77 new species of butterfly found in Maharashtra

The study conducted by Bombay Natural History Society has found 77 new species of butterflies in the ecologically sensitive forest of Matheran hill station in Mumbai. With this the total number of butterfly species in the forest has gone up to 140.

Highlights

Matheran hill station is spread over 214 square kilo metres and is located at 80 km from the Maharashtra capital. The study was conducted between 2011 and 2019. This is the first study in the forest in 125 years.

Key Findings of the Study

The study found that seasonal variation in butterfly diversity was observed. The maximum diversity of butterflies was recorded in winter and the least was observed during monsoon. The study also said that the butterfly diversity in the region is stable and the chances of immigration or emigration to the surrounding regions are low.

Previous studies

Prior to the study that was done by BHNS, a British researcher J A Betham had surveyed the hills of Matheran for its butterfly diversity in 1894. He had reported 78 species of butterflies then.

Significance of Butterflies diversity

The Butterfly diversity indicate healthy environment and ecosystems. They indicate wide range of invertebrates. Butterfly diversity is seldom used by the ecologists to study the impact of habitat loss, climate change and habitat fragmentation.

Matheran Hills

It is a hill station located in the state of Maharashtra. The rock types in the hills are mainly composed of Deccan Trap.

Deccan Trap

Deccan Trap is a large igneous province in west-central India. The term trap has been used for the type of rock formations that are found in this region. They have multiple layers of flood basalt.

The Deccan Trap was formed 66.25 million years ago in the end of Cretaceous period.  Cretaceous period lasted between 145 million years ago and 66 million years ago. It is the final period of Mesozoic Era.

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