A junior research fellow (JRF) with the Uttarakhand forest department recently spotted a species of butterfly- papilio alcmenor commonly known by the name redbreast in Mukteshwar area of Nainital district.
This species of butterfly which is usually found in the Eastern-Himalayan region was firstly discovered in the western Himalayas nearly 110 years ago. At the same time, a local resident spotted a day-flying moth — achelura bifasciata in Devalsari near Mussoorie.
This moth was first spotted in 1893. The sightings of these creatures have excited butterfly watchers and experts in Uttarakhand. An entomologist by profession, Peter Smetacek, and founder of Butterfly Research Centre in Bhimtal shared that he has not seen such a high number of butterflies at low altitudes for the past several years,
The sudden sightings of these rare species after such a long gap has excited the researchers.
"According to our research, this butterfly extends its distribution to this area only in favourable years and is absent in others. This surely is one of the most favourable years," he added as reported by The Times Of India.
On being asked about the reason for the increase in the number of butterflies, Smetacek said that the low number of forest fires that took place this year largely with lockdown regulations could be the main reason behind it.
He also said that there is a direct correlation between the forest fires and the population of butterflies. He has documented instances during his research work when fires wiped out the entire population of butterflies from a region and it only restored several years later.