Zoological Survey of India Releases Comprehensive Guide to Lepidoptera

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has unveiled a publication titled “An Illustrated Guide to the Lepidoptera of India: Taxonomic Procedures, Family Characters, Diversity, and Distribution.” A press release on this launch was issued on March 22, 2024.

Authored by experts including Dr. Dhriti Banerjee, Director of ZSI, along with Dr. Navneet Singh, Dr. Rahul Joshi, Dr. P. C. Pathania from ZSI, and renowned Lepidoptera expert Dr. R.C. Kendrick from Hong Kong, this book represents a significant milestone in the field of lepidopterology.

History of the Compendium

Its genesis can be traced back to the 6th Asian Lepidoptera Conservation Symposium hosted by ZSI in 2019. There, the necessity for a comprehensive guidebook was fervently discussed. This guidebook aids both amateurs and professionals in the study of lepidoptera. Initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, the project saw continuous updates and revisions. These updates spanned over four years, and finally culminated in the publication of this resource.

Notable Features of the Book

Moreover, the book serves as a compendium of diagnostic characters for all families and superfamilies of Butterflies and Moths found in India. It provides insights into taxonomic procedures, collection methods, laboratory identification techniques, and distribution patterns of lepidopteran species globally. Notably, the guide features contributions from esteemed authors such as Paul Waring, Mark Sterling, Gaurab Nandi Das, and Martin Konvicka. Thus, it offers readers a blend of academic depth and practical field guidance.

Another distinguishing feature of the book lies in its blend of technical expertise and accessible natural history field guide style. Thus, it caters to a wide range of readers. Particularly, for India, this illustrated guide represents the first of its kind, offering a comprehensive overview of the diverse world of Lepidoptera. The guide updates the global diversity of Lepidoptera to 166,320 species, with India alone hosting 13,124 species across 101 families and 31 superfamilies.

Of particular significance is the rectification of a taxonomic anomaly, with the authors identifying and describing a new family of Lepidoptera, Heliocosmidae, within the pages of this publication.

The release of of this book marks a significant advancement in our understanding of butterfly and moth diversity, taxonomy, and conservation efforts.