Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 June 2016 | 8(6): 8927–8929






A report of False Tibetan Cupid Tongeia pseudozuthus Huang, 2001 (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from the Upper Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh - An addition to the Indian butterfly fauna

Seena N. Karimbumkara 1, Rajkamal Goswami 2 & Purnendu Roy 3

1,2 Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Royal Enclave, Sriramapura, Jakkur Post, Bangalore, Karnataka 560064, India

2 41/1, Vasant Vihar, Centre for Ecology, Development and Research, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248006, India

3 Ganesha, 3 + 4 Gabriel’s Wharf, London SE1 9PP, UK

1, 2 (corresponding author), 3





doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: B.A. Daniel, Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore, India. Date of publication: 26 June 2016 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 2279 | Received 06 September 2015 | Final received 04 June 2016 | Finally accepted 07 June 2016


Citation: Karimbumkara, S.N., R. Goswami & P. Roy (2016). A report of False Tibetan Cupid Tongeia pseudozuthus Huang, 2001 (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from the Upper Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh - An addition to the Indian butterfly fauna. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(6): 8927–8929;


Copyright: © Karimbumkara et al. 2016. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: Self-funded.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: PR thanks Dr. David Lees NHM (B) and Dr, Hao Huang for the identification of the species. SNK and RG thank Monsoon Jyoti Gogoi and Dr. Krushnamegh Kunte for confirming the identification of the species. The authors thank Ms. Vidya Venkatesh for sharing her image of Tongeia kala and Dr. Muneeswaran Mariappan for creating the map. RG thanks Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) for providing the Senior Research Fellowship during duration of this study.




The lycaenid genus Tongeia Tutt, 1908 has 14 valid species distributed in East and South-east Asia. Most of the recent species within this genus have been described from China (D’Abrera 1986, 1993; Bridges 1988; Huang & Chen 2006). The only validated Tongeia species known so far from India is Tongeia kala (Black Cupid), originally described as Everes kala by Marshall & De Niceville (1882). T. kala has been reported from the northeastern region of India (Khasi Hills, Naga Hills and Manipur), to South Shan States of Myanmar and is known to be rare throughout its range (Evans 1932; Wynter-Blyth 1957; Jeratthitikul et al. 2011). The life history and morphology of T. kala was recently described from the northern part of the Chin State of Myanmar (Jeratthitikul et al. 2011). In 2012, T. kala was recorded from Djulekie, Nagaland, India after more than 100 years (Vidya Venkatesh pers comm. 13 August 2015).

Tongeia potanini Alphéraky, 1889 (previously Everes potanini) has been described from Tenasserim, Myanmar. It is distributed in southern and Southeast Asia from Myanmar to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and South China ( It is likely that the species may be present in the far-eastern regions of India, bordering Myanmar and southern China (Tibet). Similarly, Tongeia menpae, which has been recorded from Laohuzui, Metok, (1,500m elevation) in the Dihang/Lower Tsangpo Valley, which is close to Arunachal Pradesh, may also be found within the political boundaries of India. However, there are no known records of these two Tongeia species from India so far.

In this paper we report Tongeia pseudozuthus Huang (2001) from India based on the two recent records, which is described in detail below. This is the only other Tongeia species known so far from India apart from T. kala.

Taxonomic history and salient features of Tongeia pseudozuthus: This species was first described from specimens obtained from Chayu area, southeastern Tibet by Huang (2001) who noted that T. pseudozuthus was, in fact, first collected in 1911 from Chayu in Tibet by Bailey (1912). These specimens were misidentified as T. ion (originally named as Everes ion) and T. zuthus (originally named as Everes xuthus) (South 1913; Huang 2001). South (1913) had also identified E. ion from Kahao and E. xuthus from Minzong whose identification needs to be further checked and verified. Both these places fall within the present day Anjaw District of Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Systematic account of Tongeia pseudozuthus Huang, 2001:

Order: Lepidoptera

Super family: Papilionoidea

Family: Lycaenidae

Sub-family: Polyommatinae

Tribe: Polyomattini

Genus: Tongeia

Species: pseudozuthus

Length of fore-wing of Tongeia pseudozuthus is 11–13 mm. In T. pseudozuthus (False Tibetan Cupid; Image 1a–c) the under hind-wing discal spots are square and beige, but in the similar looking species T. kala (Black Cupid; Image 1d) and Shijimia moorei (Bicolor Cupid), it is round and black.  T. menpae may be separate from T. pseudozuthus by the discal band not being joined with the sub-marginal band. The mainly black under hind-wing basal spots are a distinctive character for this species and separate it from its close Chinese allies. Details of the separation of T. pseudozuthus, based on morphology and genital (both male and female) characteristics from the other closely related species such as T. zuthus, T. ion and T. amplifascia has been described in detail by (Huang 2001).

