A new species of scorpion discovered on Western Australia’s Barrow Island has been named in honour of renowned conservationist Dr Harry Butler.
The Urodacus butleri is unusually dark in colour and believed to be native to the Island off the State’s North-West, and small parts of the mainland Pilbara bioregion.
The species was discovered as a result of fieldwork during a revision of the Australian scorpion population by Dr Erich Volschenk from Phoenix Environmental Sciences, Dr Lorenzo Prendini from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and Dr Mark Harvey from the Western Australian Museum.
Dr Harvey, the WA Museum’s Head of Terrestrial Zoology, said Dr Butler has worked on the fauna of Barrow Island since 1964 and was an obvious choice when naming the species.
“Harry was a particular hero of (co-writer) Erich’s, his television programs were a great inspiration and contributed to his fascination with natural history - a sentiment I am sure is shared by many locally and internationally,” Dr Harvey said.
Western Australian Museum Chief Executive Officer Alec Coles presented Dr Butler with a framed photograph of the unique species at a WA Museum event in Karratha on July 25.
Dr Butler was in Karratha to present, ‘Museum collectors and carers: one collector’s story’ as part of the In the Wild West lecture series at the Tambrey Tavern and Function Centre.
A copy of the publication describing the Urodacus butleri can be freely downloaded from the American Museum of Natural History website: digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/handle/2246/6181