Kaiser-i-Hind is Arunachal’s State butterfly

The insect with a 90-120 mm wingspan is found in the eastern Himalayas.

November 14, 2021 12:21 pm | Updated 10:47 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Kaiser-i-Hind (Teinopalpus imperialis) literally means Emperor of India. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kaiser-i-Hind (Teinopalpus imperialis) literally means Emperor of India. Photo: Special Arrangement

An elusive swallowtail butterfly carrying ‘India’ in its name and found in next-door China will become the State butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.

The State Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday approved the large, brightly coloured Kaiser-i-Hind as the State butterfly. The Cabinet meeting was for the first time held outside State capital Itanagar at an unusual location — Pakke Tiger Reserve.

The Cabinet also adopted the Pakke Tiger Reserve 2047 declaration on climate change-resilient and responsive Arunachal Pradesh aimed at lowering emissions and sustainable development.

Kaiser-i-Hind ( Teinopalpus imperialis ) literally means Emperor of India. This butterfly with a 90-120 mm wingspan is found in six States along the Eastern Himalayas at elevations from 6,000-10,000 feet in well-wooded terrain.

The butterfly also flutters in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and southern China.

Saving the species

The State Wildlife Board had in January 2020 accepted the proposal from Koj Rinya, the divisional forest officer of Hapoli Forest Division in the Lower Subansiri district to accept the Kaiser-i-Hind as the State butterfly. The proposal was made with a view to boosting butterfly tourism and saving the species from extinction in the State.

Protected areas under the Hapoli Forest Division are popular with butterfly enthusiasts. Although the Kaiser-i-Hind is protected under Schedule II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, it is hunted for supply to butterfly collectors.

According to Assam-based butterfly expert Monsoon Jyoti Gogoi, the species is confined to very few pockets of Arunachal Pradesh and could become extinct if not conserved. “The State butterfly tag can translate into its habitat conservation,” she said.

The first dead specimen of Kaiser-i-Hind was recorded in Sikkim by Usha Lachugpa, a senior forest official of the State, in 2012. It was captured live on camera by a few participants during a butterfly watching meet in Arunachal Pradesh’s Talle Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014.

An International Union for Conservation of Nature red-listed species, the Kaiser-i-Hind usually flies at tree-top level and descends to sit on low vegetation when there is strong morning sunlight. It is in flight during April-July and lays eggs on the underside of leaves.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.