Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 April 2016 | 8(4): 8666–8697




Butterflies of Garhwal, Uttarakhand, western Himalaya, India



Arun P. Singh 1 & Sanjay Sondhi 2



1 Forest Entomology Division, Forest Research Institute, P.O. New Forest, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248006, India

2 Titli Trust, 49 Rajpur Road Enclave, Dhoran Khas, Near IT Park, P.O. Gujrada, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001, India

1, (corresponding author), 2



doi: | ZooBank:



Editor: Ian J. Kitching, Natural History Museum, London, U.K. Date of publication: 26 April 2016 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 2254 | Received 31 August 2015 | Final received 06 April 2016 | Finally accepted 09 April 2016

Citation: Singh, A.P. & S. Sondhi (2016). Butterflies of Garhwal, Uttarakhand, western Himalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(4): 8666–8697;



Copyright: © Singh & Sondhi 2016. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: Partially by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).


Conflict of Interest The authors declare no competing interests.


Author Details: Arun P. Singh, is currently working as a scientist with the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun. His experience pertains to the conservation and ecology of butterflies and birds across the Himalaya, over the last two decades. Sanjay Sondhi, Founder Trustee Titli Trust, is a naturalist with an interest in Lepidoptera, herpetofauna and avifauna. He supports conservation research and action and conservation education programs in eastern and western Himalaya.


Author Contribution: APS carried out most of the sampling surveys, photography, identification, compilation of the data, literature review, paper writing along with preparation of the figures and appendix. SS added many valuable new records to the first author’s list, added records and supplementary data from his sampling surveys, reviewed older literature, provided photographs, identified many sub-species and validated taxonomic names of the species/subspecies.


Acknowledgements: The first author would like to thank the Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE); Director, Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun and Head, Entomology Division, FRI, Dehradun for providing the necessary facilities to carry out research and field surveys in Garhwal from time to time during 2000-2010, under two butterfly projects funded by the ICFRE, Dehradun. The authors would also like to thank the Uttarakhand Forest Department for their support during numerous surveys. SS would like to acknowledge support from his family, Anchal and Yash Sondhi, who assisted in many of the surveys. ÄPS would like to deeply acknowledge the support and inspiration received from his family, Raka and Shaurya, while accompanying the author during numerous field trips across Garhwal.





Abstract: Thirty percent of butterfly species that occur in India are found in the Garhwal region of the western Himalaya, which comprise six districts of Uttarakhand State with five major vegetation types lying between the catchments of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The annotated checklist compiled here for this region comprises 407 species and takes into account all the species recorded since 1899, when the first list of 323 species was prepared by Mackinnon & de Nicéville on the ‘butterflies of Mussoorie and its adjacent areas’. Over a 20 year period (1986–1990; 2000–June 2015) the present authors maintained detailed notes and were able personally to record 349 species. This information is presented in a checklist, together with details of the month, year and site of each record, relative abundance, Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (IWPA) status, as well as references of earlier records made by other authors in Garhwal for those species that the authors were not able to record themselves. Forty-nine species recorded in the region have been placed under various schedules of IWPA; only one species, the Golden Emperor Dilipa morgiana Westwood, is listed in Schedule I Part IV, the others being mainly included under Schedule II Part II. The paper also discusses new range extensions and significant records (past and present), identifies major biotic factors that threaten butterfly diversity in Garhwal, and suggests the scope for butterfly ecotourism in the state as an option for long term conservation.


Keywords: Conservation planning, ecotourism, Lepidoptera, moist temperate forest, oaks, protected species, tropical moist deciduous forest, western Himalaya.






The first comprehensive records on butterflies of Garhwal were published by Mackinnon & de Nicéville (1899) on the butterflies of Mussoorie and neighbouring regions. They produced a detailed account of 323 species collected during a 11-year period by Mackinnon from the Mussoorie Hills, the adjoining valleys of the Algar river and Nag Tibba lying to its north, the entire Dehradun Valley lying to its south, as well as some butterflies brought by native collectors “from the highest valleys and hills right up to the frontier of Hundes or Thibet”, i.e., three species of Parnassius from the Nilung Pass (5400m). Later, Ollenbach (1930) listed 144 species from six collecting localities (forested areas) in and around Mussoorie town, the best period for collection being May–June. Shull (1958, 1962) also reported on the butterflies of Mussoorie. Much later, Baindur (1993) documented 27 species from Nanda Devi National Park, followed by a list of 35 species by Uniyal (2004) from the same area that includes three new records for Garhwal. Rose & Sidhu (1994) revisited some of the older study sites near Mussoorie for a comparison into declining butterfly diversity with time. Uniyal et al. (2013) also reported a few butterflies of the Gangotri landscape as part of a larger entomofaunal survey in that area.






