A rare butterfly, Chenkannan Tavitan (Red-Eye Bushbrown), has been spotted at Paithalmala in Kannur district.

Chief Conservator of Forests (Northern Circle) D.K. Vinod Kumar told The Hindu that endemic to the Western Ghats, the butterfly is commonly found over 1,200 metres above sea level. They were previously reported in some parts of Wayanad.

Mostly found in areas north of the Palakkad Pass, Red-Eye Bushbrown is evolutionarily relevant. The life cycle of this butterfly, which lays eggs in grass, has not yet been scientifically described, he said.

Mr. Kumar said the species was spotted by a team of observers comprising V.C. Balakrishnan, Girish Mohan P.K., and Rajendran T.M., and Paithalmala Eco Tourism watcher Menom Veettil Antony.

Besides, the team found rare butterflies like Travancore Twilight Butterfly and Coorg Forest Hopper.

V. Ratheesan, Taliparamba range officer, said the discovery of the species underscored the ecological significance of Paithalmala, a major tourist destination.