The UAE’s animal kingdom just grew after the discovery of two new species

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A Mottled Emigrant, Catopsilia pyranthe, which is a medium-sized, pale yellow butterfly common in India, which looks like a leaf when perched in vegetation. (Binish Roobas/WAM)
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The Tiny Grass Blue, Zizula hylax, a very small butterfly from the African and Asian tropics. (Binish Roobas/WAM)
Updated 15 January 2018

The UAE’s animal kingdom just grew after the discovery of two new species

DUBAI: The number of wildlife recorded living in the UAE just grew again, following the discovery of two species of butterflies not previously found in the country, state news agency WAM reported.
There are now known to be 57 species of the insects according to naturalists who preparing a comprehensive list of UAE butterflies.
A Mottled Emigrant, Catopsilia pyranthe, which is a medium-sized, pale yellow butterfly common in India, which looks like a leaf when perched in vegetation, was found on Al Noor Island, a leisure venue in Khalid Lagoon, Sharjah, where its entire life cycle has been photographed.
The second species to be found was the Tiny Grass Blue, Zizula hylax, a very small butterfly from the African and Asian tropics. This was found in a residential area of Dubai.
It is thought the butterflies arrived in the UAE with imports of the plants on which they were found, which are very common in public and commercial properties.
Both species have been associated with particular imported ornamental plants on which they lay their eggs in their native homes and on which their caterpillars develop.
However it is possible, experts believe that the Tiny Grass Blue might have expanded its range northward from Oman along with the continued greening of the UAE, or as a result of climate change.
It is not known how long either species has been present in the UAE, as they look similar to others that are native to the country, the report added.
It is not uncommon for new species of creatures to be discovered in the UAE, over the years there have been red back spiders spotted in residential areas of Dubai, the Mynah bird – now a common bird throughout the country is originally from Asia, and Indian house crows have been spotted in Abu Dhabi.
There are also a number of rodents that are thought to have been introduced to the country on shipments of plants and the likes as the country continues to build.
Meanwhile two other resident butterfly species are known to have reached the UAE recently with imported plants. The Western Pygmy Blue Brephidium exilis, is originally from dry southwestern North America, but is believed to have arrived in the UAE in the early 1990s. It lives on saltbushes and is now found throughout the UAE.
And the Cycad Cupid, Clades pandava, from Southeast Asia, was first noticed in 2014. It lives on landscaped cycads, a form of imported palm tree, and has been found at a number of locations in suburban Dubai.


Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

Updated 19 October 2019

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

  • Jane Fonda plans to get arrested every Friday to advocate for urgent reduction in the use of fossil fuels
  • Getting arrested in 2019, poses some entirely new challenges: Fonda

WASHINGTON: Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she’s returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.
Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters was arrested Friday at the US Capitol on charges of unlawful demonstration by what she called “extremely nice and professional” police. Fellow actor Sam Waterston was also in the group, which included many older demonstrators.
Now 81, Fonda said she plans to get arrested every Friday to advocate for urgent reduction in the use of fossil fuels. She hopes to encourage other older people to protest as well.
Getting arrested in 2019, poses some entirely new challenges, Fonda told The Associated Press in an interview.
These days, “they use white plastic things on your wrists instead of metal handcuffs, and that hurts more,” she said.
“The only problem for me is I’m old,” Fonda said. After her first arrest last week, she had trouble getting into the police vehicle because she was handcuffed behind her back and “had nothing to hang on to.”
On Friday, Fonda emerged from a cluster of officers and stepped smartly into the police wagon, her hands cuffed in front of her.
“Thanks, Jane!” some of the protesters called out.
“What would you tell President Trump?” someone in the crowd yelled to her earlier, as she and other protesters stood on their platform in front of the Capitol.
“I wouldn’t waste my breath,” she shouted back, drawing laughter.
The rally drew at least a couple of hundred people, young and old.
While Fonda has taken part in many climate demonstrations, she said Greta Thunberg’s mobilization of international student strikes and other activism, along with the climate writing of author Naomi Klein, prompted her to return to courting arrests for a cause.
Fonda cannot remember precisely which cause led to her last arrest in the 1970s.
She said her target audience now is people like her who try to cut their plastic use and drive fuel-efficient cars, for instance, but otherwise “don’t know what to do and they feel helpless,” she said. “We’re trying to encourage people to become more active, across the age spectrum.”
Especially in the US, young people appear to be driving many of the protests and rallies demanding government action on climate change, University of Maryland sociologist Dana Fisher said.
Nearly half of the people who turned out for a September climate protest in Washington were college age or younger, and a quarter were 17 or younger, for instance, Fisher said. Most were female.
On the other hand, it was older, white females who turned out for earlier protests during the Trump administration, like the women’s marches, Fisher noted.
“There’s a whole group of very activated, middle-age white women. They woke up after the election, and they haven’t gone back to bed,” Fisher said.
So far, those people have not been involved in the youth climate movement. Fonda’s efforts could “get them out there,” Fisher said.
If her efforts misfire, Fisher added, the older people risk making the movement look uncool.
Asked how she would answer any young climate activist who complained of being co-opted, Fonda said, “I would hug them.”
And she did just that with some of the teenagers and other young activists she invited up to the stage to speak.
“It’s a good thing that Jane is doing, to try to shift the paradigm so it’s not just falling on young people” to rally the public on fossil fuel emissions, said Joe Markus, a 19-year-old Washington-area student attending Friday’s protest.
Leslie Wharton, 63, from Bethesda, Maryland, sat out the Vietnam War protests that drew out Fonda. She came out Friday as part of a group calling itself Elders Climate Action.
Lots of people of all ages are worried about climate change and want to do something, Wharton said, but “us elders are retired or part-time. We can take the time.”