Study area

The Garhwal region of the Himalaya lies in northern India and includes six districts of the state of Uttarakhand (namely Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Garhwal (Pauri), Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Chamoli) (Fig. 1). To its east lies the Kumaon Himalayan region and to its west the state of Himachal Pradesh; to its north lies the Tibetan Plateau and in the south the Shiwalik mountain ranges form a boundary and separate the Garhwal region from the plains of India (Haridwar district of Uttarakhand and the state of Uttar Pradesh). Two important river systems drain the region: the Ganges, which flows through the middle of Garhwal; and the Yamuna, which flows along its western boundary, together with their tributaries. Five major vegetation types occur in Garhwal: (1) Tropical moist deciduous forest dominated by sal, Shorea robusta, in the lower reaches (400–900 m), mainly in Dehradun District (Dehradun Valley, including Rajaji National Park) and Pauri Garhwal District (Kotdwar, Sonanadi Sanctuary and Corbett Tiger Reserve), which gradually merges with the dry deciduous forests in the south of the Shiwaliks and stretching into the plains of northern India; (2) The sub-tropical zone, with mainly mixed vegetation and Chir pine, Pinus roxburghii, between 1,000–1,600 m in all districts; (3) Moist temperate forest between 1,800–3,000 m, dominated by oaks (Quercus leucotrichophora, Q. semicarpifolia and Q. dilatata), rhododendrons (Rhododendron arboreum, R. barbatum), west Himalayan spruce, Picea smithiana, silver firs (Abies pindrow and A. spectabilis), Indian cedar or deodar (Cedrus deodara), blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), horse chestnut (Aesculus indica), and many others; (4) Sub–alpine vegetation with Rhododendron campanulatum shrubberies above 3,500m; (5) Alpine meadows with R. anthopogon between 3,500–4,000 m, above which is generally the snow line with sparse vegetation and rocks. The region of Garhwal also includes a number of protected areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation reserves), which are the last strongholds of biodiversity in the region: Rajaji National Park, Benog Wildlife Sanctuary, Mussoorie; Corbett National Park, Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary and Govind National Park; Gangotri National Park; Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary; Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park (which form the part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve); Asan Conservation Reserve and Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve). These, and other study sites of the current paper, are listed and described further in Table 1, and their locations shown in Fig. 1.

Identification of butterflies was undertaken with the help of field guides (Marshal & de Nicéville 1882; Moore 1874, 1890–1992, 1893–1896, 1896–1899, 1899–1900, 1901–1903, 1903–1905; Swinhoe 1905–1910, 1910–1911, 1911–1912 & 1912–1913; Bingham 1905; Talbot 1939, 1947; Evans 1932; Wynter-Blyth 1957; D’Abrera 1982, 1985, 1986; Haribal 1992; Smith 1989, 2006; Kehimkar 2008; Singh 2011; Sondhi et al. 2013; Sondhi & Kunte 2014; Smetacek 2015) and web resources (; and– Photographs and some specimens that were difficult to identify were compared with specimens in the National Forest Insect Collection (NFIC) at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, India.






How to use Appendix 1.

The annotated checklist (Appendix 1) also includes all records of earlier authors that the authors of the present paper were not able to verify in the study area. Random sampling surveys were carried out covering all the months/seasons of the year from 1986–2015.

  1. Relative abundance for our observations: The relative abundance of species was arrived upon largely using qualitative data and the following rationale. The relative abundances of species were divided into six categories. (1) Very Rare: only one record; (2) Rare: 2–3 records; (3) Uncommon: 4–10 records; (4) Common: species recorded at multiple locations across many samplings in moderate numbers or between 11–49 individuals; (5) Very common: species recorded in large numbers across multiple habitats in many samplings or greater then 50 individuals; and (6) Locally Common: species recorded in large numbers at a particular location at a particular time of the year.
  2. Months and sites of collection: months are given against each site of record. Table 1 provides additional details of the sites.
  3. References: Species recorded by earlier authors / historical records are given in brackets along with the author and year of publication.



