23rd May 2022

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The Spialia zebra butterfly

A winged “Pakistani” became the 1328th Indian of his kind around the time another winged creature from China gained similar status. Both were recorded by citizen scientists, non-professionals who contribute to scientific research and data collection, for the first time in the country, more than 1,100 km from their known ranges.

  • The Spialia zebra butterfly was found in the Dungarpur district of Rajasthan, miles south of its known home which comprises Pakistani-occupied Kashmir, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and the Punjab province of Pakistan.
  • The dragonfly Atratothemis reelsi has been reported in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in southern Arunachal Pradesh, about 1,170 km west of its previously known closest locality, Xiaoqikong Park, in China’s Guizhou province.
  • The sighting of the two insects was published in the latest issue of Bionotes, a quarterly research bulletin on life forms.

“The zebra pattern or Spialia zebra has added to the richness of the Rajasthan orchid belt that comprises the Phulwari ki Nal Wildlife Sanctuary and the Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary,”

Mukesh Panwar of Sagwara in the district of Dungarpur told.
  • He collected a specimen of the zebra pattern and provided photographs to the Bhimtal Butterfly Research Center in Uttarakhand to register it as the first of its kind in the country.

“India now has 1,328 species of butterflies. The zebra pattern is difficult to observe as it is quite small and flies quickly above the ground, ”

said Peter Smetacek of the Bhimtal center.
  • In Pakistan, the butterfly has been observed in areas where plants need very little water and in cultivated areas in lowlands or arid foothills.

“Error bonus”

  • Minom Pertin, Roshan Upadhaya, Tajum Yomcha and Arajush Payra embarked on a butterfly-watching trip on May 19 along the Miao-Vijaynagar highway through the Namdapha tiger reserve in Changlang district, Arunachal Pradesh.
  • They ended up recording a dragonfly that represents the westernmost range of its species and joins the indigenous Odonata fauna.
  • Odonata is an order of predatory insects that includes dragonflies and damselflies.

“It was an additional discovery, never before recorded in the eastern Himalayas. This bodes well for the biodiversity of this region, ”

said Mr. Pertin.
  • The quartet’s discovery was reviewed by Parag Rangnekar, a Goa-based entomologist who specializes in butterflies and dragonflies.
  • Atratothemis reelsi was found to resemble other blackish dragonflies, one of which was confined to Australia. His genital section distinguishes him from the rest.
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