Biodiversity: A butterfly survey team from the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) and the Lhamoizingkha range office discovered four new butterfly species: Khasi Forest Bob (Scobura isota), Pointed Perrot (Niphanda cymbia), Brown Onyx (Horaga viola) and Ambon Onyx (Female) (Horaga Syrinx) recently.
With the new discovery, Bhutan now has 732 butterfly species recorded so far.
This discovery comes less than one and half months after a senior forester Kado Rinchen from the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park added a new rare species, Khaki Silverline (Cigaritis rukmini) from Tongtophey in Langthel on October 1.
The new species were found from Darla, Lhamoizingkha and Phuentsholing. UWICE research assistant and lepidoptorist, Karma Wangdi confirmed all the four butterflies as new recordings for Bhutan.
“I confirmed these butterflies as new records after having referred all the references available on the butterflies of Bhutan. None of the available references had these species recorded yet,” Karma Wangdi said, adding that he also confirmed it with a renowned butterfly expert from Italy.
“The newly found butterflies are from the family of Lycaenidae (blues) and Hesperiidae (skipper). With the finding of four more butterflies, Bhutan now has 177 species of Lycaenidae and 145 species of Hesperiidae,” he said.
UWICE forest officer, Chimi Tshering, Karma Wangdi and its forester Tshethup Tshering and Lhamoizingkha range office foresters Rinchen Tshewang and Nima Tshering Tamang sighted the rare Khasi Forest Bob of the Hesperiidae family from Koilatar on November 19. The same team also sighted a rare Pointed Perrot belonging to the blues family from Koilatar on the same day.
Nima Tshering Tamang also spotted another rare species of the Brown Onyx of the lycaenedae family from Nichula in Lhamoizingkha on November 12. On the same day, Karma Wangdi made a sighting of a rare Ambon Onyx, also from the lycaenidae family in Rinchendhing (Kharbandi) in Phuentsholing.
The recent survey also found 192 species of butterflies from Darla, Phuentsholing and Lhamoizingkha. “I also managed to get photographs of around five species, which were already in the checklists but had no photographic evidences,” Karma Wangdi said.
With the recent discovery, six new species of butterflies were discovered this year including the sighting of a Pale Green Awlet (Burara gomata) in October 2015 after Karma Wangdi confirmed it as a new finding in March.
Meanwhile, the institute also reported last year that it is, in correspondence with an international lepidotorist, trying to verify and examine five probable butterfly sub-species.
The probable butterfly sub-species are the Bhutan Mountain Hopper (Carterocephalus), Common Birdwing (Troides helena), Nepal Comma (Polygonia agnicula), Mountain Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and Pieris erutae.
A division of species of plants or animals considered lower than the species distinguished genetically from other such similar species is called a sub-species.