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Indian Researchers Have Found a New Species of Butterfly in Western Ghats

Representative photo

Representative photo

It is the first time that a butterfly species was discovered by an all-Indian research team from the Western Ghats.

Researchers have discovered a new species of butterflies namely - sinhala ramaswamii sadasivan 2021 - adding to the expanding list of butterflies in India. The new taxon of Lycaenid butterfly belonging to the Nacaduba genus was discovered by researchers in the Agasthyamalais in the Western Ghats a decade ago. The discovery by the team of researchers has now found a place in the Journal of Threatened Taxa, an open access and print, peer-reviewed, monthly, international journal on conservation and taxonomy.

According to The Hindu, it is the first time that a butterfly species was discovered by an all-Indian research team from the Western Ghats.

The new species of butterflies was sighted by a team of lepidopterists comprising Dr. Kalesh Sadasivan and Baiju K from Travancore Nature History Society, Ramasamy Naicker from Theni and Rahul Khot of the Bombay Natural History Society.

The discovery has been added to the new species to India’s butterfly fauna belonging to the Western Ghats, internationally recognized as a region of immense global importance for the conservation of biological diversity, besides containing areas of high geological, cultural and aesthetic values.

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The name of the butterfly species was suggested as Ramaswami’s Six Line blue and ‘Ceylon Varayanneeli’.

Line Blues are small butterflies belonging to the subfamily Lycaenidae. In 2011, two-line blue butterflies were photographed fromAgasthyamalais. These individuals were paler in colour in comparison to the other Line blues. Similar pale-colored individuals were also observed and photographed later in January 2018 and Thenkasi in Tamil Nadu in 2018.

The butterfly species have hairy eyes, anastomosis of veins 11 and 12 on forewings, male wings with purple gloss on the upperside and underside of both sexes with dull whitish stripes.

The newly discovered butterflies’ distribution ranges from India and Sri Lanka to the whole of southeastern Asia, Australia and Samoa. Signifying the connections across the sea to Sri Lanka, the new butterfly species has been named after Hindu God Lord Rama.

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first published:April 12, 2021, 17:30 IST