Itanagar, July 12: A new species of small butterfly species known as 'Banded Tit' (Hypolycaena Narada) was discovered within the green forests of the Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh by Dr. Yogesh IFS, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife and Biodiversity), Department of Environment & Forests, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
“This discovery underscores the unparalleled biodiversity of the state.” he remarked. The discovery of the Banded Tit raises the possibility that many more species that are new to science still remain to be discovered in the remote mountain ranges and forests of the state and as such the North-Eastern India as a whole.
The Banded Tit is a denizen of low-lying evergreen forests of Changlang. It has an interesting life cycle. The adult butterflies live only for approximately two weeks in March every year, presumably spending a large part of the remaining year in a dormant state in larval or pupal stages, which are still unknown, news agency The Arunachal Times reported.
The butterflies feed primarily on bird-droppings along cool streams in the forests. Even if the butterfly has now been described and named, much of its biology is still a mystery.
For instance, its larval host plants, breeding behaviour and precise habitat requirements are unknown, although such information may help ensure the long-term survival of this species in the rapidly changing, human-dominated landscape.
The Banded Tit was recently described in a research paper by Dr. Krushnamegh Kunte, a research scientist and faculty member at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru.
It is a pleasant surprise to find new butterfly species in India, whose butterfly fauna is widely believed to be well-documented. However, Arunachal Pradesh is a land of rich mega-biodiversity.
A new butterfly species called the Bright-eyed Argus (Callerebia dibangensis) was last discovered here a few years ago.