The UAE’s animal kingdom just grew after the discovery of two new species

The UAE’s animal kingdom just grew after the discovery of two new species
1 / 2
A Mottled Emigrant, Catopsilia pyranthe, which is a medium-sized, pale yellow butterfly common in India, which looks like a leaf when perched in vegetation. (Binish Roobas/WAM)
The UAE’s animal kingdom just grew after the discovery of two new species
2 / 2
The Tiny Grass Blue, Zizula hylax, a very small butterfly from the African and Asian tropics. (Binish Roobas/WAM)
Updated 15 January 2018

The UAE’s animal kingdom just grew after the discovery of two new species

The UAE’s animal kingdom just grew after the discovery of two new species

DUBAI: The number of wildlife recorded living in the UAE just grew again, following the discovery of two species of butterflies not previously found in the country, state news agency WAM reported.
There are now known to be 57 species of the insects according to naturalists who preparing a comprehensive list of UAE butterflies.
A Mottled Emigrant, Catopsilia pyranthe, which is a medium-sized, pale yellow butterfly common in India, which looks like a leaf when perched in vegetation, was found on Al Noor Island, a leisure venue in Khalid Lagoon, Sharjah, where its entire life cycle has been photographed.
The second species to be found was the Tiny Grass Blue, Zizula hylax, a very small butterfly from the African and Asian tropics. This was found in a residential area of Dubai.
It is thought the butterflies arrived in the UAE with imports of the plants on which they were found, which are very common in public and commercial properties.
Both species have been associated with particular imported ornamental plants on which they lay their eggs in their native homes and on which their caterpillars develop.
However it is possible, experts believe that the Tiny Grass Blue might have expanded its range northward from Oman along with the continued greening of the UAE, or as a result of climate change.
It is not known how long either species has been present in the UAE, as they look similar to others that are native to the country, the report added.
It is not uncommon for new species of creatures to be discovered in the UAE, over the years there have been red back spiders spotted in residential areas of Dubai, the Mynah bird – now a common bird throughout the country is originally from Asia, and Indian house crows have been spotted in Abu Dhabi.
There are also a number of rodents that are thought to have been introduced to the country on shipments of plants and the likes as the country continues to build.
Meanwhile two other resident butterfly species are known to have reached the UAE recently with imported plants. The Western Pygmy Blue Brephidium exilis, is originally from dry southwestern North America, but is believed to have arrived in the UAE in the early 1990s. It lives on saltbushes and is now found throughout the UAE.
And the Cycad Cupid, Clades pandava, from Southeast Asia, was first noticed in 2014. It lives on landscaped cycads, a form of imported palm tree, and has been found at a number of locations in suburban Dubai.