CARL ZIMMER “Nabokov Butterfly Theory Is Vindicated” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/science/01butterfly.html
『ロリータ』や『青白い炎』で知られる作家ウラディミール・ナボコフ*1は実は昆虫学者、特に蝶の研究家でもあり、1940年代にはハーヴァード大学比較動物学博物館の鱗翅目（lepidoptera）担当の学藝員を務め、米国全土で昆虫を採集していた。ナボコフは特にPolyommatus bluesと呼ばれる一群の蝶に興味を持ち、主にその生殖器の差異の観察に基づき、Polyommatus bluesが亜細亜に端を発し、数百万年かけて、ベーリング海峡からアメリカ大陸に渡りさらに段々と南下し、新大陸最南端のチリに行き着いたという仮説を提示した論文を1945年に発表した。生物学の世界で彼の仮説はずっと忘れ去られたままだったが、1990年代以降、ナボコフの仮説を再検討し・実証しようとする動きが出てきた。最近、ハーヴァードのNaomi Pierceらは、遺伝子分析を使って、Polyommatus bluesの旧大陸から新大陸への移住に関するナボコフの仮説がほぼ正しいことを実証した。
Nabokov inherited his passion for butterflies from his parents. When his father was imprisoned by the Russian authorities for his political activities, the 8-year-old Vladimir brought a butterfly to his cell as a gift. As a teenager, Nabokov went on butterfly-hunting expeditions and carefully described the specimens he caught, imitating the scientific journals he read in his spare time. Had it not been for the Russian Revolution, which forced his family into exile in 1919, Nabokov said that he might have become a full-time lepidopterist.
In his European exile, Nabokov visited butterfly collections in museums. He used the proceeds of his second novel, “King, Queen, Knave,” to finance an expedition to the Pyrenees, where he and his wife, Vera, netted over a hundred species. The rise of the Nazis drove Nabokov into exile once more in 1941, this time to the United States. It was there that Nabokov found his greatest fame as a novelist. It was also there that he delved deepest into the science of butterflies.
Nabokov spent much of the 1940s dissecting a confusing group of species called Polyommatus blues. He developed forward thinking ways to classify the butterflies based on differences in their genitalia. He argued that what were thought to be closely related species were actually only distantly related.
At the end of a 1945 paper on the group, he mused on how they had evolved. He speculated that they originated in Asia, moved over the Bering Strait, and moved south all the way to Chile.