Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 June 2017 | 9(6): 10358–10360






A new locality record of the rare Anomalous Nawab Polyura agrarius (Swinhoe, 1887) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Charaxinae) from central India



Deepika Mehra 1, Jagatjot Singh Flora 2 & Vivek Sharma 3



1 Department of Zoology and Environmental Sciences, Punjabi University, Patiala 147001, Punjab, India

2 46, Napier Town, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, 482001, India

3 Government Model Science College, Department of Zoology, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh 482003, India

1 (corresponding author), 2, 3






doi: | ZooBank:



Editor: Sanjay Sondhi, Titli Trust, Dehradun, India. Date of publication: 26 June 2017 (online & print)



Manuscript details: Ms # 2972 | Received 07 August 2016 | Final received 10 April 2017 | Finally accepted 29 May 2017



Citation: Mehra, D., J.S. Flora & V. Sharma (2017). A new locality record of the rare Anomalous Nawab Polyura agrarius (Swinhoe, 1887) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Charaxinae) from central India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(6): 10358–10360;



Copyright: © Mehra et al. 2017. 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: None.



Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.






Polyura Billberg, 1820 butterflies are restricted to the Indo-Malayan/ Australasian archipelago (Toussaint et al. 2015). Polyura contains 26 morphologically delineated species (sensu Smiles 1982). They are large, fast-flying butterflies that advertise typical patrolling, fighting, hill-topping behaviour, and preferably like to feed on carrion, dung, rotten fruits and oozing sap. They are distributed from India to Fiji and from the Ryukyu Archipelago to south-eastern Australia (Toussaint et al. 2015).

Polyura agrarius (Swinhoe, 1887) is more of an enigmatic species in terms of its taxonomic status and geographic distribution. Swinhoe (1887) first described P. agrarius under the genus Charaxes from Mhow and Assirghur (=Asirghar), Madhya Pradesh, India. Later on, Rothschild & Jordan (1899) lowered the status of P. agrarius to a subspecies of P. bharata Felder, 1867 (then P. athamas (Drury, 1773)) and treated it merely as the latter’s pale dry seasonal form from southern India. Smiles (1982) followed Swinhoe (1887) and treated P. agrarius as a distinct species although he himself was not confident of its treatment and mentioned that there was a possibility that the latter was merely a form of P. bharata. Following this interpretation, subsequent authors like Bingham (1905), Evans (1932) and Wynter-Blyth (1957) treated P. agrarius merely as the pale southern Indian form of P. bharata. D’Abrera (1985) was also uncertain about the validity of the species status of P. agrarius and wing measurement records given by Smiles (1982) which he thought were indeed likely to be misinterpreted subjectively. This taxonomic puzzle couldn’t be solved, until recently when Toussaint et al. (2015) raised P. agrarius to species level on the basis of molecular studies.

As a result of this taxonomic confusion, and the difficulty of field identification of P. agrarius and P. bharata, there is not much information available on the distribution, habits and habitat preferences of P. agrarius (Smetacek 1999). Yates (1935) reported the nominate species from Nilgiri District and Coorg. Smiles (1982) enlisted the localities for the distribution of P. agrarius within India as follows: Tiruchirappalli, Nilgiri, Coonoor, Kallar, Mysore (=Mysuru), Hyderabad, Mhow, Kumaon, Kullu, Dharamshala, and Orissa (=Odisha). The status of P. agrarius in the Nilgiri Hills seemed rare to Larsen (1987) as his records were based merely on three specimens he found only in Kallar. According to Gaonkar (1996) the distribution of P. agrarius in the Western Ghats did not extend up to Maharashtra State. The records from the past decade, however, (Tiple & Khurad 2009; Sharma 2012; Padhye et al. 2013; Patwardhan 2013, 2014) validate the occurrence of P. agrarius in Maharashtra. Smetacek (1999, 2012) confirmed the occurrence of P. agrarius in Kumaon Himalaya. Singh & Sondhi (2016) also reported P. agrarius to be rare in Garhwal. Literature review also helped to conclude that there is a paucity in the reports of P. agrarius from the central provinces (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh). Tiple & Ghorpadé (2012) gave a review based record of the nominate species from Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh; nevertheless, their personal observations pertained only to the specimens observed in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Chandra et al. (2014) contradictorily showed no records of P. agrarius from Chhattisgarh, central India. Lovalekar et al. (2017) also provided no reference records of P. agrarius in the state of Madhya Pradesh on the website All these queries make us skeptical of recent records of P. agrarius in Madhya Pradesh.

Till date, except for the first records given by Swinhoe (1887) (from Mhow and Asirgarh) no other published records for the nominate species in the state of Madhya Pradesh exist. Smiles (1982) probably considered Mhow as a distribution locality in the courtesy of Swinhoe and did not have any personal observations to his own credit. Smetacek (1999) discussed the distribution of P. agrarius in the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats and northern India, but completely omitted its distribution in the central province of the country and made no comments about it.

Current records: On 12 November 2015, one male specimen of P. agrarius was recorded in Dumna Nature Reserve, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India. Again, on 14 November 2015 at 13:24hr, another male specimen (Image 2A) was encountered from the same locality. No specimens were collected. The species was identified on the basis of the presence of two sub-apical pale spots on the forewing from photographs. The first individual was recorded patrolling while the second one was recorded perching on a decomposing leaf and sucking sap, on the bank of a water body (Image 2B) in Dumna Nature Reserve.

Dumna Nature Reserve (23.16694 N & 79.95000 E, elevation 403m) is an important ecotourism spot situated 10km southeast of Jabalpur City, Madhya Pradesh, India. Dumna Nature Reserve includes mountains of the Vindhya Range, a small dam and Sal forests. It is located 241.1km north of Nagpur City, Maharashtra, India and 186.23km west of Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve, which is the nearest known locality for P. agrarius. Further, Dumna Nature Reserve is located 435km east of Mhow which is the oldest and the only published locality for P. agrarius in Madhya Pradesh, India (Image 1).

These findings confirm the occurrence of P. agrarius in Madhya Pradesh, central India after a long time span. Intensive surveys are required however to determine its exact population status in Madhya Pradesh. Polyura agrarius is sympatric with P. bharata and both the species prefer similar habitats. The latter is much more common throughout its range and this could be attributed to the scarcity of P. agrarius, as they might be competing for the available resources. The updated distribution of the P. agrarius range is from south to central India includes Gujarat, Rajasthan, northern India (Uttrakhand, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh), northeastern India, and Myanmar.












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