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Tripura: Resurrection of the Lost Butterfly with the rediscovery of Looped Threering

It was the monsoon of 2019. A team of Wild Tripura Foundation carried out an expedition to the Jampui Hills of North Tripura district, spearheaded by the young and dynamic leader of the Lepidoptera Conservation & Research Division, Suman Bhowmik. The findings of the expedition were quite astonishing. They have documented a species of butterfly which was last recorded from the Indian Sub-continent six decades ago. Since then there was no documentation of the species.

The Looped Threering (Ypthima watsoni) was first reported and described by Zoologist Frederic Moore in the year 1893-1896 from two different places in Myanmar. It is historically known to occur in Manipur and the holotype and paratype of the species were collected by Cantile and Norman on 26 September, 1957 from Sebong, Manipur, India. Since then, the Looped Threering (Ypthima watsoni) was never ever recorded again. But, it showed up here in Tripura.
As a result there aren’t too many studies and researches available regarding this particular species.

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It was a wholesome effort of Suman Bhowmik and his team, that they have visited the far flung Jampui Hills of North Tripura District in the peak monsoon time of 2019 and eventually discovered the existence of this rarity in the evergreen landscape of Phuldengsei, 800 metres above sea level.
It is worth mentioning that the Looped Threering (Ypthima watsoni) was never ever reported from Tripura before. So, this happens to the first record from the state as well.

During the monsoon season most of the butterfly species lay their eggs on their respective host plants. So monsoon is one of the best seasons of the Year to study these winged beauties. The Jampui Hills of North Tripura, bordering the state of Mizoram is a biodiversity hotspot. This region still harbours some of the rarest fauna that are hard to find anywhere else in the Indian Sub-Continent.

Also read: Tripura reports it’s second COVID-19 death, with 32 new positive cases

The re-discovery of the Looped Threering (Ypthima watsoni) in Phuldengshei not only reinforces the status of the Jampui hills as a home for rare wildlife, but also clearly justifies the need for conserving the ecosystem of these remote villages as an effort to conserve the biodiversity of Tripura as a whole. The finding of rare animal life from the different nook & corner of the state in the recent times shows the glimpses of the rich natural heritage of Tripura for which it has been famous from time immemorial. It is also an indication of the significant development in the scientific research in the field of Zoology and Botany, and also a sudden spurt of interest regarding the study of wildlife in the younger generation of Tripura. Wild Tripura Foundation, since its initial days have played a significant role in the field of documentation of the unique flora & fauna of Tripura, a trend which continues till date. Its different research divisions are equipped with some of the most talented young enthusiasts who have made remarkable progress regarding research in the field of Biodiversity of Tripura.

The Lepidoptera Conservation & Research Division of Wild Tripura Foundation led by young researcher Suman Bhowmik, along with co-researchers Nihar Chandra Deb and Shyamal Debnath is one such bright example. They have an experience of more than a decade in butterfly documentation and research. They have travelled the whole span of the state and documented the butterfly diversity of each and every micro habitat along with detailed behaviour study. Their research and finding has surely opened the door for further exploration in this field and will surely inspire the youth of Tripura to follow suit in the near future.

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