RESEARCH: BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF INDIAN BUTTERFLIES
One of the long-term goals of our lab is to study the ecology and patterns of diversification, endemism, and evolution of Indian butterflies. Migration, seasonal population dynamics, biogeography, phylogeography, community structure and mimicry are some of the areas in which we have ongoing projects.
We have started a modern research collection of Indian butterflies, with associated geo-referenced data and DNA library, which we are using for our phylogenetic, phylogeographic, taxonomic, conservation genetics and conservation prioritization work on Indian butterflies.
We are also spear-heading the continually updated and expanding website on Indian butterflies.
Revisit this page since we will keep adding information about ongoing and new projects on Indian butterflies here.
Selected Publications (also see our complete list of publications):
Joshi, J., A. Prakash, and K. Kunte. 2017. Evolutionary assembly of communities in butterfly mimicry rings. The American Naturalist, in press.
Sondhi, S., and K. Kunte. 2016. Butterflies (Lepidoptera) of the Kameng Protected Area Complex, western Arunachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 8:9053-9124. PDF file (9MB, includes colour plates).
Jain, A., K. Kunte, and E. L. Webb. 2016. Flower specialization of butterflies and impacts of non-native flower use in a transformed tropical landscape. Biological Conservation, 201:184–191. PDF file (712KB).
Su, S., M. Lim, and K. Kunte. 2015. Prey from the eyes of predators: colour discriminability of aposematic and mimetic butterflies from an avian visual perspective. Evolution, 69:2985-2994. PDF file (650KB; or PDF file with supporting information, 1.1MB). This work was featured on the cover of the journal issue, and in several popular science news stories in PhysOrg, EurekAlert, The Hindu, The Statesman, and NCBS News, among others.
Kunte, K. 2015. A new species of Hypolycaena (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from Arunachal Pradesh, north-eastern India. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera, 48:21-27. PDF file (3.8MB, has colour images of the types and other specimens). See the press release or popular science coverage of this paper in The Hindu, The Telegraph, National Geographic Traveller India and Times of India, among many others.
Toussaint, E. F. A., J. Morinière, C. J. Müller, K. Kunte, B. Turlin, A. Hausmann, and M. Balke. 2015. Comparative molecular species delimitation in the charismatic Nawab butterflies (Nymphalidae, Charaxinae, Polyura). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 91:194-209. PDF file (7.2MB).
Kunte, K., W. Zhang, A. Tenger-Trolander, D. H. Palmer, A. Martin, R. D. Reed, S. P. Mullen, and M. R. Kronforst. 2014. doublesex is a mimicry supergene. Nature, 507:229-232. PDF file (1.2MB). Read more about the story on this webpage. See popular science coverage of this paper in Nature, Nature India, Science, NCBS News, The Scientist, National Geographic's Phenomena blog, Mongabay, New York Times, The Hindu, and ScienceDaily.
Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, G. Agavekar, R. Lovalekar, and K. Tokekar. 2013. Final notes on the identification and misidentification of butterflies of the Garo Hills. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 5:5019-5020. PDF file (4.7MB, has a color figure).
Kunte, K., G. Agavekar, S. Sondhi, R. Lovalekar, and K. Tokekar. 2013. On the identification and misidentification of butterflies of the Garo Hills. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 5:4616-4620. PDF file (3.2MB, has color figures).
Kunte, K. 2012. Biogeographic origins and habitat use of the butterflies of the Western Ghats, south-western India. In D. R. Priyadarshan, K. A. Subramanian, M. S. Devy & N. A. Aravind (eds.) Invertebrates in the Western Ghats - Diversity and Conservation. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru. In press. PDF file (315KB).
Rai, S., K. D. Bhutia, and Kunte, K. 2012. Recent sightings of two very rare butterflies, Lethe margaritae Elwes, 1882 and Neptis nycteus de Nicéville, 1890, from Sikkim, eastern Himalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 4:3319-3326. PDF file (5 MB, has color figures and maps).
Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, B. M. Sangma, R. Lovalekar, K. Tokekar, and G. Agavekar. 2012. Butterflies of the Garo Hills of Meghalaya, northeastern India: Their diversity and conservation. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 4:2933-2992. PDF file (8MB, has a color map and 16 color plates).
Kunte, K. 2010. Rediscovery of the federally protected Scarce Jester Butterfly Symbrenthia silana de Nicéville, 1885 (Nymphalidae: Nymphalinae) from the Eastern Himalaya and Garo Hills, northeastern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 2:858-866. PDF file (5.8MB, has color figures and a map).
Roy, A. B., U. Ghosh and K. Kunte. 2010. Sighting of Elymnias panthera (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) in West Bengal, eastern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 2:670-671. PDF file (135KB, has a color photograph).
Kunte, K. and A. Tiple. 2009. The Polyommatine wing pattern elements and seasonal polyphenism of the Indian Chilades pandava butterfly (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). News of the Lepidopterists' Society, 51:86-88 and 109. PDF file (2.8MB, has color photographs).
Tiple, A., D. Agashe, A. M. Khurad and K. Kunte. 2009. Population dynamics and seasonal polyphenism of Chilades pandava butterfly (Lycaenidae) in central India. Current Science, 97:1774-1779. PDF file (262KB, includes a color figure). Also featured in "In This Issue" (PDF file, 45KB) and on the cover.
Larsen, T. B., R. I. Vane-Wright, K. Kunte and V. Nazari. 2009. Case 3488. Papilio danae Fabricius, 1775 (currently Colotis danae; Insecta, Lepidoptera, Pieridae): proposed conservation of prevailing usage by the suppression of Papilio danae Hufnagel, 1766. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, 66:250-255. PDF file (74KB).
Kunte, K. 2008. The Wildlife (Protection) Act and conservation prioritization of butterflies of the Western Ghats, southwestern India. Current Science, 94:729-735. PDF file (132KB). Also featured in "In This Issue" (PDF file, 30KB) and on the cover. A PDF file of this article with an appendix giving the conservation values of all the Western Ghats butterfly species may be downloaded here (PDF file, 300KB).
Kunte, K. 2005. Species composition, sex-ratio and movement patterns in danaine butterfly migrations in southern India. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society, 102:280-286. PDF file (700KB).
Kunte, K. 2000. Butterflies of Peninsular India. Universities Press (Hyderabad) and Indian Academy of Sciences (Bangalore). First fascicle from "India: A Lifescape", series editor: Madhav Gadgil.
Kunte, K. J., A. P. Joglekar, G. Utkarsh, and P. Pramod. 1999. Patterns of butterfly, bird and tree diversity in the Western Ghats. Current Science, 77:577-586. PDF file (7.6MB).
Kunte, K. J. 1997. Seasonal patterns in butterfly abundance and species diversity in four tropical habitats in northern Western Ghats. Journal of Biosciences, 22:593-603. PDF file (220KB).