A PRELIMINARY CHECKLIST OF BUTTERFLIES RECORDED FROM JEYPORE-DEHING FOREST, EASTERN ASSAM, INDIA
Monsoon Jyoti Gogoi
Bokakhat East Dagaon, Golaghat District, Assam 785612, India
Jeypore Reserve Forest (JRF) is one of the few remaining continuous stretches of woodland left in upper Assam. The forest lies just inside the south bank of the Brahmaputra River Basin, which is the barrier for many dispersal limited Malayan flora and fauna. The reserve forest further lies in the foothills of Patkai-Bum hill ranges of Arunachal Pradesh which is likely to influence the bio-geographic pattern of many Malayan butterflies in northeastern India. Despite the bio-geographic significance of the area, the area remains poorly documented in terms of butterfly community and hence data deficient. Doherty (1889) described Blue Quaker Pithecops fulgens and Yellow-vein Lancer Pyroneura margherita from nearby Margherita. But, nothing was known of the butterfly community in JRF. The present study was therefore taken with an objective of providing a baseline data of the butterfly community in JRF.
Study area: Jeypore Reserve Forest (JRF) (27006ﾕ –27016ﾕN & 95021ﾕ–95029ﾕ), with a total area of 10,876km2 is located in Dibrugarh District of Upper Assam, adjoining Arunachal Pradesh. The reserve forest falls under the Jeypore-Dehing Landscape of Assam Valley semi-evergreen rainforest (Champion & Seth 1968) and is one of the last remaining large tracts of lowland tropical forests left in Upper Assam (Image 1). JRF falls under the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot. The reserve forest lies in the foothills of the Patkai range and the terrain is characterized by the undulating hill ranges of Arunachal Pradesh meeting the plains of the Assam Valley. The reserve has a passage through it, leading to Deomali and Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh (Image 2). The river Burhi-Dehing flows through the northern boundary of the reserve forest and Dilli River flowing through Namrup lying at an elevation of 124m is the southern boundary of the reserve. The vegetation is characterized by Dipterocarpus marcocarpus, Messua ferrea and Vatica lanceafolia from the top canopy to the middle. The ground floor is dominated by Saprosma ternatum, Livistonia jenkiansiana and Calamus erectus etc. Bamboo species of Dandrocalamus hamiltonii and Pseudostachyum polymorphum are present in most patches of the forest.
Materials and methods: JRF was surveyed in different seasons, February (2010), May (2010), November (2010) and September–October (2011). The survey was done on different forest trails and hill streams regularly between 10.00–15.00 hr (Image 3). Butterfly species were identified using the identification keys of Evans (1932), Talbot (1947), and photographic guides of Kehimkar (2008) and Haribal (1992).
Notes on selected species:
White Punch Dodona longicaudata De Nic思ille (Image 4): One individual was encountered in February of around 150m. The species has also been photographed and sighted recently from Namdapha and Garo Hills <http://ifoundbutterflies.org/188-dodona/dodona-longicaudata>. The species was first described in 1881 from Shillong, Khasia Hills by De Nic思ille. A single female individual was sighted at Gaspani, Naga Hills, at 455m. A male was collected from Cachar Road, Manipur in December and a female from the same place in November (Tytler 1915). The species is treated as very rare in Evans 1932. The species is so far known only from the south bank of the Brahmaputa and Patkai Hills of northeastern India.
Burmese Bushblue Arhopala birmana birmana Moore (Image 5): The species was encountered four times in JRF in January and February. The species has been recorded at Sebong, Manipur (Tytler 1915). The species is treated as not rare and the distribution range is from Assam-Dawnas (Evans 1932). The species is known only from the south bank of the Brahmaputra River Basin of northeastern India. Many specimens were seen in JRF, most of them had the white patches. The specimen photographed lack white patches. The species was confirmed birmana on the basis of upper side wing, border being 4mm at apex, 2mm in dorsum and 2.5mm in hindwing (Evans 1957).
