MECHUKHA- Kaiser-e-Hind Butterfly, which is one of the rarest butterflies in India, spotted first time in the jungles of Mechuka, Shi Yomi District, informed, Dr. Joram Khopey, a Wildlife photographer who is also Directorate of Health Services, Naharlagun.
“on 22nd May 2023 this rare and beautiful butterfly was spotted by me and friends for the first time in the jungles of Mechuka, Shi Yomi District; thus, adding another gem to an already available constellation of rare and beautiful high-altitude flora and fauna of Shi-Yomi District” said Dr Joram.
In Arunachal Pradesh till now Kaiser-e-Hind butterfly has been found in Talle Valley & surrounding areas in Ziro, Lower Subansiri District, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in West Kameng District & Luyor Pass area in Siang District.
The presence of this rare butterfly has the potential to attract many butterfly tourists to Shi Yomi District and Mechuka in particular. The median altitude of Mechuka is around 7000 ft above sea level. It is felt that if proper survey is carried out by experts many more high-altitude butterflies could be sighted. The vegetation and altitude of Mechuka seems suitable especially for Bhutan Glory, another beautiful and rare butterfly.
Kaiser-e-Hind is much sought after by butterfly lovers and enthusiast for its beauty and rarity (The writer had struggled to have a sight of this butterfly for nearly seven years in Talle Valley, Ziro but in vain). Moreover, its presence is a sign of rich biodiversity especially of plants and trees (Magnolia sp. tree is the host plant for Kaiser-e-Hind butterfly).
The butterfly with its shimmering greens, bright yellows and delicate blacks is a treat to the eyes. The green iridescence of the wings has been found to be due to three-dimensional photonic structure of the scales and is the subject of much research.
One of the rarest butterflies in India is the Kaiser-e-Hind which literally means “Emperor of India”. Its scientific name is Teinopalpus imperialis. This is a rare species of swallowtail butterfly found in small pockets of Nepal, Bhutan and along the Eastern Himalayas in India. It is also found in Northern Myanmar, Northern Vietnam and in the Sichuan Province of China.
This magnificent butterfly is found along the Eastern Himalayas (Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim and Manipur) in India. In these areas, it occurs at medium and higher elevations from 6000 to 10,000 feet above sea level in well covered forest terrains.
It is noteworthy to mention that there was a proposal to name Kaiser-e-Hind butterfly as State Butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh during Pakke Declaration (Pakke Tiger Reserve 2047 Declaration on Climate Change, Resilient and Responsive Arunachal Pradesh) in 2021. Contrary to what is made to understand from many websites/online information, Kaiser-e-Hind butterfly is yet to be named as State Butterfly of our state.
The cabinet had kept the naming on hold with a view to discuss more on it. Sighting of this butterfly in Mechuka this year was astonishing, unexpected and a jubilant moment in the same breathe. If proper surveys are made in areas with similar altitude & vegetation such as in Mishmi Hills, Anjaw District, Upper Subansiri District, Pakke-Kessang District, Namdapha NationalPark etc. sighting of this butterfly is highly likely. If sighted in more areas, Kaiser-e-Hind butterfly can definitely be named as the “STATE BUTTERFLY OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH”. By doing so this rare butterfly can be protected, conserved better and saved from extinction from our state.
Kaiser-e-Hind butterfly is a protected species under Schedule II of Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Hence, its smuggling and unauthorized handling or killing is a punishable offence under the act. IUCN status is near threatened.