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In a first, Peacock Royal butterfly caught on camera in Maharashtra's Pench Tiger Reserve

Tajuria cippus, commonly known as the Peacock Royal, is a lycaenid butterfly widely distributed across Asia. It typically inhabits forested regions and is indicative of healthy ecosystem diversity.
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 05:47 IST

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Mumbai: The Peacock Royal butterfly (Tajuria cippus) has been captured on camera for the first time inside the Pench Tiger Reserve in Ramtek in Nagpur district of Maharashtra.

Four to five specimens were sighted on a Banyan tree at Mama Tower, located at an elevation of 438 meters above sea level, on 23 May 2024 at 4:00 pm.

“This observation marks the first recorded occurrence of this species in the Pench Tiger Reserve,” said Mandar Pingle, Deputy Director, Satpuda Foundation.

Tajuria cippus, commonly known as the Peacock Royal, is a lycaenid butterfly widely distributed across Asia. It typically inhabits forested regions and is indicative of healthy ecosystem diversity. The species’ range in India has been documented in various works but records from Maharashtra are sparse.

This report adds to the knowledge of its distribution, specifically within Pench Tiger Reserve.

“The observation was incidental, made during a site visit for a camera installation project in Pench Tiger Reserve, rather than during a focused butterfly survey. The location, Mama Tower, has good flora diversity, including large Banyan trees (Ficus benghalensis) that provide a habitat for various butterfly species. The elevation of the site is 438 meters above sea level. Standard butterfly observation protocols were followed post-observation, including visual identification and photographic documentation,” said Pingle.

According to him, this observation represents a significant range extension for Tajuria cippus within Maharashtra.

“Previously, the distribution of this species in the state was not well-documented. The sighting at Pench Tiger Reserve suggests that the reserve’s diverse flora supports this species. This finding highlights the reserve’s role in conserving regional biodiversity and underscores the need for continued biological surveys,” he added.

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Published 31 May 2024, 05:47 IST

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