Blue Quaker Pithecops fulgens Doherty (Image 6,7): One individual was encountered at Tipam of JRF. The species was first described by Mr. Doherty from Margherita, Upper Assam. Since then, the species was collected in fairly good numbers from Irang and Lengba rivers, western Manipur hills (Tytler 1915). The species is rare as per Evans (1932). The species is similar to Forest Quaker, P. corvus from underside but differs from it as the upper side is blue with a brown border in males whereas in the P.corvus the upper side is brown. Swinhoe (1912–1913) describes the habitat of the species from Margherita, upper Assam based on Dohertyﾕs record. The species probably occurs only in south of Brahmaputra River Basin in the Patkai Bum of northeastern India.
Hooked Oakblue Arhopala paramuta DeNic思ille (Image 8): The species is not rare and occurs from Sikkim to Karens as per as Evans 1932. The species is rare in Manipur and has been collected from Imphal at low elevations (Tytler 1915). The species occurs from mid-elevation of the eastern Himalaya to the lowest altitude of northeastern India. The insect was common near Kothalguri of JRF. I personally encountered the species a few times at Panbari Forest, Kaziranga, Assam.
Indian Oakblue Arhopala atrax (= alemon, hewitsoni) (Image 9): A female individual was encountered in JRF. The species is reported from Bengal, Niligiris, Poona, Pachmarhi, Orissa, Murre, Mussorie, Simla, Kumaon, Nepal, Sikkim, Assam, Burma-Ataran (Evans 1957). I found the species very common in the Eastern Ghats. The species is not common in northeastern India.
Tytlerﾕs Dull Oakblue Arhopala ace arata Tytler (Image 10): Two individuals were recorded in Gulmari of JRF in the month of Janurary. Another individual was encountered on the border between Dehing-Patkai WLS. I place the species under it on the basis of Evanﾕs description ﾔbelow dark brown, marking very wide and prominent outlined whiteﾕ. The specimens I encountered were less prominently outlined white. A male from Lengba River, Western Manipur Hills, and two from Sebong, East Manipur Hills have been reported and described for the first time by Tytler in 1915. The species has been reported as very rare (Evans 1932). The subspecies has so far been reported from Manipur and Ruby Mines, northern Burma (Evans 1957). Another subspecies occurs in Perak, Sumatra and Borneo.
Green Oakblue Arhopala eumolphus eumolphus Crammer (Image 11,12): One male and a few females were encountered in JRF during the field study. This subspecies is distributed in Sikkim, Nepal, Assam and is not rare as per Evans (1932).
Sylhet Oakblue Arhopala silhetensis silhetensis Hewtson (Image 13): One individual was encountered in September 2011 and appears to be smaller than the one I encountered at Panbari Forest. The race is distributed from Sikkim to northern Burma and is rare (Evans 1932). The species is protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Saffron Mota massyla Hewitson (Image 14): The species was sighted four times in JRF. The species was sighted from February–April. The species has been recorded from Sebong and on the Irang River in Manipur at low elevations and from Kirbari in Naga Hills at a higher elevation (Tytler 1915). The species is distributed from Bhutan-Burma and is rare (Evans 1932). The species has been reported to be locally common (Kehimkar 2008).
Narrow Spark Sinthusa nasaka amba Kirby (Image 15): One individual was recorded in September. The subspecies is distributed from Sikkim-Burma and is reportedly rare as per Evans 1932.
Branded Yamfly Yasoda tripunctata tripunctata Hewitson (Image 16): The species was encountered four times during my study in JRF. The species is rare as per Evans 1932. The species is protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Grey Baron Euthalia anosia anosia Moore (Image 17): One individual was encountered in Deomali road and another was sighted near Namsai tea estate in JRF in the month of November. It is a rare butterfly and habitat is from Sikkim-Burma.
