Work on the next REGUA field guide, Observation Guide to the Butterflies of the Serra dos Órgãos, is progressing at good pace, and with it lots of new knowledge about the local butterfly fauna, together with some novelties, new records from guests, volunteers and visitor’s photographs have been consistently pouring in.
One notable rarity was found by Duncan McGeough, a volunteer from Germany in October 2013, just 30 metres from the REGUA office. Ortilia polinella (A. Hall, 1928), a crescent butterfly, is a cousin of the Glanville FritillaryMelitaea cinxia from Europe. Known from less than a half-dozen localities in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, and also very seldom found in collections (only three females and six males in the Natural History Museum, London) this was a superb find!
Adults are mainly forest species that dwell in sunlit areas like trails, clearings, forest edges, etc. It’s biology is unknown, but other species in the genus use Justiciaspp. as foodplants (Acanthaceae). The photo depicts a worn female sun basking, probably in between short exploratory flights to find a suitable plant for ovipositing.
Duncan has also helped with the creation of the REGUA moth leaflet that guests can pick up at the lodge, featuring 60 common moths easily spotted in the moth wall.
Further information about Ortilia polinella can be found here:
One of REGUA’s objectives is to encourage a wider interest and knowledge of the incredible biodiversity of the Serra dos Orgaos. REGUA has already published three books covering Hawkmoths (2011), Dragonflies and Damselflies (2015) and Birds (2015).
Now Jorge Bizarro and Alan Martin are working on a 4th book covering the Butterflies of the Serra dos Órgãos. This is a mammoth task and will cover about 500 species, of which we have so far written the text for Papilionidae (28 species), Pieridae (36 species) and are now working on Riodinidae.
Each species text will include a description, notes on similar species, distribution and ecology plus of course photographs where available. An example is shown below.
We are still missing good photographs of many of the species that will be covered in the book, so we would welcome any photographs of butterflies taken at or near REGUA which should be sent to Alan Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org. It may take another year to complete the texts, so there is still plenty of opportunity to take those pictures, and of course every picture will be acknowledged if used.
In the recently published field guide on the odonata of REGUA, A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos, the scientific name of the Blue-wedged Dancer is given as Argia claussenii. Rosser Garrison pointed out that this in fact is A. croceipennis, therefore we have amended our odonata list. We are indebted to Rosser for sharing drawings and scans of both species with us that support his view.
The appendages of these two species are quite similar and there are also considerable similarities in colour pattern. However, under the microscope the difference in the shape of the cerci (placement of ventral tooth) can be clearly seen.
In the field there are luckily also a few differences that help identify the species. Argia claussenii has clear wings, whereas those of A. croceipennis are amber colored, and A. claussenii has an occipital bar, whereas A. croceipennis does not. These characteristics are very much in line with the species occurring in fast flowing and rocky streams in the foothills of REGUA. Below are examples of both species, kindly made available by Rosser.
The field guide A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos, South-eastern Brazil is available for sale at the lodge and online. See the publications page for details.
Orders from other countries should be sent directly to Tom Kompier at email@example.com. Copies will also be available from the REGUA stand at the British Birdfair on 21st – 23rd August at Rutland.
Tom Kompier’s excellent new book A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos is now available in the UK from Alan Martin. This book describes all 204 species known from the REGUA area and is illustrated with 560 photos.
Please send a cheque for £30.50 which includes postage and packing, made out to the ‘Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust’ with your name and address to Alan at Alureds Oast, Northiam, East Sussex TN31 6JJ.
With 204 species of dragonfly and damselfy now identified at REGUA, the Reserve is a strong contender for having the highest odonata diversity of any site on Earth.
In the spring issue of Dragonfly News, the magazine of the British Dragonfly Society, Dave Smallshire writes about the highlights of a recent dragonfly tour to REGUA that saw the group finding 42 species at the wetland in the first three hours on their first day, and an amazing 166 species during the two week trip, including several rarities!
Dragonfly News is available in the UK to British Dragonfly Society members. Details on how to join and get a hold of the article can be found on their website.
We are thrilled to be able to announce the imminent publication of our new REGUA publications book A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos.
The book has been written by Tom Kompier and describes all of the 204 known species from REGUA and its surroundings. Illustrated with 560 photos and an additional 125 plates, we think this is a milestone in the study and observation of this stunning group of insects.
Publication is due in April. For pre-orders or additional information, please contact Tom Kompier directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Land Trust council member and The Times columnist, Simon Barnes, describes his recent visit to REGUA in a piece in The Times this week – It’s not Rio but it is a carnival of the animals. Download
In August 2007, Peter Hughes from the British newspaper the Telegraph visited REGUA to find out more about the project and to see for himself all the hard work we are doing. To read the article, Reassembling Eden, click here.
Simon Barnes from the Times and John Burton from the World Land Trust visited REGUA to report on something positive happening to rainforest. To read the article Good news from the forest by Simon Barnes click here.