Results and Discussion


During the course of his study on the ‘Butterflies of Garhwal’, the first author has been recording butterflies in the region since 1986 and has since published several papers (Singh 1999, 2003a,b,c, 2005a,b, 2006a,b, 2007, 2009, 2011a,b, 2013; Bhardwaj et al. 2012). The second author started work on the butterflies of Garhwal in 2008. However, there has been no comprehensive review of the butterflies of Garhwal since that of Mackinnon & de Nicéville (1899). Many species that were present or rare then are no longer recorded in Garhwal, while some new range extensions have occurred into the region. The annotated list (Appendix 1) is a compilation of observations made by the first author from 1986–1990, in particular in the New Forest campus and surrounding areas, and then again from April 2000–March 2005 in the Dehradun Valley, and from 2005 to June 2013 in the Dehradun Valley and Garhwal Hills above 1500m and from 22 March 2016 to 17 April 2016 in Mussoorie Hills. The second author’s observations in the list are mainly from the period 2008–2015. In all, 69 sites in the Garhwal Himalaya are mentioned in the text (Figs. 1 & 2, Table1).

A total of 407 species have been recorded so far from Garhwal (Appendix 1.). Both the authors were able to record 349 species in Garhwal themselves and the remainder have been reported by other authors. Mackinnon & de Nicéville (1899) reported 323 species from Mussoorie, Dehradun, Garhwal and adjacent areas. Of these, 28 species were only recorded by them (Appendix 1, species in brackets), which are mostly either rare occurrences, single or doubtful records. Of these, the Regal Apollo Parnassus charltonius and Keeled Apollo P. jacquemontii were caught by collectors from as far as the Nilung Pass near the Indo-China border and brought to Mackinnon & de Nicéville. Other species reported by Mackinnon for which there are no recent published records from Uttarakhand include the Red Helen Papilio helenus helenus in April from Dehradun Valley (this species is common in eastern Himalaya and northeastern India but is rarely seen in Garhwal and Kumaon), Plains Blue Royal Tajuria jehana, Leopard Lacewing Cethosia cyane and Mountain Satyr Paroeneis pumilus. Some species are out of range, such as the Lesser Dart Potanthus maesoides which is found in Myanmar and the Andaman Islands (Wynter-Blyth 1957). Two other species (Pale Jezebel Delias sanaca and Orange Punch Dodona egeon) recorded by Ollenbach (1930) in Mussoorie were also not observed by the authors, the known range of the latter being from Kumaon eastwards (Evans 1932; Wynter-Blyth 1957). The Tibetan Satyr Oeneis buddha garhwalica and Plain Marbled Skipper Carcharodus alceae gooraisa were recorded only by Evans (1932) and the Ladakh Banded Apollo Parnassius epahus epahus only by Talbot (1939). The records of the Garhwal Woodbrown Lethe dakwania by Tytler (1939), the Sordid Emperor Chitoria sordida (male) collected by G.D. Bhasin in 1955 from Chakarata hills, the species being ‘rare’ having distribution from Sikkim to northern Burma (Evans 1932), two records by Wynter-Blyth (1957) of Hewitson’s Dull Oakblue Arhopala oenea and the Yellow-disc Oakblue Arhopala singla, and one record of the Desert Bath White Pontia glaconome iranica in Mussoorie by Roonwal et al. (1963) are rare species in Garhwal or are the only records of the species that are worth mentioning.

