Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 March 2022 | 14(3): 20798–20800
ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print)
#7802 | Received 24 December 2021 | Final received 07 March 2022 | Finally accepted 14 March 2022
First record of Doherty’s Dull Oakblue Arhopala khamti Doherty, 1891 from upper Assam, India
Arun Pratap Singh
Entomology Branch, Forest Protection Division, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248006, India.
Doherty’s Dull Oakblue Arhopala khamti Doherty, 1891 is distributed from Sikkim through Assam, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Hainan (China) and is considered a ‘rare species’ (Evans 1932; Inayoshi 1996–2022). It is identified and differentiated from its congener Hewitson’s Dull Oakblue A. oenea (Hewitson, ) in having black tornal lobe with prominent green scales on under hindwing, absent in the latter (Evans 1957) (Image 1a&b). Additionally, A. khamti is dark blue purple with a 0.5 mm border from upper side, while A. oenea being violet blue with 1.5 mm border (Image 1c). Otherwise, both the species superficially look alike and have an overlapping distribution range in northeastern India, and sometimes considered ecological subspecies, being seen together in northeastern India (Evans 1957; Inayoshi 1996–2022). However, A. oenea also occurs further west in the Himalaya up to Uttarakhand through Nepal (Evans 1932; Wynter-Blyth 1957; Smith 2006; Gasse 2013; Kehimkar 2016) and is protected under Schedule II, Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Anonymous 2006). Specimens of A. khamti have been collected from Sikkim and Assam (India) and Chittagong (Bangladesh) (Gasse 2013). There are recent records of A. khamti from Pakke Tiger Reserve (13 October 2013 & 28 September 2018) and Namdapha National Park (04 March 2014) in Arunachal Pradesh (Anonymous 2021). Besides, it has also been reported from Barail Wildlife Sanctuary in Cachar hills in southern Assam (Gogoi et al. 2016).
During random sampling surveys carried out on 01 October 2021 in Shibari (26.7926N & 94.6737E; ~180m; Image 2), near Nazira, Shivasagar district, Assam, India the author recorded at least six individuals of the species. The habitat was the middle and understory of semi-evergreen forest in remnant forest patches in between tea gardens and paddy fields along the homesteads of upper Assam. The habitat was shared with Centuar Oakblue, Arhopala centaurus pirithous (Moore, ) which was quite common in the area. This the first authentic record of this species from upper Assam as there are no previous records from this area in published literature or museum specimens (Doherty 1889; Bettes 1950; Gogoi 2013, 2015; Singh et al. 2015; Neog 2015; Bourah & Das 2017; Konwar & Bortamuly 2021). The location of the current record bridges the gap along the Patkai hills in its distribution range, as the present record lies in between Cachar hills in southern Assam and Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh. The affinity of this species with the Indo-Burma hotspot highlights the importance of these remnant forest patches of upper Assam which still harbor these rare species of conservation priority.
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