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New butterfly species, Chocolate-bordered Flitter, discovered in Sikkim

The Chocolate-bordered flitter butterfly newly discovered by Sonam Wangchuk Lepcha in Sikkim

Persistence and passion always pay dividends and that is what has happened with 30-year-old Sonam Wangchuk Lepcha as he etched his name in the history of science after spotting a new species of butterfly.

Named Zographetus Dzonguensis, this new species of butterfly was found at Dzongu in the Namprickdang area, Noom Panang Village in upper Dzongu of Sikkim. Interestingly, this region is a stronghold of Lepchas, the indigenous people of Sikkim.

Happy about his discovery, Lepcha told EastMojo: “I never ever thought that I could come up with such a finding in my life. It’s a very big achievement for our State Sikkim and we all should be proud.”

Lepcha added: “I feel very proud to be a part of this butterfly world from Dzongu. They used to tease me by saying see ‘Butterfly Man’, but today I feel proud of myself when they say Butterfly Man. I take it in a positive way and that gives me more power,” he said.

The researchers — Krushnamegh Kunte, Sonam Wangchuk Lepcha, Tarun Karmakar, and Dipendra Nath Basu — who found this new species have suggested Chocolate-bordered Flitter as its English name since it has a chocolate-coloured border around both the wings. The study details were published in Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Talking to EastMojo, Krushnamegh Kunte, Associate Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences said: “We named this species the Chocolate-bordered Flitter, based on the chocolate-brown borders of its bright yellow wings.”

To his credit, Lepcha has so far recorded more than 350 butterfly species from this region – considered to be one of Sikkim’s best butterfly destinations.

The newly discovered species is similar to other two recently described species, Z.pangi from Guangdong and Z.hainanensis from Hainan in China.

Also read: Arunachal Pradesh declares magnificent Kaiser-i-Hind as state butterfly