A female golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly (L) and a male one perch on a flowering plant together at the Daiyunshan National Nature Reserve in Dehua county, southeast China's Fujian Province. (Photo from Quanzhoutong app)
Recently, seven butterflies of the golden Kaiser-i-Hind, or Teinopalpus aureus, a butterfly species under first-class state protection in China, were simultaneously spotted at the Daiyunshan National Nature Reserve in Dehua county, southeast China's Fujian Province.
It marks the first time that seven golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterflies have been discovered at the same time in the country, according to a staff member of the reserve's management bureau.
Staff members of the reserve's management bureau also created several "firsts" in terms of the species in the country, including capturing a rare picture of a female golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly and a male one perching on a flowering plant together, as well as a picture of four golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterflies perching on a flowering plant together.
Dubbed the "butterfly queen," the golden Kaiser-i-Hind is considered to be one of the eight rarest butterfly species in the world. It mainly inhabits forests at an altitude of about 1,000 meters in the subtropical zone or the tropical zone, and requires high quality standards for habitat.
According to Chen Wenwei, director of the science and education department under the management bureau of the Daiyunshan National Nature Reserve, the species has rarely been seen at the reserve for nearly 10 years since 2013. Chen introduced that the reserve made a specimen of a female golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly.
The reserve boasts a well-protected natural environment and maintains an abundance of host plants for the golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterflies.
In early August of this year, staff members of the reserve's management bureau and two butterfly experts discovered the golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterflies on a hilltop in the reserve.
"From then on, we went to the reserve to observe the species every day," Chen said, adding that they finally found the species' habitats according to the distribution of their host plants.
Chen introduced that when staff members of the reserve's management bureau found a male golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly, killed by its natural enemy, they made the butterfly into a specimen, making the management bureau the first organization that owns a specimen of a female golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly and a specimen of a male one in Fujian Province.
Staff members of the reserve's management bureau have found golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly eggs at the nature reserve and have carried out observation of the larvae of the species.
"After we discovered golden Kaiser-i-Hind butterflies in the reserve, we have enhanced protection of their habitats," said Li Wenzhou, deputy director of the reserve's management bureau, adding that they will continue to monitor the species and conduct related research.
Butterfly experts said that the findings of the reserve's research team this time are of important significance to the protection of biodiversity at the reserve in the future.