Cigaritis meghamalaiensis

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The pristine hills of the Meghamalai in Tamil Nadu have thrown up a new species of ‘silverline’ butterflies.

About Cigaritis meghamalaiensis

  • It is the new species of butterfly.
  • It has become the first butterfly species to be described from the Western Ghats in 33 years.
  • The researchers had first come across the distinct species belonging to the Cigaritis genus in the high elevations of Periyar in Idukki in 2018.
  • Further explorations have revealed the species to be confined to the Meghamalais and the adjoining Periyar Tiger Reserve. 
  • Appearance
    • The discal and post-discal bands on the forewing underside of the adult butterfly are conjoined and lie parallel from their origin at the costa.
    • The unique feature distinguishes the new species from all other Cigaritis occurring in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka
  • There are seven species of Cigaritisin the Western Ghats, viz., C. vulcanus, C. schistacea, C. ictis, C. elima elima, C. lohita lazularia, C. lilacinus, and C. abnormis. Of these, all except C. lilacinus have been reported from the southern Western Ghats.

Key facts about Periyar Tiger Reserve

  • It is located in the Western Ghats of Kerala.
  • It gets its name from the River Periyar, which has its origin deep inside the reserve.
  • Two main rivers, Pamba and Periyar, drain the reserve.
  • It is home to many tribal communities, including the Mannans and the Palians.
  • Vegetation: It consists of tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous.
  • Flora: Teak, mangoes, rosewood, jamun, jacarandas, terminalias, tamarind, royal ponciana, bamboos etc.
  • Fauna: Includes Elephants, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Gaur, Mouse Deer, Dole or Barking Deer, Indian Wild Dog and Tiger etc.

Q1) What is Pollination?

It is the delivery of pollen to the female organs of a plant (stigma in flowers). Pollen is made by the male organs of a plant (stamens in flowers) and contains genetic information needed for plant reproduction. Pollen may be transferred to female organs on the same plant (self-pollination) or another plant of the same species (cross-pollination). As a result of pollination the plants produce seeds.

Source: Meghamalai Hills present a new winged beauty