Friday, August 01, 2008

New butterfly species discovered

C.K. Chandramohan

DEHRA DUN: A new butterfly species named “Garhwal Six Ring” is claimed to have been discovered in the forests of the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand by Arun Pratap Singh of the Forest Research Institute here.

The scientific name of the species is Ypthima kedarnathensis.

According to Dr. Arun Pratap Singh, initial observations indicate that the species is a rare one with a small population and distribution and more research is required to ascertain its exact status, ecological needs and characteristics.

This is said to be the first discovery of a butterfly species in several decades.

Long ago the British did pioneering research on butterflies in the western Himalayan region and discovered and described most of the species.

The forest where the Garhwal Six Ring has been discovered is regarded as the bio-diversity hot spot of Garhwal Himalayas. More than 450 species of plants are found here.

During the latest survey, 140 species of butterflies and 260 species of birds including the rare Satyr Tragopan were recorded at the sanctuary, Dr. Singh said.

Rare sightings

The sightings also include a rare butterfly species, the Brown Gorgon, and a bird, the White-tailed Blue Robin, known to be found till now from North-East India to South-East Asia.

The presence of north-eastern fauna in the forests near Mandal village, besides high bio-diversity, points to its being a “unique habitat” in the western Himalayan region that needs to be conserved.


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