Reporting Tongeia pseudozuthus from India: The most recent record of this species from India, both from Ithun Valley, Upper Dibang Valley District, come from collections made on 16 August 1987 by PR (Purnendu Roy) and from an individual sighted and photographed by SNK (Seena Narayanan Karimbumkara) (Image 1a) on 10 June 2013. These records from India forms the first report of this species 74 and 100 years after the last collections made in 1913. The specimen collected by PR is deposited in the Lepidoptera Collection at Natural History Museum, London (Image 1b,c).









PR, who collected it at an approximate altitude of 1,067m, had tentatively identified his single specimen as Everes sp. However, it was in 2012 that the Indian specimen deposited at the Natural History Museum, London was compared against Tongeia pseudozuthus after which it was confirmed to be the same. Within a year, on 10 June 2013, SNK recorded this species from Mishmi Hills between Mayodia and Hunli on the side of the main road approximately 5km from the Hunli settlement. A single individual was spotted on a rock near a small hill stream. The habitat was disturbed, with a state highway passing right through it.

During our visit, road improvement and widening activity was on-going, which escalated the disturbance levels.  The recorded altitude of the site of collection, as per the hand-held Garmin GPS 60 CSX, at 3m accuracy, was 1,450 m (Fig. 1). The butterfly took off straight almost vertically upwards in a single flight movement and although we waited for a good 30 mins for it to come back, it never returned. We returned to the same spot the next day and searched the adjoining areas, but were not able to locate any individuals of the species. The surrounding forest around the stream has been classified as sub-tropical broad leaved evergreen forests, typical of mid-elevation areas of eastern Himalaya (Champion & Seth 1968).

Conclusion: Our report of the Tongeia pseudozuthus from two individuals, both from the Upper Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, adds a species to the existing butterfly fauna of India. The Upper Dibang Valley, like most part of Arunachal Pradesh, is remote and remains one of the least explored regions of India in terms of butterfly fauna. Detailed surveys are strongly recommended, particularly within its vast dense forest tracts, which would likely reveal numerous important and significant butterfly records.





Bailey, F.M. (1912). Journey through a Portion of South-Eastern Tibet and the Mishmi Hills. The Geographical Journal 39: 334–347;

Bridges, C.A. (1988). Catalogue of Lycaenidae & Riodinidae (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). IIV. Appendix I, II. Charles A. Bridges, Urbana, Illinois.

Champion, H.G. & S.K. Seth (1968). A Revised Survey of Forest Types of India. Government of India, New Delhi, 404pp.

D’Abrera, B. (1986). Butterflies of the Oriental Region, Part III. Lycaenidae and Riodinidae. Hill House, Melbourne, Australia, 672pp.

D’Abrera, B. (1993). Butterflies of the Holarctic Region, Part III. Nymphalidae (concl.), Libytheidae, Pieridae, Riodinidae and Lycaenidae. Hill House, Melbourne, Australia, 524pp.

Evans, W.H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies. 2nd Edition. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay, India, 454pp.

Huang, H. (2001). Report of H. Huang’s 2000 Expedition to SE. Tibet for Rhopalocera Neue Entomologische Nachrichten 51: 65–152.

Huang, H. & Z. Chen (2006). A new species of Tongeia Tutt, [1908] from northeast Yunnan, China (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Atalanta 37(1/2): 184–190.

Jeratthitikul, E., M. Yago, H. Shizuya, J. Yokoyama & T. Hikida (2011). Life History and Morphology of the black Cupid butterfly, Tongeia kala (De Nicéville) (Lycaenidae), from Myanmar. Journal of the Lepidopterists Society 65: 167–174;

Marshall, G.F.L. & L. De Niceville (1882). The Butterflies of India, Burmah and Ceylon. A descriptive handbook of all the known species of rhopalocerous Lepidoptera inhabiting that region, with notices of allied species occurring in the neighbouring countries along the border; with numerous illustrations. Calcutta Central Press, Calcutta, India.

South, R. (1913). A list of butterflies collected by Captain F.M. Bailey in western China, south-eastern Tibet, and the Mishmi Hills, 1911. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 22: 345–615.

Wynter-Blyth, M.A. (1957). Butterflies of the Indian Region. The Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay, India, 523pp.