Rare Dusted Apollo Butterfly Discovered in Himachal Pradesh, Signaling Biodiversity Boost

Rare Dusted Apollo Butterfly Discovered in Himachal Pradesh, Signaling Biodiversity Boost

The Dusted Apollo (Parnassius stenosemus), a rare high-altitude butterfly, was recently sighted and photographed for the first time in Himachal Pradesh. This discovery highlights the flourishing diversity of Apollo butterflies in the region, marking a significant moment for butterfly enthusiasts.

Discovery Details

The butterfly was encountered in September 2023 during a trek to Manimahesh Lake in Chamba by Gajinder Verma and Abinash Thakur, both forest guards of Chamba Forest Circle, Himachal Pradesh Forest Department. The Dusted Apollo species was originally discovered in the year 1890.

Species Distribution

The distribution range of Dusted Apollo spans from Ladakh to West Nepal, and it is known to fly between 3,500 to 4,800 meters in the inner Himalayas.


The Dusted Apollo is exceptionally rare, and this particular sighting marks the first time it has been photographed in Himachal Pradesh. Butterfly expert Lovish Garlani, associated with the State Forest Department, provided insights into its identification. He mentioned that the Dusted Apollo closely resembles the Ladakh Banded Apollo (Parnnasius stoliczkanus), but key differences include the complete discal band on the upper forewing and a narrower dark marginal band on the hind wings in the Dusted Apollo.

Additional Rare Species

Apart from the Dusted Apollo, another rare species, the Regal Apollo (Parnnasius charltonius), was also photographed at Manimahesh. This species is protected under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Importance of Apollo Butterflies

Apollo butterflies are commercially valuable and are often targeted in the poaching industry. There are 11 Apollo species recorded in Himachal Pradesh, with five of them designated as Scheduled species.

Conservation Measures

Lovish Garlani emphasizes the urgent need for conservation efforts, given the endangered status of most Apollo butterflies. He suggests raising community awareness about poaching and the importance of these species. Additionally, he proposes the establishment of butterfly parks and conservation reserves in the state as crucial steps for their protection.

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) with Answers:

  1. When was the Dusted Apollo butterfly sighted in Himachal Pradesh?
    • A) August 2023
    • B) September 2023
    • C) October 2023
    • D) November 2023
    • Answer: B) September 2023
  2. Who discovered the Dusted Apollo during the trek to Manimahesh Lake?
    • A) Butterfly experts
    • B) Tourists
    • C) Forest guards
    • D) Researchers
    • Answer: C) Forest guards
  3. What is the distribution range of Dusted Apollo?
    • A) Ladakh to East Nepal
    • B) Ladakh to West Nepal
    • C) Himachal Pradesh to Bhutan
    • D) Jammu to Uttarakhand
    • Answer: B) Ladakh to West Nepal
  4. How does Dusted Apollo differ from Ladakh Banded Apollo?
    • A) Larger size
    • B) Complete discal band on upper forewing
    • C) Broad dark marginal band on hind wings
    • D) Both B and C
    • Answer: D) Both B and C
  5. Which butterfly species, protected under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, was also photographed at Manimahesh?
    • A) Dusted Apollo
    • B) Regal Apollo
    • C) Ladakh Banded Apollo
    • D) Common Apollo
    • Answer: B) Regal Apollo