Butterfly Watching in Nepal

Not many visitors to Nepal are aware that it is home to a massive variety of delicate and colorful butterfly species. In fact, the study of butterflies in Nepal has been ongoing for the last 150 years, and has revealed a collection of butterflies that is said to be one of the best in the world. It was the British who first showed an interest in collecting and documenting the butterfly species of the country, after which the Japanese began where the British left off in 1950. All the research done finally resulted in the founding of the Natural History Museum in Swayambhu, in the year 1974, by the Tribhuvan University.

Up until now, 643 species of butterflies have been recorded in Nepal, but scientist say that there could be more, as over the years new species have appeared, such as the Sikkim Hairstreak and Blue Duchess which were discovered in 1981 and the Chinese Hairstreak in 1986. There are certain regions in Nepal where the concentrations of butterflies are higher, depending on which habitat the butterflies prefer, such as in the Kathmandu Valley, Swyambhu, Nagarkot, Phulchowki, Godavari and Sundarijal, to name a few. Within the Kathmandu Valley, butterfly enthusiasts will also be able to catch a glimpse of twenty species of butterfly that are on the endangered list. There are also recommended times of the year to view the butterflies, ranging from March to October, however there are butterflies all year round. Some of the wonderful butterflies to look forward to include the Common Brimstone, Indian Oakblue, Least Grass Jewel, Purple Sapphire Circe, Chocolate Albatross, Great Eggfly and the Great Orange Tip. More information can be obtained from Nepal’s Natural History Museum.

Visitors to Nepal who want to enjoy the experience of catching a glimpse of these breathtaking creatures can book a guided tour with tour operators who will be able to escort visitors to the locations with the most butterfly activity. A planned tour includes a knowledgeable guide, permits and passes to the butterflies, accommodation and meals. Discovering the magnificence of the butterfly world is a unique and exciting experience, and should not be missed by foreign visitors to Nepal.