Delhi’s annual butterfly census has documented 75 butterfly species in the city’s seven biodiversity parks. The census, conducted from 30 October to 4 November, recorded the first geographical record of the rare Blank Swift butterfly in the Aravalli Biodiversity Park.
The Plain Tiger was the most frequently sighted species, with a count of 1,119 butterflies. Other species recorded in significant numbers included the Yellow Orange Tip, Lemon Pansy, Common Gull, Zebra Blue, Rounded Pierrot, Striped Tiger, Common Emigrant, and the Common Grass Yellow. Individuals of all five butterfly families of India were recorded during this survey.
The Blank Swift butterfly is a rare species to the Northern Plains. It comes from the family of skipper butterflies and is commonly seen in high humidity areas.
Aravalli Biodiversity Park reported the highest number of species (65) of butterflies in the census, maintaining its previous year’s record. It is closely followed by the Northern Ridge (Kamala Nehru Ridge) with 48 species.
The census, conducted by the Centre for Environment Management of Degraded Ecosystems of Delhi University and the Delhi Development Authority, aims to assess butterfly species, their population, and habitat suitability.
Delhi’s Biodiversity Parks lie within two major habitats – the Yamuna river basin, an ideal habitat for the skipper group of butterflies, and the Aravalli hill ranges, a dense canopy providing protective homes for several species of butterflies. This habitat heterogeneity facilitates high diversity of butterfly species across the city.