Nine species reported by Uniyal (2004) and Bhardwaj & Uniyal (2013) from Nanda Devi National Park and Gangotri National Park were not recorded during the present study. Amongst these, the Lofty Bath White Pontia callidice; Small Cabbage White Pieris rapae; Western Silverstripe Argynnis hyperbius hyperbius; Highbrown Silverspot Argynnis jainadeva jainadeva Moore and Dark Green Silverspot Speyeria aglaja are all high altitude species with Palaeartic affinities. The Golden Sapphire Heliophrous brahma and Great Evening Brown Melanitis zitenius, with known distributions eastwards from Kumaon to Sikkim, and the Indian White Admiral Limenitis trivena pallida and Common Banded Awl Hasora chromus chromus are other species recorded by Uniyal (2013) that have not been recorded by others. Many of the records published by Bhardwaj & Uniyal (2013), however, need to be validated due to either lack of specimens or photographic evidence to support them. Recently, Smetacek (2011) proposed a new subspecies, Neptis clinia praedicta with a distribution extending from Dehradun to Kumaon and later (Smetacek 2012) another new subspecies from Garhwal, Wood-Mason’s Bushbrown Mycalesis suaveolens ranotei, based on a specimen collected by the first author at Mandal in KMDR.

Nine species have shown significant recent range extensions in their distributions in the Garhwal Himalaya. Four of these, the Figure-of-8-Swift Baoris pagana (Singh 1999), Common Gem Poritia hewitsoni (Singh 2003a), Spangled Plushblue Flos asoka (Singh 2006a) and Brown Gorgon Meandrusa lachinus (Singh 2006b) are from the Central Himalayas. Three more show significant range extensions into Garhwal from Peninsular India: the Bush Hopper Ampittia dioscorides (Singh 2003b), Red Pierrot Talicada nyseus (Singh 2005a) and Redspot Zesius chrysomallus (2005b). The Apefly Spalgis epeus, whose known range was from Kumaon eastwards, has also been recorded recently in Dehradun District by the second author. Finally, an unconfirmed record of Dark Branded Swift Pelopidas agna was reported by the second author.








Significant Records


  1. Six-bar Swordtail Graphium eurous caschmirensis: Recorded in good numbers (10+) nectaring on Rubus sp. flowers in Kedarnath Musk Deer Reserve between 2100–2200 m on 30 April 2008 (Image 1a) and a single record on 2 April 2016 between Jharipani and Barlowganj (1800m) near Mussoorie. Two more individuals recorded nectaring on Aesculus indica blossoms near Lynndale estate, Mussoorie and third on nectaring on Dianthus flowers in a garden at Cloud’s end estate, Benog WLS, both on 16 April 2016. At Woodstock nala, below Mussoorie (1700m), this species can be seen on the wing between mid April and first week of May (Image 1b). It frequents flowers of Viburnum spp. It has also been recorded in reasonable numbers at Devalsari in the Aglar Valley in early May (~1700m).
  2. Tailed Redbreast Papilio bootes janaka: Recorded amongst rocks on 14 June 2012 between Makku village and the Sheep Farm, in Kedarnath Musk Deer Reserve (KMDR) (Image 2). The known distribution of this species is from Kumaon eastwards, hence this record extends its range westwards to Garhwal.
  3. Brown Gorgon Meandrusa lachinus lachinus: A few individuals recorded during summer, on 14 May 2003 (2 females), 26–29 July 2006 (2 females and 1 male) and 26–30 September 2006 between 1800m and 2150m on northern facing slopes, from Mandal to Kanchula Kharak in KMDR. A female was noted ovipositing on saplings of Machilus duthiei (Lauraceae) along the road when one was caught on 28 July 2006 (Image 3). This species prefers to remain very close to the canopy (Singh 2006). This record in KMDR is 500km west of Kasi in Nepal, its previous known western limit in the Himalayas (Smith 1989; 2006).
  4. Paris Peacock Papilio paris paris: Recorded in the New Forest campus (2 specimens caught on 5 October 2005 and 22 June 2006; Image 4) and from one specimen collected from Kalusidh Temple forest (20 February 2006) in Dehradun Valley. Numerous individuals were reported from Lacchiwala, Dehradun District in October and November 2015. This represents a range extension to Garhwal, as the range reported in the literature is from Kumaon eastwards (Wynter-Blyth, 1957; Smetacek, 2015).



