Butterflies of Eravikulam National Park and its environs in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India

Main Article Content

Kalesh Sadasivan
Toms Augustine
Edayillam Kunhikrishnan
Baiju Kochunarayanan


The Eravikulam National Park (ENP) holds the largest remaining pristine patches of southern montane wet temperate forests and southern montane wet temperate grasslands of peninsular India. The study shows that ENP harbours 198 species of butterflies, constituting 60.73% of the butterflies recorded from Kerala and 59.10% of butterflies observed in Western Ghats (WG). Thirty-five species of butterflies seen in ENP have some level of endemicity associated with them and 22 of them (52.38%) are strictly endemic to WG. Twenty-seven species are under the schedules of Indian Wildlife Act 1972 (WPA) and its amendments. This National Park has montane grassland-Shola dependent super-endemics like Neptis palnica and Telinga davisoni. ENP also holds Parantica nilgiriensis a Near Threatened species and another 11 Western Ghats endemics, namely, Telinga davisoni, T. oculus, Ypthima chenu, Y. ypthimoides, Arnetta mercara, Baracus hampsoni, B. subditus, Thoressa astigmata, T. evershedi, Oriens concinna, and Caltoris canaraica, which are primary grass feeders. Eravikulam, on the Anamalai–High Range–Palni landscape, lies on a major path of the return migration of butterflies to Western Ghats before the north-east monsoons. Although well-protected, the ENP has anthropogenic pressures from tea estates surrounding it, mammal-oriented management practices like controlled burning of primary grasslands, and natural forest fires, that can significantly affect the invertebrate fauna especially montane grassland shola-dependent butterflies.

Article Details



Anonymous (2012). Management Plan of Eravikulam National Park 2012–13 to 2022–23. Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department, 107 pp.

Bhaskar, D., P. Easa, S. Ashtamoorthy, J. Skejo & A. Hochkirch (2019). Large scale burning for a threatened ungulate in a biodiversity hotspot is detrimental for grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Caelifera). Biodiversity and Conservation 28: 3221–3237. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-019-01816-6

Evans, W.H. (1910). A List of the Butterflies of the Palni Hills with descriptions of two new species. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 20: 380–392.

Evans, W.H. (1927).The Identification of Indian butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Madras, xii+302 pp.

Evans, W.H. (1949). A catalogue of the Hesperiidae from Europe, Asia, and Australia in the British Museum (Natural History). British Museum of Natural History, London, 502 pp.

Ferguson, H.S. (1891). A list of the butterflies of Travancore. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 6: 438–448.

Gaonkar, H. (1996). Butterflies of the Western Ghats, India (including Sri Lanka: A Biodiversity Assessment of a Threatened Mountain System). Technical report to Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 51 pp.

Ghorpadé, K. & K. Kunte (2010). Butterflies (Lepidoptera—Rhopalocera) of the Palni Hills, southern Western Ghats in peninsular India: an updated review, with an appreciation of Brigadier W.H. Evans. Colemania 23: 1–19.

Hampson, G.F. (1888). The butterflies of the Nilgiri district, south India. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 47: 346–368.

Palot, M.J. (2012). A note on the migration of Dark Cerulean Jamides bochus (Stoll) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) in Eravikulam National Park, Idukki District, Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4(14): 3373–3374. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3244.3373-4

Kalesh, S. (2019). Report on faunal survey of Munnar Wildlife Division 2018. Munnar Wildlife Division and TNHS, Submitted to Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department, 59 pp.

Kunte, K., S. Sondhi & P. Roy (2022). Butterflies of India, vol 3.28. Indian Foundation for Butterflies. https://www.ifoundbutterflies.org. (Accessed online 15 January 2022)

Larsen, T.B. (1987). The butterflies of the Nilgiri mountains of southern India (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 84(1): 26–54, 84(2): 291–316, 84(3):560–584.

Larsen, T.B. (1988). The butterflies of the Nilgiri mountains of southern India (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 85(1): 26–43.

Mathew G., K. Mohanadas & C.M. Brijesh (2001). Insect fauna of the sholas of Idukki and Wayanad districts, pp. 317–339. In: Nair, K.K.N., S.K. Khanduri & K. Balasubramanian (eds.). Shola Forests of Kerala. Kerala Forest Department and Kerala Forest Research Institute, 453 pp.

Nair, S.C. (1991). The southern Western Ghats: a biodiversity conservation plan. Studies in Ecology and Sustainable Development–4. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural heritage, New Delhi, 92 pp.

Nitin, R., V.C. Balakrishnan, P.V. Churi, S. Kalesh, S. Prakash & K. Kunte (2018). Larval host plants of the butterflies of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 10(4): 11495–11550. http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3104.10.4.11495-11550

Sadasivan, K & A. Sengupta (2022). The butterflies of Western Ghats–their status and distribution. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (in press).

Sankar, S. (2013). Landscape units: A biogeographical approach to the assessment and conservation of biodiversity in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Western Ghats. Proceedings of the National seminar on Western Ghats Biogeography, Biodiversity & Conservation. UGC Sponsored Three Day National Seminar 14th, 15th And 16th Of February 2013. Department of Botany NSS College, Manjeri, Malappuram, Kerala, pp. 15–30.

Sreekumar, E.R., S. Nikhil, K.G. Ajay & P.O. Nameer (2018). Diversity and endemism of butterflies of montane forests of Eravikulam National Park in the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 10(9): 12235–12246. https://doi.org/10.11609/ jott.4201.10.9.12235-12246

Ugarte, E. & L. Rodricks (1960). Butterflies of the Palni Hills: a complementary list. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 57(2): 270–277.

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