Tripura reports 51 new butterfly species

Mrinal Banik, Photo courtesy: Suman Bhowmik

The North Eastern state of Tripura has emerged as one of the butterfly hotspots of the country, a study done by researcher Suman Bhowmik of Wild Tripura Foundation revealed. According to the study conducted between 2015 to 2020, altogether 51 new species of butterflies were found of 21 genera that are completely new to the butterfly fauna of Tripura. The study was recently published in the coveted Revista Chilena de Entomologia peer-reviewed journal covering entomology.  

Speaking over the issue, Bhowmik said, “through this study a 20.90 percent increase has been reported in the total butterfly population. In the process, I have documented a total of 51 butterfly species belonging to 4 families, 13 subfamilies and 41 genera. These 51 species have been reported for the first time in the state considered as the new additions to the butterfly reserves of the state”. 

Explaining his study, he said, “out of these 51 new additions, 18 species are from family Hesperiidae, 12 species from family Lycaenidae, 17 species from family Nymphalidae and 4 species from family Pieridae. Out of 41 genera, 21 genera are documented for the first time in the state . A total of 35 species out of the new additions are documented from Jampui Hills, North Tripura District.” According to Suman, Jampui Hills of Tripura has emerged as one of the major butterfly hotspots for the state as sightings are made quite often there. However, he had also maintained that some of the species were completely seasonal. 

In his study, Suman listed some of the potential spots such as Jampui Hills, Panisagar, Kameshwar village of Dharmanagar, Kakrirpar village of Dharmanagar and Ganganagar tea garden.  “For butterflies to survive, host plants play a crucial role. These spots have diverse categories of host plants helping the butterflies to develop”, said Bhowmik. He had also requested to decrease deforestation which was among the major threats to the butterflies, the indicators of less pollution and healthy environment.