One-in-200,000 black rice paper butterfly discovered in southern part of Okinawa Island
November 3, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
A black variety of Japan’s largest butterfly, the rice paper butterfly, has been discovered. The black specimen emerged from a chrysalis being observed by a member of the Fly Butterflies Around Shurijo Castle Association. Even though a black specimen generally only appears once in every 100,000 to 200,000 rice paper butterflies, or once every 20 to 30 years, this association has logged this as the second appearance since 2013. Head of the association Yasuhiro Oshiro said that it is extremely rare for such an appearance to be logged again in such a short period of time.
Hiroko Kinjo, vice-head of the Fly Butterflies Around Shurijo Castle Association, found the chrysalis at a home in Haebaru Town and brought it back to her own house to observe it. Kinjo took notice when the butterfly emerged in the early morning on October 14. The butterfly’s wings were predominantly black with white markings near the base of the wings, and some black spotting on white coloring characteristic of a standard rice paper butterfly still remaining. Looking back on the moment, Kinjo said she was truly astonished.
Oshiro said that when the black specimen was discovered in 2013, it was bred with the butterflies with standard coloration. Since then the Fly Butterflies Around Shurijo Castle Association has raised three generations of caterpillars, but no black variety of the butterfly appeared. On this and the last occasion, the black butterfly was female. Oshiro mentioned that the all of the caterpillars resulting from the breeding of the last generation in which the black specimen appeared became ill and died. He says he hopes after three more generations of breeding the association can log another appearance of a black rice paper butterfly.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)
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