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Dungarpur teacher discovers India’s 1328th butterfly specie-Zebra Skipper

Udaipur : Another cheerful piece during the Big Butterfly Month- a campaign to celebrate the butterfly species across the nation ! Spialia Zebra known as the Zebra Skipper spotted in 2014 in Sagwara town of Dungarpur district has been recognized as the 1328th species of butterflies in the country. A government school teacher Mukesh Panwar spotted the butterfly at a farmhouse on November 8, 2014. He clicked pictures of the butterfly and sent it for further study to the Butterfly Research Center at Bhimtal, Uttrakhand. After 6 years of intense research, the institute finally onTuesday recognized it as the 1328th species found in India.

Panwar told Udaipur Kiran ” the butterfly is distinguished by the discal band on the underside hindwing being continuous with the outer spot , the inner spot being adjoined to the basal cell spot. On the underside, the hindwing discal band is straight and directed to the tornus. On the upper side, the basal cell spot is absent”. In the Indian subcontinent, it is reported from the Margalla hills, the northern part of Punjab, Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Islamabad and south-eastern part of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. The habitat is dry xerophyte places and cultivated areas in lowlands or arid foothills.

The butterfly is difficult to observe because it is quite small and flies rapidly low over the ground. According to Peter Smetacek, founder of the research center Spilalia Zebra was described from 12 specimens taken at Chittar Pahar, Attock- a settlement in Pakistan in 1888. The city was then known as Campbellpore and the butterfly also finds mention in a book called Butterflies of Pakistan (2016). Panwar has special interests in lepidopterology and have been studying moths and butterflies for past 15 years. The teacher has identified some 111 species of butterflies and have clicked the life cycles of 82 varieties so far.

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