Kohinoor Amathuxidia amythaon amythaon Doubleday (Image 18): One female and a male were sighted near Kothalguri of JRF in November. The male was found visiting bird droppings in a forest trail. After the male was recorded, the nearby forest patches were surveyed and the female was found subsequently. It is a large butterfly with a wing span of 110–130 mm. It occurs in Sikkim-Arunachal Pradesh and in Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The species is rare in occurrence (Evans 1932).
Blue Nawab Polyura schreiber assamensis Rothschild (Image 19): One individual was encountered on Deomali road of JRF in November. The species was first seen mud-puddling with open wings. The species is very rare (Evans 1932). The subspecies was first described in the year 1899, type locality from (Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Shillong, Cherra Punji) Meghalaya, Naga Hills, (Jorehat) Upper Assam and northern Burma (Myanmar). The butterfly also occurs in southern India as subspecies wardi Moore (1895).
Watsonﾕs Bushbrown Mycalesis adamsoni Watson (Image 20): Many individuals were encountered at the end of October 2010 and 2011. The species is rare and occurs in Manipur and northern Myanmar (Evans 1932). The ID key of the species is that the origin of v7 is pushed back before end cell on hindwing.
Lilacine Bushbrown Mycalesis francisca sanatana Moore (Image 21): One individual was encountered in October, 2011. The species is not rare and occurs from Kulu-Burma (Evans 1932). However, the habitat of the species is from Sikkim-Burma (Talbot 1947). The v7 origin is at end cell of hind wing which differentiates the species from M. adamsoni.
Large Three-ring Ypthima nareda sarcaposa Fruhstorfer (Image 22): This subspecies is smaller in size in comparison to the other subspecies newara of northeastern India. The species has its distribution from Assam to Shan states and is not rare (Talbot 1947).
Striped Ringlet Ragadia crisilda crito De Nic思ille (Image 23): The species was sighted twice in JRF. The taxon crito is distributed from Bhutan to Naga Hills and Manipur; rare (Talbot 1947). The subspecies crisilda occurs in Cachar, Assam.
Pealﾕs Palmfly Elymnias pealii Wood-Mason (Image 24): The species was sighted about 10 times during the field study at different sites of JRF. The species is very rare and endemic to Assam (Evans 1932). The species is locally not rare but probably as it is restricted to Greater Assam, Evans treated it as very rare.
Dot-dash Sergeant Athyma kanwa phorkys Fruhstorfer (Image 25): The species was encountered three times during the course of the field study in JRF. The species was found locally common in Assam. The species is rare and distributed in Assam-Burma (Evans 1932).
Spotted Sailer Neptis magadha khasiana Moore (Image 26): The species was found mud-puddling on a few occasions on the road to Deomali near Tipam of JRF in October. The race is distributed from Bhutan to northern Burma and is rare (Evans 1932).
Plain Sailer Neptis cartica cartica Moore (Image 27): One individual was encountered at Tipam in the month of October. The species was slightly smaller than the specimens I encountered in Mishmi Hills. Another subspecies, Neptis cartica burmana also occurs in Assam. I recorded this subspecies once in Dollamora and Panbari Forest (Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong) in 2009.
Perak Lascar Pantoporia paraka paraka Butler (Image 28): One individual was encountered puddling on a stone in a small nallah during March. The race is distributed from Assam to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hainan, Malay Peninsular, Sumatra, Borneo, Banka, Batu, Java, Palawan. Another species Pantoporia assamica Moore (Assam-northern Bhutan) was also recorded in JRF (Image 29). The species is a race of Pantoporoa paraka in Global Lepidoptera Names Index (<http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/lepindex/>).
Extra Lascar Pantoporia sandaka davidsoni Eliot (Image 30): One individual was encountered during March, sitting upon a leaf near a small forest stream. The species was first described in 1892 from Borneo. The race davidsoni occurs from India to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hainan and was named by Eliot in 1969 with type specimen from North Kanara, southern India.
