World butterfly expert visits Tasmania

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A leading international nature writer and butterfly expert has fulfilled a dream by visiting Tasmania.

Dr Robert Michael Pyle is a conservation biologist who says he has wanted to visit Tasmania as long as he has known it existed.

“It will be a wonderful place to study insects. The butterflies there, like others in parts of the US, have adapted to rainfall and a quite stressful climate,” he told the Mercury.

He said Tasmania’s 50 to 60 butterfly species are very interesting and also mentioned the several species of butterflies that are now extinct in the island state, including the spectacular Xerces Blue.

The Yale-trained ecologist from Colorado recently delivered a free talk at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which Writer’s Centre director Chris Gallagher described as a “special opportunity”.

“His work will have a natural synergy for Tasmanians, many of whom also speak and write passionately on environmental concerns,” Mr Gallagher said.

The visiting butterfly tracker said the world’s 17,500 butterfly species are important indicators of the state of our environment.

“They are conspicuous and because they are particularly dependant on plants and landscapes they give us a good clues about the diversity of the planet,” he said.

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