A New Subspecies of Arctic Butterfly


Photo: Roman Yakovlev and Yuri Bakhaev, Tomsk State University

Scientists from Tomsk and Altai State Universities have discovered a new subspecies of a rare Arctic butterfly. A research article published in the Ecologica Montenegrina (Q1) journal describes a previously unknown inhabitant of the northern fauna.

A new subspecies of the Arctic Apollo, Parnassius arcticus, lives only in Yakutia [Sakha] in the upper part of the Arga-Tas mountain range.

Several populations [of the Arctic Apollo] are known to be living within a 200-500 km range in the Verkhoyansky [Verkhoyansk], Momsky [Moma], and Suntar-Khayata high-altitude mountain ranges. These are out-of-reach areas. The biodiversity there still needs further study, a scientist at the Biological Institute of Tomsk and Altai State Universities said.

It is monophagous: the butterflies are fed only on one plant - Corydalis gorodkovii. Besides, Parnassius arcticus is almost the only butterfly species found in the high-altitude mountain ranges of North-Eastern Yakutia [Sakha], Russia.