Thiruvananthapuram

Rare butterfly species found

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Garhwal Large Branded Five-ring, a rare butterfly species, was rediscovered in the Himalayas over five decades after it was initially recorded.

The species, scientifically known as Ypthima hannyngtoni Eliot, was recorded and photographed by nature conservationist and wildlife photographer Kalesh Sadasivan of the Thiruvananthapuram-based Travancore Nature History Society from Dehradun in June 2018 while on a butterfly walk to the Western Himalayas.

“It had been initially described by noted English entomologist J.N. Eliot in 1967 in the scientific paper The Sakra Moore, 1857 Section of the Satyrid Genus Ypthima Hübner, which appeared in the famous journal Entomologist. Since its original description, the species was never spotted or photographed,” Dr. Sadasivan said.

The identification was confirmed recently by subject expert Krushnamegh Kunte of National Centre For Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru. In an e-mail, he was quoted as saying,

“These are the first images of the species from India as far as I know. I have been looking for this species for a long time.”

According to Dr. Sadasivam, the species appeared to be a rare one and was possibly confined to the mid-lower elevations of the Western Himalayas. “Nothing is known about the early stages of its natural history,” he said.

Uploaded

The images were compared with the Type specimens in the London Museum of Natural History (BMNH) for confirmation of identity.

The species images have been uploaded in the peer-reviewed site on Indian Butterflies www.ifoundbutterflies.org/ ifoundbutterflies.

This discovery implied that lepidopteran diversity of Western Himalayas called for a more dedicated study.

Further species were likely to be found with scientifically structured butterfly surveys, Dr. Sadasivan said.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2019 2:42:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/rare-butterfly-species-rediscovered-after-5-decades/article26224900.ece

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