Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 May 2016 | 8(5): 8756–8776

A partial checklist of moths (Lepidoptera) of Dehradun, Mussoorie and Devalsari in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India


Yash Sondhi 1 & Sanjay Sondhi 2


1 Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, CET Campus, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695016, India

1,2 Titli Trust, Villa 49, Rajpur Road Enclave, Dhoran Khas, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001, India

1 (corresponding author), 2



doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: Ian J. Kitching, Natural History Museum, London, U.K. Date of publication: 26 May 2016 (online & print)

Manuscript details: Ms # 3084 | Received 14 May 2015 | Final received 17 March 2016 | Finally accepted 10 April 2016

Citation: Sondhi, Y. & S. Sondhi (2016). A partial checklist of moths (Lepidoptera) of Dehradun, Mussoorie and Devalsari in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(5): 8756–8776;

Copyright: © Sondhi & Sondhi 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: Funding for field work was provided by Titli Trust.

Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.

Author Details: Yash Sondhi is an integrated Masters student at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Trivandrum in his 4th year. He has been interested on Lepidoptera taxonomy since his childhood and is now focusing on taxonomy and behavior of Indian moths. He is also a member of Titli Trust, Dehradun. Sanjay Sondhi is a Dehradun-based naturalist, and Founder Trustee, Titli Trust, Dehradun ( He works on conservation research and action, and conservation education in the Himalaya, with a special focus on Lepidoptera.

Author Contribution: YS conducted the initial field work, primarily in 2011 and 2012, surveyed and identified the moths, wrote the manuscript and prepared the tables, plates and figures. SS in addition to assisting in the initial surveys also conducted surveys in 2013 and 2014, identified the moths and reviewed the manuscript.

Acknowledgements: The authors wish to acknowledge the support received from the Moths of India email group, including the members Ian Kitching and Peter Smetacek for help with moth identifications. Additionally, we wish to thank the reviewers who provided some useful comments on previous versions of this manuscript; Anchal Sondhi, who assisted in the field work; Dr. Dhananjai Mohan, APCCF, Uttarakhand Forest Department and Dr. Karthik Vasudevan, LACONES, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, for their inputs designing the study; and Dr. Arun Pratap Singh, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, for his suggestions and assistance in obtaining some of the required moth related literature.



Abstract: Two-hundred-and-forty-eight species of moths were recorded during surveys conducted over 40 nights in Dehradun and Mussoorie in Dehradun District and Devalsari in Tehri Garhwal District in Uttarakhand.


Keywords: Biodiversity, Erebidae, Geometridae, range extension, western Himalaya.





The moth diversity of Uttarakhand is poorly studied. Although Smetacek (1994, 2008, 2009, 2011) has studied moths in the Nainital District in Kumaon for more than 30 years, studies in Garhwal are limited. Roonwal et al. (1963) listed the Lepidoptera fauna in the entomological collection of the Forest Research Institute, which has numerous moth species collected from Garhwal. Arora et al. (1977) collected moths during a Swiss Expedition and listed 45 moth species. Arora (1997) also reported on moth surveys from Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. More recently, Sanyal et al. (2013) and Uniyal et al. (2013) studied the entomofauna of the Gangotri landscape, listing 468 moth species. The present study, conducted in Dehradun, Mussoorie and the surrounding areas, over a four-year period through systematic and opportunistic surveys, seeks to build further on the meagre published information of the moths of the Garhwal region.



Materials and Methods


The partial checklist of moths presented in this paper is based on both systematic and opportunistic surveys that were conducted primarily in Dehradun, Mussoorie, and Devalsari over a period of four years, 2011–2014, with forty nights of survey covering all months except January and April (Table 2). Moths were not collected but were primarily identified using digital colour photographs.

