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  • 09 July, 2020

  • 3 Min Read

India's Largest Butterfly

India's Largest Butterfly

Recently, a Himalayan butterfly known as Golden Birdwing (Troides Aeacus) has been discovered as India’s largest butterfly after 88 years. It has replaced an unknown specimen that a British army officer Brigadier Evans had recorded in 1932.

Discovery: The female was recorded from Didihat in Uttarakhand, the male was from the Wankhar Butterfly Museum in Shillong, Meghalaya.

Characteristics: With a wingspan of 194 mm, the female of the species is marginally larger than the Southern Birdwing (190 mm). Earlier, the largest Indian butterfly that was recorded in 1932 was an individual of the Southern Birdwing (Troides minos), which was then treated as a subspecies of the Common Birdwing (Troides Helena).

However, the specimen that Evans measured was unknown and no other butterfly measured as much as the 190 mm that he recorded. The male Golden Birdwing is much smaller at 106 mm.

Measurement: The only measurement used in the study of Lepidoptera is wingspan in which butterflies are measured from the wing base to the tip.


  • Butterflies are insects from the order Lepidoptera of phylum Arthropoda which also includes moths.
  • Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight.


Rich Biodiversity: The abundance of butterflies in any area represents rich biodiversity. Indicator Species: The butterfly acts as an indicator species.
An indicator species provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem and of other species in that ecosystem. They reflect the quality and changes in environmental conditions as well as aspects of community composition. Pollinator: It acts as a pollinator by helping in pollination and conserving several species of plants.

Other butterflies in NEWS

Striped Hairstreak: Scientific Name: Yamamotozephyrus kwangtugenesis Discovery: It is found in Vijaynagar village of Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Myanmar.

It was a subject of interest for the lepidopterists as its genus is diversified into several genera (i.e. sub-divisions) and thus, difficult to trace.

Habitat: It was first recorded in the Hainan province of China. It is also found in North America, from the Rocky Mountains

Elusive Prince: Scientific Name: Rohana tonkiniana Discovery: It is found in Miao subdivision situated on the periphery of the Namdapha National Park.
In India, only a male specimen of the Elusive Prince was found. Initially, it was considered a variant of the Black Prince, but the study revealed that it is different and has not been recorded in India before.

Habitat: It was first recorded in Tonkin in North Vietnam. The Rohana Genus: It has been represented in India by two species — the Black Prince (Rohana parasites) and the Brown Prince (Rohana parvata).

Significance for Arunachal Pradesh: These discoveries from Arunachal Pradesh indicate the rich biodiversity of the State. The government thus needs to focus on helping volunteers or citizen scientists by providing the support needed. This will help in boosting eco-tourism apart from regular scientific research.

Papilio polymnestor, the blue Mormon, is a large swallowtail butterfly found in south India and Sri Lanka. It is the "state butterfly" of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Source: TH

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