Bengaluru biologists spot new butterfly species in coorg

News excerpt:

The newly discovered Conjoined Silverline butterfly (Cigaritis conjuncta)  is characterized by fused spots and bands on its wing undersides, along with central shiny silver lines, contributing to its unique classification.

About the new species: 

  • This species was fIrst seen in the Brahmgiri wildlife sanctuary in 2008.
  • This is the first new butterfly species reported from the western ghats in the last four decades. 
  • Measuring only the size of a one-rupee coin, this species holds great conservation value as it is exclusive to the mid-elevation evergreen forests of the Western Ghats mountains.
  • The two sites where they have been located are at an elevation of 900 meters (Iruppu Falls) and 1,300 meters (Honey Valley).

Why butterflies matter?

  • Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems. 
  • They indicate a wide range of other invertebrates, which comprise over two-thirds of all species. 
  • Areas rich in butterflies and moths are rich in other invertebrates.
  • Butterflies and moths play a crucial role in ecosystems by providing environmental benefits like pollination and natural pest control. 
  • They are integral to the food chain, serving as prey for birds and other insectivores. 
  • Additionally, they support various predators and parasites, often specific to certain species or groups. 
  • Ecologists use butterflies as model organisms to study the effects of habitat loss, fragmentation, and climate change.
  • Butterflies are flagship species for conservation in general, and in particular for invertebrates.

Characteristics of the Conjoined Silverline butterfly:

  • These butterflies are active on sunny days from early in the morning to afternoon. 
  • Both genders rest on shrubbery, with certain males choosing vantage points elevated nearly 3 meters above the ground.
  • The males bask with wings opened up halfway, and females also apparently do so, similar to other Cigaritis species. 
  • Males appear to be more active in sunny patches, and therefore more readily detached, compared with females.

Book A Free Counseling Session