Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Palmking butterfly sighted

The Palmking butterfly

The Palmking butterfly, a variety rarely found in India, has been sighted at the Shenduruny wildlife sanctuary by a group of lepidopterists who had gathered there for the Western Ghats Butterfly India Meet during the first week of June.

The meet was jointly organised by the nature groups Warblers and Waders and the Butterfly India Group.

The male butterfly was sighted on the morning of June 2 in the Kattilappara area of the sanctuary and was seen resting on a marshy patch of land full of reeds. Lepidopterist C. Susanth, who led the group, told The-Hindu that the but terfly lovers spent more than an hour observing and photographing the Palmking.

“This is the third sighting of the Palmking in India. It was in the year 2000 that this butterfly was seen at Palode by B.V. Premkrishnan, member of the Warblers and Waders. Then it was sighted at Shenduruny in 2002. All these three sightings were of a male butterfly. It is very difficult to spot this shy butterfly. It was almost like a miracle. I was present during all three sightings,” he said. The Palmking is endemic to Southeast Asia and breeds in palm trees.

Other species

Warblers and Waders are preparing to carry out further studies in different parts of Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts to try and find out whether the Palmking is present in any other location.

In all, the lepidopterists were able to spot 85 species of butterflies during their stay at Shenduruny.

These include the Cruiser, Dark Wanderer, Black-vein Sergeant, Red Spot Duke, Southern Duffer, Tri-colour Pied Flat, Orange Awl, Autumn Leaf, Tamil Oakblue and the Aberrant Oakblue.



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