  1. Lesser Brimstone Gonepteryx mahaguru mahaguru: A solitary male was observed on 23 March 2013 at the hill slope above Deoria Tal in the Kedarnath Musk Deer Wildlife Sanctuary. The individual was worn, and had possibly emerged after over-wintering, as the adults of this group are known to hibernate through the winter (Image 5).
  2. One-spot Grass Yellow Eurema andersoni jordani: Recorded from Dehradun Valley in March (Singh & Bhandari 2003) and from the sal forest in the foothills below Chakarata on 5 October 2004. A recent record from New Forest Campus of a mating pair in July 2015. Earlier reported by Mackinnon & de Nicéville (1899) from Mussoorie (Image 6).
  3. Striped Albatross Appias libythea: April–June 1991, observed in flight in the Botanical Garden of the New Forest campus, Dehradun.
  4. Crimson Tip Colotis etrida etrida: Single record in March at Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve. Mostly a plains species.



  1. Water Hairstreak Euaspa milionia: Locally common during the dry season from May–June in oak forest along small streams/rivulets in shaded ravines. Sightings from Woodstock School Mussoorie on 30 May 2010, in Kedarnath Musk Deer Reserve on 15 June 2012 (Image 7) near the Sheep Farm on the road to Makku Village on 31 May 2015. The second author observed swarms of E. milionia along the Woodstock nala, Mussoorie, counting over 200 individuals in three hours on 31 May 2015.
  2. White-spotted Hairstreak Euaspa ziha: Locally common in Benog Wildlife Sanctuary and Woodstock School in Mussoorie in the undergrowth of Ban oak trees between 1800–2200m in May–early June (Image 8). Otherwise rare in Garhwal.
  3. Wonderful Hairstreak Thermozephyrus ataxus ataxus: A single record of a pair on 16 June 2012 on rocky boulders amongst nettles and shrubs in a wet nullah near Chopta in Kedarnath Musk Deer Reserve (Images 9 a,b). The female of this species is rarely photographed.
  4. Dull Green Hairstreak Esakiozephyrus icana icana: A single record of two individuals coming to dung on the stone path leading towards Deoban from Chakarata on 19 July 2009 in Oak-fir forest (Image 10).
  5. Walnut Blue Chaetoprocta odata: This west Himalayan endemic occurs around its food plant, Juglans regia, and has been recorded in flight from May–August in Mandal in KMDR and in May and June in Woodstock nala, Benog and Dhanaulty in Mussoorie hills, between 1800–2300m (Images 11,12). In early May, many Juglans regia trees are infested with caterpillars of this species.
  6. Dusky Bushblue Arhopala paraganesa paraganesa: June seems to be the best month to observe this species in KMDR between Mandal and Kanchula karak (28 June 2007) in mixed patches of oak on creepers (Image 13).
  7. Spangled Plushblue Flos asoka: Smetacek (2011) reported this species as a range extension to Uttarakhand, with its previous distribution having been reported from Nepal eastwards to eastern Himalaya (Wynter-Blyth 1957; Smith 1989). However, Singh & Bhandari (2006) had already reported this record from Dehradun Valley earlier (Images 14 a,b). This species was locally common especially in the sal forest (Shorea robusta) at Khattapani, Lachhiwala, where two individuals were recorded drinking from wet sand beside a seasonal jungle stream on 1 June 2004.
  8. Redspot Zesius chrysomallus: Individuals were recorded from Hathibarkala area on Pomegranate trees (Images 15 a,b). Reported as a range extension to Garhwal, Uttarakhand by Singh (2005). Recent records from Pawalgarh Conservation Reserve, Kumaon by the second author confirm its status throughout Uttarakhand.
  9. Brown Onyx Horaga viola: One individual was collected from Litchi chinensis tree in an orchard in 11 Hill Road in New Forest Campus during 1989 (image 16).
  10. Apefly Spalgis epeus epeus: A single individual recorded by SS from Maldeota in the outskirts of Dehradun on 13 November 2013 (image 17). This is the first record of this species from Garhwal, extending its known range by 250km westwards. Its previous known range was Kumaon eastwards (Evans 1932; Wynter-Blyth 1957).



