A group of five butterfly and moth researchers have found a new moth species and rediscovered another not seen in India in over a century at the Tale Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) in Arunachal Pradesh.
The researchers, two from Dehradun-based Titli Trust, two from Bengaluru-based National Centre for Biological Sciences and one from Pune found the two species in August last year. The findings were published this week in Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed scientific journal for animal taxonomists in Auckland, New Zealand.“The new moth species that we discovered belongs to the rare genus ‘Metallolophia’, of which only 16 species are known globally and three in India. We have named it ‘Metallolophia taleensis’ after the Tale wildlife sanctuary where it was discovered,” said Sanjay Sondhi of Titli Trust.
According to the article published in Zootaxa, ‘Metallolophia taleensis’ can be distinguished from other species in the same genus by the presence of prominent oval black-edged oval green spot on upperside forewing and smaller spot on hindwing.
The new species, of which the researchers collected two specimens, has been recorded at the Tale wildlife sanctuary only in the month of August so far. It has not been seen at any other location in any other month. Nothing is known about its life history yet.
The researchers also collected three specimens of ‘Metallolophia opalina’, another species of the same genus, from the Tale wildlife sanctuary in August last year. Two specimens of the species were last seen in Sikkim in 1886 and 1889. The species was also seen in Nepal in 1893.
“The three species of ‘Metallolophia opalina’, collected from the Tale wildlife sanctuary in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, represent the first published record of this species from India since its original description and extend its known range eastwards by over 900 km,” said the Zootaxa article.