Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Butterfly spotted after 58 years - Sighted in Arunachal Pradesh


A Howarth's Hairstreak. Picture credit: Rachit Singh
Guwahati, Jan. 1: His love for the butterfly world helped young Rachit Singh to sight Howarth's Hairstreak, a butterfly species, after 58 years at Tenga valley in Arunachal Pradesh.

Howarth's Hairstreak ( Chrysozephyrus disparatus interpositus Howarth) was rediscovered 58 years after it was first spotted in Sikkim in 1956. The sighting has been reported in the latest issue of Journal of Threatened Taxa and is authored by naturalists Sanjay Sondhi and Rachit Singh.

This record also extends the known range of this species eastward by 350km from Sikkim to western Arunachal Pradesh.

"My journey with butterflies and insects began in 2012, at Eaglenest wildlife sanctuary. I attended a camp conducted by Sondhi when I was studying in class IX. Tenga valley is an amazing place to study the microfauna and other forms of wildlife as it is right in the foothills of Eaglenest," Singh said.

"After the camp, I used to go for field trips to study the biodiversity of the area. On one of those days, I found this butterfly and was told by other experts that it should be reported. Hence, I started working on it with Sondhi," Singh told The Telegraph.

Singh was then a student of Army Public School at Tenga when he spotted the butterfly on May 21, 2014. He is now pursuing BSc (first year) in biotechnology, chemistry and zoology from Christ University, Bangalore.

The butterfly was seen three times around a particular area along the forest streams in May 2014. The first sighting was on May 21, 2014 at 10am; the second sighting was on the next day.

"The butterfly prefers shaded areas and takes small, swift flights staying 2-3 metres above the ground. While perched on leaves, it moves the hind wing to create an illusion of moving antennae using the tail, he said.

Tenga valley is part of Tenga reserve forest at the northern edge of the Eaglenest wildlife sanctuary and Sessa orchid wildlife sanctuary in western Arunachal Pradesh.

The specific locality where the species was sighted is Tseringpam village in Tenga valley at 1,626 metres and covered with thick green sub-tropical forest.

The area is rich with variety of seasonal shrubs alongside the stream that flows through the valley, with a gradual fall in altitude.

The wet patches along the forest form good mud-puddling grounds. The area is free of human disturbances and agriculture.

Surveys in western Arunachal Pradesh landscape have resulted in the addition of several butterfly species that are new to India, including Gonepteryx amintha tibetana, Bhutanitis ludlowi and several butterfly rediscoveries and range extensions, including Calinaga aborica.

Original News on The Telegraph

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