Rare White Tufted Royal Butterfly found in Kannur

The species had earlier been spotted in Agasthyakoodam in 2017 and Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in 2018

Updated - January 11, 2023 09:29 pm IST

Published - January 11, 2023 09:23 pm IST - KANNUR

White Tufted Royal Butterfly

White Tufted Royal Butterfly

A team of butterfly observers and researchers have found White Tufted Royal Butterfly, a rare butterfly species at Kalliyad in Kannur.

According to researcher and butterfly observer V.C. Balakrishnan, the butterfly is protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The species had been spotted in Agasthyakoodam in 2017 and the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in 2018.

He said the finding of the butterfly indicated the rich fauna and flora of Kalliyad the place. Mr. Balakrishnan leads a group named ‘Walk with VC’, which has over 100 members. The team observes various species to make a checklist, document, and study biodiversity.

He said White Tufted Royal Butterfly was a rare species, and it was photographed by A.V. Unnikrishnan, a retired teacher. However, the species was identified by another member, P.K. Girish Mohan, who collected the egg and reared the butterfly.

The wingspan of the butterfly is just 32-40 mm. Its larvae feed on Scurrula parasitica, a plant belonging to the Loranthaceae family.

Mr. Mohan said there were eight species of the butterfly. While two are common, the others are rare.

“Since we were able to get the egg, the life cycle of the butterfly could be documented. It was only photographed in other parts of Kerala, and there had not been much research on its life cycle,” he said, adding that the finding was unique.

Mr. Mohan further said there were many unregulated laterite and granite quarries operating in Kalliyad. The survival of such rare species is under severe threat, and steps should be taken to protect the hills, he said.

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