Thursday 5 March 2020

Himalayan butterfly found in Fujairah - via Mark Raines

Published Sunday, March 01, 2020

Another new butterfly species has been added to the UAE list by locally-based naturalist Binish Roobas – this time a Himalayan species, the Indian Fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius). It was found in the wild in Wadi Wurayah National Park, WWNP, in Fujairah earlier this month.

This latest discovery brings the UAE butterfly total to 58 species. The record may also be a first for Arabia.

The Indian Fritillary is common in the Himalayan regions of Northern India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal, and it has also been found in southern Iran. Now a small number have made their way to Wadi Wurayah, where Roobas was able to photograph both a male and female of the species.

The butterfly was discovered during a visit to update earlier surveys of plant and insect diversity in Wadi Wurayah, following the exceptional fall and winter rains. Joining Roobas in the field were Gary Feulner, Chairman of the Dubai Natural History Group, Sami Ullah Majeed, WWNP Park Ranger, and Nuri Asmita, a WWNP biologist.

The new species is an opportunistic migrant that probably arrived to take advantage of the favourable conditions created by abundant rainfall from October until January. It is unlikely that they will remain for the UAE summer.

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