NCBS Researchers Unveil New Butterfly Species - Conjoined Silverline

  • 15 Jan 2024

Researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) recently presented a research paper unveiling the discovery of a new butterfly species, Conjoined Silverline (Cigaritis conjuncta), in Karnataka's Bramhagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Kodagu.

Key Points

  • Accidental Discovery: The butterfly species was first encountered en route to Iruppu falls in Bramhagiri in 2008 accidentally. A team of researchers rediscovered it in March 2021, collecting samples for detailed study.
  • Butterfly Size and Significance: The Conjoined Silverline is approximately the size of a one rupee coin, but its value to conservationists is immense due to its endemic nature to mid-elevation evergreen forests of the Western Ghats.
  • Endemic to Western Ghats: The species is described based on specimens from Honey Valley, Kodagu district, Karnataka, which is part of the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in India.
  • Distinctive Characteristics: Cigaritis conjuncta is differentiated from other congeners in India and Sri Lanka based on distinctive characteristics in the male-dorsal forewing outer half, coastal margin, and nearly upper half of the cell being black without orange markings. The remaining wing shines deep blue.
  • Additional Markings: The dorsal hindwing tornus is pale orange and red with two black spots.
  • The ventral forewing bands at the end of the discal cell are conjoined, and the ventral hindwing subbasal and discal bands are composed of spots that are conjoined to form broad bands with irregular outlines.
  • Conservation Significance: The discovery emphasizes the importance of biodiversity in the Western Ghats and adds to the rich tapestry of butterfly species in Karnataka.
  • Total Butterfly Species in Karnataka: Karnataka is home to around 300 native species of butterflies, with some being accidental findings and others having historical evidence.