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New Zygaenid Moth discovered in Aruchal

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Jan 2018 12:00 AM GMT

From our correspondent

Itagar, Jan 9: A ture lover in Aruchal Pradesh has discovered a new species of Zygaenid Moth Elcysma Ziroensis (Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae: Chalcosiie) under genus Elcysma, from Tale Wildlife Sanctuary in Lower Subansiri district.

The moth with its common me Apatani Glory, med after the Apatani tribe of Ziro valley, was spotted and photographed first by Punyo Chada, an employee of State Education department. Punyo, who hails from Siro Village in the district, first photographed the moth in 2010. The discovery of the moth was published in the Jourl of Threatened Taxa on December 26 last year. The publication of the discovery was a result of the concerted effort of Chada, Monsoon Jyoti Gogoi a scientist of Bombay tural History Society (BNHS) and J J Young, a world renowned lepidoptera expert (butterflies and moths).

According to the jourl, the species differs in colour pattern considerably from other species of the genus. The other species of the genus are bright and white in colour and black veins being very prominently seen. The new species has very broad black stripes running along both sides of the vein almost taking over the white background on forewing and brown background on hind wing.

The shape of the wing resembles that of E dohertyi and is unlike the other two species, which have broader forewings and hind wing. The wing vetions, however, are markedly different from all other Elcysma species having five radial veins with three posterior radius sectors branching out to the apical area.

The other three Elcysma species have four radial branches instead. The only radial vein in the hind wing, which is unbranched, extends to the coastal area unlike the other three species, where it branches out to the termen and torl area.

This is a brightly coloured diurl species with a slow and fluttering flight. Its flight period matches with Bhutanitis lidderdalii Atkinson, 1873 with similar wing patterns, which are seen flying at the same time in the same locality.

Both are fairly common in Talle Wildlife Sanctuary in Ziro. As zygaenid moths are chemically protected and aposematic and B lidderdalii feeds on Aristolochiaceae rendering them unpalatable to predators, there appears to be a co-mimetic assemblage of the two species.

This species does not appear to exhibit strong sexual dimorphism in wing pattern and size though the possible male appears to show a much darker ground colour and conspicuous markings than the female. The details of life history are unknown.

From observations, this species has only been seen during Autumn, notably in the month of September indicating that it is a univoltine species. This coincides with the laying of eggs in September, the publication said.

Chada is a ture enthusiast and also a member of the NgunuZiro, a NGO in the district.’

NgunuZiro organized the North East India Butterfly Meet in September last year where the moth was spotted for second time again in the wildlife sanctuary.

In the paper, the authors gave details about all the described members of genus Elcysma and provide details to justify why Elcysma ziroensis is a new species.

The publication is perhaps the first example of a new species discovered through citizen science from Aruchal Pradesh.

Citizen Science is a recent concept in North East India through which general citizens, scientists and experts collaborate to do scientific work and research.

“I want to congratulate the people of Ziro Valley for this recognition. I am interested in all forms of biodiversity for many years now and glad that this new species has been discovered from Ziro valley. I am an amateur ture enthusiast who enjoys watching and documenting biodiversity around me and hope this publication will be an inspiration for others to go, see and document the rich biodiversity of our region” Chada said in a statement.

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