Indian Awlking Choaspes benjaminii benjaminii Guerin-Meneville (Image 31): The species was common at Tipam nallah of JRF. The species could be found making rapid flight on Deomali road. The species is not rare and distribution is Sri Lanka and southern India (Evans 1932). The species was represented in Kulu, Karens, China, Siam as subspecies xanthropogon. However, the taxon xanthropogon was later validated as a different species and was considered synonymous to taxon similis. The taxon benjaminii is actually distributed all over India.
Similar Awlking Choaspes similis Evans (=xanthropogon) (Image 32): One individual was encountered in October. The species is distributed in Kashmir, Nepal, Sikkim, Assam, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Formosa. The species can be differentiated from C. stigmata from the underside in having tornal area not above V3, while in C. stigmata the tornal orange area continues above v3. In C. benjaminii the tornal orange area does not even reach V3. Also, the upper side base of C. stigmata is dark iridescent green but the upper side colour is uniform in C. similis.
Pale Striped Dawnfly Capilia zennara Moore (Image 33, 34): The species could be recorded a few times between Kothalguri and Tipam of JRF in November. One male at Kothalguri road, and another just near it were recorded. Another male was found in the hill stream near Kothalguri. One female at Kothalguri, another at Tipam were recorded. The species has been reported from Nichuguard, Naga hills and Sebong, Naga hills (Tytler 1915). The species has been reported from Sikkim, Assam in India and occurs till Thailand. The species is treated very rare (Evans 1932). In recent times it has only been sighted from Buxa Tiger Reserve (Vivek Sarkar pers. comm. 2010) and Nambor RF, Karbi Anglong, upper Assam (Gaurab Nandi Das pers. comm. 2012).
Andaman Yellow-banded Flat Celaenorrhinus andamanicus hanna Evans (Image 35): The subspecies hanna was described by Evans in 1949 from Bhutan. Later it was also recorded from Thailand. The species was photographed in Kothalguri of JRF. This is a new addition to the butterfly fauna of mainland India. The key character of the species andamanicus mentioned by Evans (1932) is that the discal spot in 1b is directed exactly to tornus.
Dusky Yellow-breast Flat Gerosis phisara phisara Moore (Image 36): A few male individuals were encountered in a river stream at Tipam of JRF. The subspecies is distributed from Sikkim to Burma and further up to Malaya and not rare (Evans 1932). The species is quite common in Assam.
White Yellow-breast Flat Gerosis sinica indica Evans (Image 37): One individual was encountered at Tipam at JRF. The subspecies occurs in Assam, another subspecies narada is found in Sikkim and subspecies sinica is distributed in central and western China and not rare (Evans 1932). The species is rare in Assam.
Sikkim White Flat Seseria sambara Moore (Image 38, 39): One individual was encountered in April and few times in October. The species does not appear common in the Naga Hills and Manipur (Tytler 1915).
Grass Bob Suada swerga swerga De Nic思ille (Image 40): One individual was encountered in October. The species is not rare and the distribution range of the species is from Sikkim-Burma and further up to Malaya, Sumatra (Evans 1932). The species was first described in 1883 from Sikkim. The species is reported common at Sebong, Manipur during cold winters (Tytler 1915).
Malay Forest Bob Scobura phiditia Hewitson (=martini Elwes and Edwards) (Image 41, 42): The species has been mentioned by Tytler (1915) from Manipur as ﾔScobura martiniﾕ. The species has been reported from Manipur to Burma, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and not rare (Evans 1932). The species has been recently sighted in Panbari Forest, Kaziranga, Assam by the author in 2010 (unpublished information of the author in 2001). Interestingly on the individual recorded at JRF, there was no discal row of black spots on the underside hind wing (Evans description that often a discal row of black spots occurs). It looks a different race from those in the Panbari Forest of Kaziranga.
