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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ngunu Ziro photographs new moth species

New moth species sighted in Arunachal Pradesh

PTI | 11:11 AM,Nov 15,2011

A new species of moth has been sighted in Arunachal Pradesh, bringing joy to nature lovers who noted that many moth and butterfly varieties were on the verge of extinction in India.
The moth was photographed by nature enthusiasts of Ngunu Ziro, led by Dr Tage Kano, during their field trip to Talley Valley Reserve last September.
The photograph was sent to the education officer of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Dr V Subhalaxmi, for identification. Dr Subhalaxmi identified it as Genus level, Ariff Siddiqui, a lepidopterist, who was a member of the team, said.
On consultation with the international moth experts in the British Natural History Museum and experts from Hong Kong, it was confirmed that this was indeed a new species for science, Siddiqui said.
A few years back, Bhutan Glory, a rare butterfly variety, was sighted at Ziro in Lower Subansiri district by entomologists and the new moth species, a day-flying one, possibly mimics Bhutan Glory and thus shares the same habitat.
Dr Shen-Horn Wen from Taiwan University, who has been specializing on this genus of moth, has agreed to collaborate in describing the species, Siddiqui disclosed.
There are currently an estimated 1,12,000 to 1,65, 000 listed species of butterflies and moths within 131 families on this planet.

A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly family, both belonging to the Lepidoptera order. Moths form the majority of this order and about 10 times the number of species of butterfly. Thousands of species are yet to be described. 

Most species of moths are nocturnal, but there are many day-flying moths too. India, particularly the Northeast, is a home to approximately 15,000 to 17,000 species of moths. But of late, the number of these Lepidopteron, or insects with four wings, have dwindled drastically.

Around a hundred species of the butterflies are on the verge of extinction in India.

Butterflies are almost always treated as non-target species in wildlife conservation and management programmes.

The Protected Area Network set up by the government is directed towards ?iconic? fauna like the tiger, the Asiatic lion, the elephant and the rhinoceros, Surya Prakash, a famous lepidopterist and conservationist, commented in one his recent articles.
These small, beautiful and agriculturally important creatures are often ignored. Butterflies are an indicator of environmental health. Few are aware of the crucial role the butterfly plays in pollination of a large portion of economically important crops and flowering plants, which is second only to the honeybee, he said.
The millennia-old silk industry is also dependent on the butterfly. Should the butterfly diversity decline, it will directly affect the country's agriculture, he said.

He noted that 80 per cent of the population in Arunachal is directly or indirectly dependant on forest and forest by-products for livelihood and called for arresting rapid deforestation and afforestation of the barren land.
As the lepidoptera fauna is not thoroughly explored in Arunachal and there is a potential of recording new species for science, an extensive project will be planned for the region by the BNHS in near future? Dr Subhalaxmi said.

The BNHS team in its short 10-day survey at the Siro Village and Talley Valley reserves of Lower Subansiri recorded close to 385 moth species and 68 butterfly species.

Of the 385 moth species recorded, 278 species have been identified and the remaining 107 species are yet to be identified.

Many of the moth species are possible new for India and as the unidentified moths are being further studied, we may encounter new species for science as well, she said.The BNHS team witnessed some rare butterflies like Tytler?s multi-spot flat, Bhutan Glory, Brown Gorgon, Powdered Green Hairstreak, Singe stone, Striped Punch, White edge bush brown, White Commodore, Bhutan Sergeant, Great Yellow Sailor, Grand Duchess, Manipur Jungle Queen and a Khaki Silver line, a very rare butterfly.
Source: IBNLIveNewsreporter and governancenow

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