Sunday, March 15, 2015

New butterfly species spotted in West Bengal

In a significant addition to the butterfly species in India, wildlife enthusiasts have found the Malayan Green Banded Peacock (Papilio palinurus), a beautiful specimen found in South East Asia, for the first time in India.

The butterfly with a dusty green base having a bluish green band spread over both wings in the shape of an arc is found in southern Myanmar and peninsular Thailand south-eastward into Borneo and the Philippines.

“We have spotted it at Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas on a few occasions but were unable to confirm because it could not be photographed. Finally, after taking photographs and confirmation by experts, we can now safely declare that we have a new species from India,” Arjan Basu Roy, secretary of Nature Mates-Nature Club, told The Hindu.

The record of the newly found butterfly has been published by Arjan Basu Roy, Subhankar Patra and Krushnamegh Kunte on the website

In 2004, the butterfly was also recorded from Bangladesh by eminent lepidopterist T. Larsen. The sanctuary where the butterfly has been recorded has about 80 species of the butterflies, according to a recent survey. Referred to as the “flagship species,” butterflies are not only pollinators of flowering plants, but also useful in monitoring environmental changes.

While there are about 600 known species of butterflies in West Bengal, India is home to about 1,500 species of butterflies. With this new find, there has been an addition to different peacock butterflies which are characterised by their powdery green pigments. West Bengal is probably the only State which is home to a wide variety of peacock butterflies such as the rare Krishna Peacock, Blue Peacock, the relatively common Paris Peacock, Common Peacock and Common Banded Peacock. The only other Peacock butterfly found in the country is Buddha Peacock or Malabar Banded Peacock, which is endemic to south India.

Species page on Butterflies of India