Butterfly season has begun, and there is excitement among naturalists this year, as a wave of rare sightings surface along peninsular India Recently, the Branded Royal, rarely seen in India, made news when it fluttered through the Nilgiris after a gap of over 130 years. “It was last recorded in 1888 by British entomologist GF Hampson,” says Vinod Sriramulu. A trustee of the Wynter-Blyth Association (WBA) that comprises conservationists who document butterfly species in the Nilgiris, Vinod photographed the Branded Royal during a butterfly walk along the Kotagiri slopes. The four-year-old WBA has over 800 members. Butterfly season usually begins with the onset of the South-West monsoon; and the buzz tends to continue post-monsoon, well into February. “Now is the best time to watch them as they flit about in good numbers looking for nectar from tender greenery that springs up after the rains,” says P Mohan Prasath, founder of Act for Butterflies, the butterfly conservation NGO. This year, especially, many rare species have been sighted across the country. The Blue Mormon, a black-coloured velvet-winged butterfly, a species endemic to the Western Ghats, showed up in Patna. Another rare species, the Spotted Angle butterfly, has been sighted in the […]

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