Large Forest Bob Scobura cephaloides cephaloides De Nic思ille (Image 43): One individual was encountered near Dilli River. I have recorded the species from Mishmi Hills and Panbari Forest, Assam. The species has been recorded from Naga Hills and Western Manipur Hills (Tytler 1915). The species is rare and distributed from Sikkim - souther Shan States, Tonkin and Hainan (Evans 1932).
Dark-branded Swift Caltoris brunnea Snellen (Image 44, 45): One individual was encountered in October. The species has a wide range of distribution from Sikkim-Bhutan and further up to Borneo and is not rare (Evans 1932). The species was first described in 1876, type locality is Java. The species could be identified by a narrow grey brand mid-vein 1 to lower inner edge of spot 2 in the male.
Tufted Swift Caltoris plebeia DeNic思ille (Image 46): A male specimen was sighted at JRF, in February near Dehing-Patkai WS. The species is distributed from Sikkim to Bhutan and further up to Java, Borneo and Pulo Laut (Evans 1932).
Atkinsonﾕs Bob Arnetta atkinsoni Moore (Image 47): Four individuals were recorded in Gulmari of JRF. The species is not rare as per Evans 1932. The species is distributed from Sikkim to Tavoy and is not rare (Evans 1932).
Halpe homolea homolea Hewitson (Image 48): The species was common in JRF. The Halpe species has a brand on the upper wing. The species seems to fit Halpe homolea homolea as spots are present on the small upper side and on the underside sub marginal and discal spots are clearly defined. Tytler (1915) mentioned the species to be very common in Manipur and Naga Hills. Evans (1932) described the species as not rare.
Yellow-vein Lancer Pyroneura margherita Doherty (Images 49, 50): The species was encountered four times near Kothalguri in JRF in summer. The species has been treated as a subspecies of latoia with locality from Upper Assam and Tenasserim and very rare (Evans 1932). But, the species is not rare in upper Assam. I encountered the species many times in Panbari Forest of Kaziranga. But, the specimens of Jeypore differ from that of Panbari in having conjoined cell spots in the forewing, while in the latter the cell spots are separate.
Northern Spotted Ace Thoressa cerata Hewitson (Images 51,52): The species was encountered many times in JRF. The specimens differ from the higher elevation races of Arunachal Pradesh (Mishmi Hills, Namdapha) in having very small discal and post-discal spots in the underside of hindwing. The specimens of Panbari also had very small spots. The species is distributed from Sikkim to Karens and is not rare (Evans 1932).
Forest Hopper Asticopterus jama olivascens Moore (Image 53): One individual was encountered at Gulmari in JRF. The race is distributed from Kumaon to Karens, Siam and not rare (Evans 1932).
During the survey many significant butterflies were sighted from the lowland forests of JRF. February and November were found to be best months for butterflies in JRF. Altogether, a total of 292 species of butterflies were recorded as a result of continuous field surveys conducted during 2010–2011 which included two sightings Darpa pteria (Karthikeyan & Venkatesh 2011) and Chersonesia rahira rahrioides (Vidya Venkatesh & S. Karthikeyan pers. comm. 2011) (Table 1). There are many factors influencing the species richness of JRF. The average elevation of JRF of about 150m, lying in the foothills of the Patkai range of northeastern India, influences the distribution pattern of butterflies. A few of the butterflies of JRF show interesting bio-geographic pattern due to the barrier effect of the Brahmaputra River Basin (BRB). As JRF lies on the South Bank of BRB species such as Pithecops fulgens, Dodona longicaudata, Arhopala birmana, Pyroneura margherita occur in JRF. These species were not known from the north bank of the Brahmaputra River Basin as it acts as a barrier of species distribution. Further, JRF is also classified as a rainforest due to its unique precipitation which might be another factor contributing to species richness in the area. Overall, sighting of extremely rare species such as Dodona longicaudata, Capilia zennara, Amathuxidia amythaon, Pithecops fulgens etc. shows the importance of saving the last remaining lowland forests in Assam and northeastern India.
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