| Bhutanitis ludlowi. Picture by Pijush Dutta |
Guwahati, Nov. 14: Bhutan’s national butterfly has been found in Arunachal Pradesh.
Bhutanitis ludlowi, commonly known as Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory, was found at two places in Arunachal’s West Kameng district (east of Bhutan) — Eaglenest Widlife Sanctuary and near Sange village — in September.
The butterfly had been spotted near Sange village and at the wildlife sanctuary by Pijush Dutta on September 6 and Sujatha Padmanabhan on September 11 respectively.
“It was sheer luck for me as I had just taken a picture while going through the area. I came back and put it on Facebook when somebody told me that it was Bhutanitis ludlowi. I am delighted,” Dutta, senior landscape co-ordinator of Western Arunachal Landscape Conservation Programme, told The Telegraph.
The discovery is particularly significant because the species was rediscovered in Bhutan only in 2009, after the initial species description in 1942 based on the specimens collected in 1933-1934.
“I found it on September 6 near Sange village after crossing Dirang on way to Sela. I found it on an alnus tree at a height of 2,600 metres,” he said. The other two members who had accompanied Dutta were Jaya Upadhyay and Sanjib Shil.
Padmanabhan, who works with Kalpavriksh, an environment group, told The Telegraph: “We were a little below Lama camp when the sighting happened. When I took the photograph I did not know that it was the Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory. I am not an expert on butterflies, and it was friends who helped me identify it. So in that sense, it was a chance discovery.”
Last year in Bhutan, a picture of a dead butterfly belonging to this species was taken by Sanjay Sondhi, who works for Titli Trust. The species was believed to be endemic to the Trashiyangtse Valley in eastern Bhutan’s Trashi Yangtse.
Sondhi said the significance of the discovery lies in the fact that the butterfly, which was exclusive to Bhutan, has now been discovered in two places of Arunachal.
The Bhutan government in February this year had made Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory its national butterfly because of its uniqueness and rarity, as it is known to thrive only in small pockets of the country.
The ministry of agriculture and forests of Bhutan said: “The name (Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory) of this fabulous and magnificent butterfly not only carries the name of the country but also presents the best image of our country in the international arena. The name also is the true replica of the insect itself since it is one of the most beautiful butterflies in its utmost glory. Woven in best colour combination of black and white strips, the captivating motif on its tail-part of the wings is appealing. Hence, the national butterfly is also an ideal reflection of our beautiful country.”
“It is an addition to the Indian butterfly fauna and a stunning discovery,” said Krushnamegh Kunte, a butterfly biologist.