Matheran Records 140 Species of Butterflies; Twice As Many After 125 Years

by Suchismita Pal
Matheran Records 140 Species of Butterflies;  Twice As Many After 125 Years

Pleasing news for all those who love butterfly watching! Around 80 kilometres away from Mumbai, in the gorgeous hill station of Matheran, researches have identified 140 species of pretty butterflies. This is the first dedicated checklist of butterflies at Asia’s only pedestrian hill station after nearly 125 years. Earlier, British researcher JA Betham had documented 78 butterfly species in 1894-95. The latest findings documented twice the number of butterfly species.

140 species of butterflies
Picture Credits: Wikimili

140 Species Of Butterflies Spotted At Matheran Near Mumbai

Nikhil Modak and Mandar Sawant from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) carried out the recent research with Sagar Sarang from Somaiya College, Vidyavihar. The researches were published in the research paper, Finding the Forgotten Gems in Bulgaria’s Biodiversity Data Journal ( BDJ).

140 species of butterflies
Picture Credits: Luca

Matheran has an area of around 214.73 square kilometres. Its buffer area or eco-sensitive zone ranges from 0 to 200 kilometres. The investigation of butterfly distribution took place along 7 square kilometres of Matheran which covers woods, mountain slopes, swamps and more.

140 species of butterflies
Picture Credits: Revv

Also Read: Visit This Butterfly Park In Thane To Spot Colorful Butterflies

The Research Took Place For Eight Long Years

The researchers carried out the study on the butterflies for eight long years, from 2011 to 2019. The 140 species found belong to six families. Among them, 15 species including orchid tit, crimson rose and Daniad eggfly come under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The list also includes rare species like double branded crow, Tamil spotted flat, plain banded awl, large oakblue, orange-tailed awlet, common sergeant and plain puffin.

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As per HT reports, Sagar Sarang said, “Anyone intending on visiting Matheran during any season will be able to identify species they spot using this checklist”. He also expressed his worries stating, “Concretisation in the form of paving of roads, building resorts and other development associated with tourism combined with littering of waste such as plastic and alcohol bottles by tourists is a concern.”

140 species of butterflies
Picture Credits: StockFreeImages

Isaac Kehimkar, chairman, of  iNature Foundation, praised the efforts of researchers. He said, “By saving their pocket money and surviving on snacks, these youngsters have brought out an elaborate checklist and getting it published. Their efforts are inspiring and stand testimony of dedication over eight years. These studies highlight the need to preserve such eco-sensitive areas while ensuring sustainable tourism with local people involved.”

Also Read: Sharjah Is Home To A Butterfly House

Once the pandemic is over, plan a trip to the picturesque town of Matheran to feast your eyes on the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats, the lush green forest and the beautiful butterflies. On that note, know about this ‘Glamping’ experience at Karjat’s Moonstone Hammock near Mumbai.