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77 new species of butterflies found in Matheran

Butterflies of Matheran

Scientists have found 77 new rare species of butterflies in Matheran, near Mumbai. With this, the total number of butterfly species in Matheran has gone up to 140. The last time butterflies were codified in this eco-sensitive zone was in 1894, when British researcher J. A. Betham identified 78 species.

Finding the forgotten gems: Revisiting the butterflies of Matheran after 125 years, a research paper by scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Somaiya Vidya Vihar University is the outcome of eight years of field work with 140 butterfly species and 22,833 butterfly observations made during 2011-2019.

A strong seasonal variation in butterfly diversity was observed. The maximum diversity of butterflies (125) was recorded during winter, and the least (80) during the monsoon. The scientists introduced a novel barcode system for denoting seasons and activities of Indian butterflies and hope this will help butterfly biologists to concisely present data.

“Butterflies are not just beautiful creatures but also indicators of a healthy environment and ecosystem,” the BNHS said.