The Forestry Bureau has published the fourth volume in its bilingual series of books on the butterflies of Taiwan, which covers more than 100 species of Lycaenidae, also called gossamer-winged butterflies.
Lycaenidae is known as the second-largest family of butterflies, with more than 6,000 species worldwide.
Volume 4 of Butterfly Fauna of Taiwan introduces 130 types of Lycaenidae, including subspecies, detailing their Chinese and English names and synonyms, specimen inspections, adult morphology, global distribution, distribution in Taiwan, larval host plants and biology, the bureau said.
Each species is depicted in color photographs showing dorsal and ventral sides, and the dissected genitalia of both males and females.
The book, published on Sept. 3, also examines the different ecological roles and impact a range of butterflies have had. Examples include the Chilades pandava, which are among the few species that breed on cycads, listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Cycads, seed plants with a very long fossil history that used to be abundant in nature, are now on a long-term decline due to trade, CITES says.
Although once regarded as a rare butterfly species in Taiwan, the Forestry Bureau said the Chilades pandava now poses a threat to the conservation of wild cycads in Taitung’s Hongye Village (紅葉).
This species has become such a threat in the past few years that it is now regarded as an invasive species in Guam due to the extensive damage it has caused to cycad populations there, the bureau said.
The bureau’s series of books follows in the path of pioneering Japanese entomologist Takashi Shirozu, who in 1960 published Butterflies of Formosa in Colour, it said.
The bureau said it hopes the butterfly series, which is written in Mandarin and English, will help promote Taiwan’s butterfly research around the world.
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