Dusted Apollo (Parnassius stenosemus), a uncommon high-altitude butterfly has been sighted and photographed for the primary time in Himachal Pradesh, indicating the flourishing variety of Apollo butterflies within the area, bringing cheers to butterfly fanatics.
The butterfly was sighted and photographed in September 2023, throughout a trek to Manimahesh Lake in Chamba by Gajinder Verma and Abinash Thakur, each forest guards of Chamba Forest Circle, Himachal Pradesh Forest Department. The species was found within the 12 months 1890.
The distribution vary of Dusted Apollo extends from Ladakh to West Nepal and it flies between 3,500 to 4,800 meters within the internal Himalayas.
Dusted Apollo is extraordinarily uncommon and has by no means been photographed earlier than in Himachal Pradesh. Lovish Garlani, a butterfly skilled and researcher related as a technical marketing consultant with the State Forest Department, advised The Hindu, “The Dusted Apollo species closely resembles Ladakh Banded Apollo (Parnnasius stoliczkanus) but the discal band on the upper fore wing in dusted apollo is complete and extends from costa to vein one while this discal band is incomplete and extends only up to vein four in Ladakh Banded Apollo. Moreover, the Dark marginal band on the hind wings is much narrower in Dusted Apollo while it is broad in Ladakh Banded Apollo. After it was photographed in Chamba, its identification was confirmed a month ago after thorough scientific examinations.”
Another uncommon species Regal Apollo (Parnnasius charltonius) was additionally photographed at Manimahesh, which is protected below Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, he stated. “It is an encouraging indication of the flourishing diversity of Apollo butterflies in the region. Apollos are considered commercially important butterflies and they fetch high prices in the poaching industry. There are 11 Apollo species recorded from Himachal Pradesh and five of them are declared as Scheduled species. Most of the Apollo butterflies are now endangered and need immediate attention for their conservation and protection,” Mr. Garlani stated.
Concerned over the declining pattern of the variety of butterflies within the State as elsewhere, Mr. Garlani stated that a direct want to guard these uncommon butterfly species is required. “Community awareness about poaching and the importance of these species may play an important role in their conservation. Also, establishing butterfly parks and conservation reserves in the State should be on the priority list of the government,” he stated.