Live from the heart of Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest, the World Land Trust’s local expert talks butterfly facts and unusual behavior
On 29 March, butterfly expert Jorge Bizaro fascinated webcam viewers with interesting facts and explained unusual species behaviour, while they watched live footage from REGUA’s wildlife reserve in eastern Brazil.
Jorge is a part-time Research Coordinator at REGUA, World Land Trust (WLT) project partners in Brazil. He caused considerable excitement on the webchat when he told viewers that he had recently identified a butterfly species new to the reserve; a REGUA ranger brought him a specimen of what appeared to be a large skipper, the size of a Painted Lady, with turquoise, white and black stripes. Jorge told viewers: “It’s very beautiful! For me, it’s a new species for the REGUA reserve.”
Although Jorge could not identify the exact subspecies because the butterfly’s antennae were missing, he recognised it as either a Phocides metrodorus (Bell’s Paradise Skipper) or an Elbella azeta (Azete Firetip Skipper) subspecies from the Hesperiidae family. Jorge has found caterpillars of Phocides metrodorus in the area but never the adult butterfly, and has never seen an Elbella azeta at the reserve – not even caterpillars. This is a very exciting new recording for the reserve, home to over 260 species of butterfly.
Jorge also revealed a very interesting fact about butterfly behaviour and how they know when it is going to rain. “Around 20 minutes before it starts raining, butterflies just vanish. Maybe they can detect atmospheric pressure changes”, he speculated. True to form, minutes after Jorge joined the webchat (5pm UK time, 1pm Brazil time) the butterflies vanished and a storm swept in. Yet despite the lack of butterflies, Jorge entertained viewers with his knowledge and passion.
Originally from Portugal, Jorge moved to the Paraná State in south Brazil in 1996 where he completed an MSc and PhD on butterfly systematics: a revision of the South American Emperor butterflies in the Genus Doxocopa Hubner. Ever since becoming acquainted with the southeastern Brazil butterfly fauna, Jorge has mainly researched the biology of immature states (egg, caterpillar, and pupa) and their host plants.
The WLT would like to thank Jorge and Luciano Breves, our multimedia officer in Brazil, for organising such a successful and entertaining webchat. It was great to be joined by so many of our regular viewers, as well as welcoming many new people.
Join us every Tuesday for more lively discussion and exciting wildlife spotting in the heart of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest.
Morpho helenor marinita: just one of the beautiful butterflies found in the Atlantic Rainforest.
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WLT hopes to invite more experts to the webchat in the coming months