The presence of the king crow butterfly, an uncommon species, has been recorded for the first time in Uttarakhand, officials said on Sunday. The discovery assumes significance as it is an attractive new addition to the existing list of 450 butterfly species found in the state, they said. The research wing of state forest department recorded its presence at Nainital’s Bhujia Ghat area, Chief Conservator of Forest (research) Sanjeev Chaturvedi said.
The discovery also assumes importance because it marks the western most recording of the uncommon butterfly species after Katrania Ghat Wildlife Sanctuary of Uttar Pradesh, he said. Its presence had earlier been recorded in the northeast where both its subspecies – brown and blue – were found and also down south where the presence of its brown-coloured subspecies has been recorded. Bhujia Ghat lies at an altitude of 650 metres and is home to good quality sub-tropical forests. This discovery is also an indicator of good health of the local ecosystem and forest, Chaturvedi said. This particular species has a very uncommon trait. It mostly feeds on poisonous or alkali-rich plants like milkweed and plays an important role in the reproduction and propagation of such plants.