  1. Treble Silverstripe Lethe baladeva aisa: Recorded on 16 June 2012 near Chopta (2700m) and at 1800m near Makku in KMDR drinking water from wet sand amongst rocks in temperate oak forest (Image 18). The previously known distribution was from Kumaon eastwards (Evans 1932; Wynter-Blyth 1957).
  2. Wood-Mason’s Bushbrown Mycalesis suaveolens ranotei: A single female was collected near Garsari in a thick oak-Alnus forest patch in KMDR at 1750m on 7 July 2007. The species was initially misidentified as M. nicotia Westwood, 1850 until corrected to M. suaveolens, and described as a new subspecies, M. s. ranotei (Smetacek 2012) (Images 19a,b).
  3. Moore’s Bushbrown Mycalesis heri: Recorded from Mandal in Kedarnath Musk Deer Reserve. First record from Garhwal; previous known range was Kumaon eastwards (Wynter-Blyth 1957).
  4. Brown Argus Ypthima (Dallacha) hyagriva hyagriva: A little known species recorded from Magra and Devalsari in the Aglar Valley and Mandal in Kedarnath Musk Deer Reserve in September (Image 20).
  5. Scarce Mountain Argus Callerebia kalinda: Locally common at 2200–2300m from Buranskhanda to Dhanaulty in Tehri Garhwal during May–June with over half a dozen sightings between 2006 and 2012 (Images 21a,b).
  6. Medus Brown Orsotriaena medus medus: Recorded from Chakarata in September and October. Previously known from Garhwal by Mackinnon & de Nicéville (1899) who had not recorded it themselves, but reported a sighting by Butler.
  7. Narrow-banded Satyr Aulocera brahminus dokwana: Prefers alpine habitats in the inner Himalaya above 3200m. A few individuals were recorded in the Valley of Flowers National Park amongst the shrubberies and near the Puspawati river on 12 September 2007 (Images 22a,b) and one record near Chandrashila Peak in KMDR in 2009.
  8. Jewel Four-ring Ypthima avanta: Recorded from Devalsari in April 2010 (Image 23) and Chakarata in June 2010. No recent published records from Uttarakhand.
  9. Indian Purple Emperor Apatura ambica ambica: Recorded in September in Gharsari and Mandal in Kedarnath Musk Deer Reserve (Image 24). Rare in the western part of its range.
  10. Golden Emperor Dilipa morgiana: Two records from KMDR, first at Mandal Village on 11 March 2008 and then near the Sheep Farm towards Makku Village on 17 June 2012 (Image 25).
  11. Siren Hestina persimilis zella: Recorded on 6 April 2010 and 12 June 2015 from Devalsari in the Aglar Valley, at forest streams in hot weather. One individual was caught in the Maldeota foothills along the river Song in Dehradun in October 2005 (Images 26,27).
  12. Stately Nawab Charaxes dolon dolon: Recorded singly at moist patches and on large boulders near large forest streams on 19 May 2014 at Magra (Image 28) and on 5 May 2015 at Devalsari in the Aglar Valley and Kanchula Khark at Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.
  13. Anomalous Nawab Charaxes agrarius agrarius: A single record on 9 October 2009 at noon from Kohlu Rau, Saneh in Lansdowne Reserved Forest (Image 29) .
  14. Eastern Comma Polygonia c-album: The best place to record this species was between Sankri to Taluka on the stone path below the giant Aesculus indicia trees in Govind National Park, where a few individuals were recorded on 3 and 4 March 2009 (Image 30). Also recorded at Ghangaria in Valley of Flowers National Park in September and KMDR near Chopta tower at 2700m on 13 September 2007.
  15. Pale Green Sailer Neptis zaida zaida: Locally common around Mussoorie town in oak groves in Benog, Woodstock School, Dhanaulty in the dry summer (May–June) coming on to water percolating through rocks and in small rivulets (Image 31). Also recorded at Shikhar Falls, above Dehradun at 1300m on 15 May 2014.
  16. Bluetail Jester Symbrenthia niphanda hysudra: Three individuals recorded along Bangsil nala at Devalsari Reserved Forest, Tehri Garhwal District on 4 and 5 May 2015 (Image 32). These are the only known records of this species from Garhwal in recent years.
  17. Spotted Jester Symbrenthia hypselis cotanda: Not recorded by the authors during their survey in Garhwal. Bhardwaj et al. (2012) recorded this species in the upper catchment of the Tons Valley in Govind Pashu Vihar WLS and NP.
  18. Extra Lascar, Pantoporia sandaka davidsoni: A single individual on 10 November 2013 near Maldeota bridge, flying amongst Common Lascars P. hordonia. A search for the species at the same spot a week later did not yield any further sightings (Image 33). 
  19. Grey Count Tanaecia lepidea lepidea: Recorded in October from the Dehradun Valley. Wynter-Blyth (1957) gave its distribution as Kumaon eastwards. However, this overlooks a specimen collected at Mussoorie by Mackinnon in the FRI collection (Roonwal et al., 1963). One unconfirmed record from Hathibarkala area during 2000.



