RAIPUR: Scientists have found four butterfly species -- which were earlier confined to two global biodiversity hotspots in the Western Ghats and Himalayan Region -- in Jashpur district, north-east of Chhattisgarh.
The butterflies -- Indigo Flash, Common Onyx, Small Cupid and Yamfly -- led to the discovery of the unexplored ‘range extension’ that emerges as the notable connecting link between the two key biodiversity terrain of the world.
“Jashpur region in Chhattisgarh with reported species of butterflies offer live evidence of wonderful landscape connectivity. The range extension of these species earlier known to be endemic and restricted to either in the Himalayan region or the Western Ghats or even both. The discovery of such a butterfly population clearly suggests their range extension through Chhattisgarh-Chota Nagpur plateau. Such observations are critical and crucial to conserve the small habitats to ensure the huge link supporting the landscape connectivity is not broken”, said Anupam Singh Sisodia, a scientist and lepidopterologist (doing scientific study of butterflies and moths).
The purpose of the study was aimed to assess the less exploited status of forests and habitats in Jashpur. When butterfly species are found in the ecosystem, it equally indicates about the micro-habitats existing therein.
“Chhattisgarh area has not been surveyed well. We don’t know whether these range extensions were studied or reported earlier. But such significant finding tells us what’s going on and where, since the butterflies are a bio-indicator organism. Now you can protect what you know about”, said Peter Smetacek, the Butterfly Man of India and founder of the Butterfly Research Centre in Uttarakhand, which houses the fourth largest reference collection of butterflies and moths in India.
“The survey findings, which resulted in documentation of around 80 species, was not intended to save particular species of butterfly but to create baseline data and develop evidence-based ‘habitat’ conservation plan”, said Nilesh Kumar Kshirsagar, Jashpur collector and a nature lover, underlining Jashpur as key habitat with intricate relationship between the forest and the occupants in the ecosystem.
Jashpur has a moist deciduous forest. The information on the baseline data helps in creating policies which translate into overall habitat conservation not specific species preservation. The protection of the habitat will take care of inhabiting insects, birds and other animals.