, an invasive species biologist in the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences at UH Mānoa, observed and collected specimens of the species which was then identified by the team of scientists following this discovery.

Mālamalama magazine spoke with Rubinoff about the butterfly, which had never before been seen in the United States. We asked him how innocuous this new incursion really is and if it wasn’t an invasive species.

Learn more

  • Listen to Rubinoff as he shares with reporter Jeela Ongley some insights into one of Hawaiʻi’s newest resident, the Lesser Grass Blue  
  • View more pictures of the Lesser Grass Blue by Jim Snyder.
  • Specimens of the Lesser Grass Blue and hundreds of other insects are collected in the University of Hawaiʻi College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Insect Museum.

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  1. Concerned citizen says:

    December 4th, 2008at 7:46 pm(#)

    Dr. Rubinoff has no doubt been spending too much time in his lab and not out in the field. He consistently repeated how lucky the state of Hawaii is that this insect may not cause catastrophic damage. Why is his group of scientists not making better use of their substantial grants to look into ways to prevent further invasive species. Can there not be precautionary measures that can be taken? Is targeted spraying not even a possibility.

    As a respected scientist, I would expect to hear more about these critical efforts, rather than repeating himself three times that this species will not cause damage.

  2. Interested Reader says:

    December 5th, 2008at 8:57 pm(#)

    I enjoyed listening to the audio interview and learning about this new butterfly that has come to our islands. I am glad to hear it only feeds on an invasive plant…nature’s way of bio-control. The above response by “concerned citizen” seems odd to me as it does not address the article or interview and veers heavily off topic (on the verge of a rant.) One of the main points of this discovery is the concern of its impact, so it seems only natural that Dr. Rubinoff would fully address the issue. As for field research, was it not Dr. Rubinoff who “observed and collected specimens of the species”–not to mention that the above article is not about his other areas of research, so how can one judge without proper knowledge?