Cethosia biblis Drury, 1770

I wrote about this beautiful butterfly – The Red Lacewing – in a previous blog (‘Don’t eat me I’m poisonous!) posted on this site last year (12 Jan 2014).  I am including a little history here. This species was first named by a British entomologist called Dru Drury (1725-1803). Drury was a fascinating character; a…

Clipper

The Clipper (Parthenos sylvia), is a common butterfly of forested areas in South and South-East Asia.  The species occurs over a huge area: from India and Sri Lanka in the west; through Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia; onto the islands of Borneo, Sumatra, the Philippines, Sulawesi, Java and Bali; and as far east as Papua New…

Darwin’s finches: evolving into the future

A recent paper published in the journal Nature, reports the results of sequencing the genomes of all fourteen of the so-called Darwin’s finches, found on the  Galápagos islands (1). These, now famous bird species evolved from a common ancestor as recently as 1.5 million years ago (possibly 2.3 mya) according to previous mitochondrial DNA dating, adapting to…

The ancient lineage of insects

A recent paper published in the journal Science presents a reconstruction of the insect phylogeny (their ‘tree of life’ as it were) based on a gargantuan analysis of their DNA (1).  The huge team (I counted 101 authors!) of researchers studied the genomes – and the amino acid sequences they code for – from insects and other arthropods in…

Garden Fence Lizard seen on fence!

  The Changeable lizard (Calotes versicolor) certainly lives up to its name.  Also called the Oriental Garden Lizard, the Garden Fence Lizard, or the Eastern Garden Lizard, it varies in colour and pattern throughout its vast range (stretching across Asia from Iran to China and down into South East Asia).  It has also been introduced into many places,…