The study sites (Table 1) for the systematic surveys were Malsi Range Colony, Danda Lokhand, Dhoran Khas and Welham Girls’ School, in and around Dehradun City. In addition, moths were opportunistically surveyed within Rajaji National Park at the following sites: Chilla, Rasulpur and Asarodi. In Mussoorie, moths were surveyed at the Padmini Nivas Hotel, Jabberkhet and Bata Ghat near Woodstock School. All these locations are in the Dehradun District, Uttarakhand. Devalsari Reserved Forest, which is 50km from Mussoorie in Tehri Garhwal District, was also surveyed for moths. Other than Jabberkhet and Bata Ghat in Mussoorie, which were surveyed exclusively by day, all other localities were surveyed primarily at night using a 160W mercury vapour bulb and a white cloth screen, although there are several records from random sampling during the day from these locations. The study sites are shown in Fig. 1.

Available literature was used to identify moths, which included Moore (1882), Hampson (1892–1896), Bell & Scott (1937), Barlow (1982), Holloway (1983–2011), Haruta (1992–2000), Pinratana & Lampe (1990), Robinson et al. (1994), Inoue et al. (1996), Allen (1993), Kendrick (2002), Kononenko & Pinratana (2005), Zolotuhin & Pinratana (2005), Schintlmeister & Pinratana (2007), and Pinratana & Cerny (2009). The classification system used by van Nieukerken et al. (2011) has been followed. Many moth species need examination of genitalia for confirmation of their identity; hence species identities that could not be confirmed only through photographs, have been provisionally identified.









Results and Discussion

During the study, 215 moth species were identified to the species level and another 33 to genus level (Table 3, Images 1–250). All moths in the checklist are illustrated in Images 1–250. All the photographs were taken by the two authors. Moths from the families Geometridae, Erebidae and Crambidae were the most numerous (Table 4). Some interesting records made during the survey, which are range extensions, are discussed below.

YS recorded the sphingid, Theretra griseomarginata (Hampson, 1898), from Malsi, Dehradun on 1 July 2011. The known distribution of this species is Kumaon eastwards through Nepal and northeast India (Bell 1937; Allen 1993; Smetacek 2008). There is no record of this species from Garhwal Himalaya in the Forest Research Institute collection (Roonwal et al. 1963). This represents the westernmost record for this species, extending its known range by over 200km, and is the first record from Garhwal Himalaya.

On 2 October 2014, SS recorded Corymica deducta caustolomaria form wirthi (Walker, 1866) at Devalsari Forest Rest House. This form was described from Kumaon (Smetacek 2004). This species extends eastwards to eastern Himalaya (Sikkim) and hills of northeast India (Khasi Hills, Meghalaya). It has also been recorded from Kerala (Hampson 1895). This is the first record of this species and form from Garhwal Himalaya.

YS recorded a male Macotasa tortricoides (Walker, 1862) from Malsi on 22 June 2011. SS recorded the same species from Rajaji on 1 November 2011. The male is very different from other species in the genus. M. costalis is the only species known from this region (Pinratana & Cerny 2009). Originally a Bornean endemic, this is the second published record for India, the only other record being from Goa (Singh et al. 2013).

YS recorded Teulisna protuberans (Moore, 1878) on 29 June 2011 from Danda Lokhand. The current Indian distribution is Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal (Singh et al. 2014); it is also known from Bhutan and Thailand (Pinratana & Cerny 2009). Previously, the only known species of this genus from northern India was T. nebulosa, which has very different forewing markings. This is the first record of this moth from western Himalaya and is a significant range extension.

SS recorded Anaplectoides cf. tamsi (Boursin, 1955) on 3 Oct 2014 from Devalsari. There are three species in the genus which are difficult to separate without examining the genitalia, Anaplectoides inexpectata (Dierl, 1983), A. tamsi (Boursin, 1955) and A. virens (Butler, 1878). The first two species have been recorded and described from Nepal, and A. virens has been described from Japan but has also been recorded in Darjeeling, the Amur area and China (Dierl 1983). Although the individual recorded during the survey could be any of these three species, none of them have been previously recorded from Uttarakhand.

While this checklist is by no means comprehensive, it aims to provide an insight into the moth diversity of Dehradun and the surrounding areas, and act as a baseline for more detailed and comprehensive studies of the moths of this region.









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