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Golden Birdwing: India's Largest Butterfly

  • 08 Jul 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, a Himalayan butterfly known as Golden Birdwing (Troides aeacus) has been discovered as India’s largest butterfly after 88 years.

  • It has replaced an unknown specimen which a british army officer Brigadier Evans had recorded in 1932.

Key Points

  • Discovery:
    • The female was recorded from Didihat in Uttarakhand, the male was from the Wankhar Butterfly Museum in Shillong, Meghalaya.
  • Characteristics:
    • With a wingspan of 194 mm, the female of the species is marginally larger than the Southern Birdwing (190 mm).
      • Earlier, the largest Indian butterfly that was recorded in 1932 was an individual of the Southern Birdwing (Troides minos), which was then treated as a subspecies of the Common Birdwing (Troides helena).
      • However, the specimen that Evans measured was unknown and no other butterfly measured as much as the 190 mm that he recorded.
    • The male Golden Birdwing is much smaller at 106 mm.
  • Measurement: The only measurement used in the study of Lepidoptera is wingspan in which butterflies are measured from the wing base to the tip.


  • Butterflies are insects from the order Lepidoptera of phylum Arthropoda which also includes moths.
  • Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight.
  • Significance:
    • Rich Biodiversity: Abundance of butterflies in any area represents the rich biodiversity.
    • Indicator Species: The butterfly acts as an indicator species.
      • An indicator species provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem and of other species in that ecosystem. They reflect the quality and changes in environmental conditions as well as aspects of community composition.
    • Pollinator: It acts as a pollinator by helping in pollination and conserving several species of plants.

Southern Birdwing

Source: TH

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