Monday, December 06, 2010

Milne Bay butterfly habitats unspoiled says British scientist

There are plenty of healthy habitats for butterflies and other creatures on Milne Bay povince’s Calvados Chain of Islands which are largely unspoiled, says a British entomologist and Pacific butterfly specialist. John Tennent, a scientific associate at the Natural History Museum in London, said his research had identified several species not previously recorded from Milne Bay as well as a significant number of butterfly species and subspecies not known to science.

British entomologist and Pacific butterfly specialist John Tennent
He has just returned from several weeks touring Milne Bay’s eastern Louisiades islands and is on his way back to England to stat the real work of sorting, identifying and publishing.
“Small dots on the map do not do the islands justice.
"The rugged islands of some of the Calvados Chain are stunning and there is a lot of healthy habitat out there which, because of the difficult terrain, has remained largely untouched,” he said.
“The data obtained during this research will be of critical value to researchers in other disciplines including biogeographers.
“The final results will include a comprehensive book on the 250 or so butterflies of Milne Bay Province islands.”
British High Commissioner to PNG, Jackie Barson, said the publishing of a book on Milne Bay’s butterflies would be an asset to the province and add to the growing data which confirms PNG as a mega biodiversity hotspot.
“I congratulate Mr Tennent on completing his research in the islands of Milne Bay.
“While this has undoubtedly been challenging, collaboration with other organizations such as Conservation International and the PNG Binatang Research Centre has helped make his work a lot easier,” she added.
Mr Tennent has been in Milne Bay Province since April 2010 carrying out a survey of the islands’ butterflies and has visited 76islands in the Province, and recorded butterflies on 74 of them.
He expects to spend most of his time in the coming year working on the specimens and the data collected during his time here, before returning to Milne Bay to tidy up loose ends early in 2012.
On many islands he has worked closely with the staff of Conservation International, an organisation for which he has nothing but praise.
He has also provided assistance in identifying butterflies to the PNG Binatang Research Centre in Madang.

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