GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- An online auction for naming rights to a new owl butterfly species discovered at the University of Florida brought a winning bid of $40,800, with proceeds benefiting continued research on Mexican butterflies.
Florida Museum of Natural History researchers George Austin and Andrew Warren discovered the new butterfly from Mexicos Sonoran Desert earlier this year, and describe it in this weeks issue of the Bulletin of the Allyn Museum, a peer-reviewed journal produced by the Florida Museums McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity.
The species new common name is the Minerva owl butterfly and its scientific name is Opsiphanes blythekitzmillerae, named in honor of Margery Minerva Blythe Kitzmiller of Ohio on behalf of her five grandchildren. The donor wishes to remain anonymous.
We are extremely appreciative of this gift which will allow us to continue research with our colleagues in Mexico, said Warren, a post-doctoral associate at the McGuire Center. Over the next two years we plan to name several additional new species of Mexican butterflies and conduct fieldwork in poorly known and threatened habitats throughout the country.
Margery Minerva Blythe was born Nov. 17, 1883, in Malvern, Ohio, and died March 10, 1972. She married Frank Kitzmiller on Sept. 7, 1904, in Cleveland and they lived in Pittsburgh, Pa. They had three sons, all of whom fought in World War II.
She was known as Minerva, or Bango to her grandchildren, said Florida Museum Development Director Beverly Sensbach. She was an extremely creative person who wrote poetry, played piano and sang, and her grandchildren wanted to honor her by naming this beautiful new butterfly in her memory.
The public auction by iGavel.com ended Nov. 2 and is believed to be the first time naming rights for a new butterfly species have been auctioned online in North America.
The discovery of this n
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