  1. Himalayan Yellow-banded Flat Celaenorrhinus dhanada: Recorded in September from Mandal and Kanchula Khark in Kedarnath WLS. Rare in Garhwal, more common from Kumaon eastwards (Image 34).
  2. Mussoorie Bush Bob Pedesta masuriensis masuriensis: Recorded from Tiger Falls, Chakarata in June 2010 and from Cloud’s End in Benog WLS in July 2004 (Image 35).
  3. Garhwal Ace Thoressa aina: A single record of this small butterfly feeding on the flower of a herb on the stone track from Cloud’s end down towards Jawala Devi Temple in Benog Wildlife Sanctuary in October 2005.
  4. Graham’s Ace Sovia grahami: One specimen collected on 13 May 2003 from Mandal in KMDR.
  5. Palm Redeye Erionota torus: A single specimen was collected at the FRI Director’s residence (14 Hill Road) near Pine forest, New Forest campus, Dehradun on the evening on 12 October 1990 (Image 36).
  6. Paintbrush Swift Baoris farri: Collected from a paddy field at 11 Hill Road in New Forest Campus, Dehradun on 27 August 1989. Also recorded from Saneh WLS in October 2008.
  7. Conjoined Swift Pelopidas conjuncta conjucta: Recorded during September 2000 from several locations in the valley at New Forest campus, Dehradun and in October 2005 nectaring on composite flowers in sal forests near Maldeota in Dehradun Valley (Image 37).












The present list of Garhwal includes about 84% of species found in the western Himalaya (Wynter-Blyth 1957) and 30% of India’s total butterfly species list. Forty-nine species in the study area are listed under various schedules of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (Appendix 1). Only one species, the Golden Emperor (Dilipa morgiana Westwood) is listed in Schedule I, with 41 species in Schedule II and seven species in Schedule IV. New range extensions, past historic records and rare high altitude species are of conservation concern and need to be protected. Singh (2011) had earlier shortlisted 30 species of conservation priority in oak forests of Garhwal, according to their rarity, which are included in this list. It should be noted that 51 species have no recent records from Garhwal and/or Uttarakhand. While many of these species are from higher altitudes, some are also from lower altitudes and have not been seen for many years. In addition, there are 10 species for which records need further verification. The absence of reliable scientific information on 15% of the butterfly species recorded in the Garhwal Himalaya indicates that significantly more research is needed on this faunal group.

The long term conservation of butterflies in Garhwal calls for protection of the land remaining under native/natural forests of sal in the tropical moist deciduous zone and Oaks-Rhododendron forests in the Himalayan moist temperate zone, which hold most of the rare Himalayan butterfly species. Biotic pressure in the form of excessive lopping of fodder trees, grazing and browsing by cattle, ravaging summer fires, unchecked collection of non-food forest products by villagers, illegal encroachment of forest land, limestone mining, construction of new roads and landslides, impacts of mass tourism, and land use change due to rapid urbanization in the region that has led to habitat fragmentation, are all major threats to biodiversity across the landscape in the Garhwal region. Hence, any development in Garhwal should be concentrated away from forests to save its native diversity. Landuse planning should directly address issues linked to the people living around forests and directly dependent upon them for their livelihoods. Alternative means of employment should be encouraged in this region, such as “butterfly inclusive ecotourism”, to reduce human pressure on butterfly habitats, and butterfly rich sites and zones should be identified. This will also reduce the impacts of mass tourism on habitats and their associated biodiversity. The authors hope that this paper will form the basis for increased research on the butterfly fauna of the Garhwal Himalaya, to fill the information gaps that remain. It is hoped that the data we have generated will support habitat conservation efforts by helping establish butterfly inclusive ecotourism models and generating livelihood opportunities for the locals. In addition, we hope that the distribution patterns of individual species and their habitats that we have uncovered will also help in monitoring environmental changes.





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