February 18, 2024
A New Butterfly Species Emerges: The Conjoined Silverline Butterfly
Climate & Environment Featured by VoM

A New Butterfly Species Emerges: The Conjoined Silverline Butterfly

A New Butterfly Species Emerges: The Conjoined Silverline Butterfly

A New Butterfly Species Emerges: The Conjoined Silverline Butterfly

In the verdant evergreen forests of the Western Ghats mountain range in southern India, a team of dedicated scientists has made a groundbreaking discovery. Through extensive wildlife surveys spanning from 2008 to 2021, researchers identified a previously unknown butterfly species, now officially named the conjoined silverline butterfly (Cigaritis conjuncta). The Western Ghats, renowned for their biodiversity, yielded around 30 specimens of this newfound butterfly during the surveys.

Physical Characteristics and Habitat
The conjoined silverline butterfly exhibits intriguing sexual dimorphism. Males showcase dark shining blue wings with black fringes and a false head pattern of orange dots, while females display dark brown wings adorned with orange-red patches. Both sexes share a common feature: pale yellow undersides marked with silver lines and distinct conjoined bands, inspiring the species’ name. These butterflies inhabit mid-elevation evergreen forests and are most active in sunlight, often found basking on leaves. The species has, so far, been discovered in two locations within the Kodagu District, Karnataka, approximately 1,100 miles southwest of New Delhi.

Significance of the Discovery
The identification of the conjoined silverline butterfly was based on coloration, wing patterns, and other physical characteristics, without DNA analysis. This discovery is the first of its kind in the Western Ghats in the last four decades, highlighting the region’s rich biodiversity. Endemic to the mid-elevation forests of the Western Ghats, the species is anticipated to have a broader distribution in the region.

The Discovery Team
The research team, including Krushnamegh Kunte, Ashok Sengupta, Ujwala Pawar, and Viraj Nawge, published their findings in the prestigious journal Zootaxa on January 10, 2024. This discovery underscores the importance of thorough wildlife surveys, particularly in biodiversity hotspots like the Western Ghats, where unknown species patiently await recognition.

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