Aug 24, 2017 | Updated: 05:09 PM EDT

Secret Behind Asian Butterfly's Mythological Names Revealed

Apr 21, 2017 06:01 AM EDT

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Mythological Names of Asian Butterflies signifies their historical importance
(Photo : Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

In a recent revelation, scientists have come in contact with one of the rarest species of Asian butterfly. To understand this species closely, the scientists had to unearth its roots, which are almost 43 million years old.

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According to Phys.org, the strange species of the Asian butterfly used to have a connection with ancient Hindu mythology. As per the researchers, the name of the species, Calinaga, has been derived from the notorious serpent "Kaliya", who poisoned the water of the great river Yamuna, presently in Uttar Pradesh, India, killing all the animals and humans who went to drink its water. The serpent, dubbed "Naga" in Hindu mythology was confronted by Lord Krishna to whom Kaliya Naga had to surrender. Researchers assume that the name of the butterfly has come from the name of the great serpent. However, they have not been able to establish a relation between the two.

The researchers opine that Calinaga species of Asian butterfly originated from southeast Tibet as a result of tremendous geological and environmental impact, which was caused by the collision of Indian and Asian subcontinents. However, there are still doubts about the theory as a number of species of butterfly had to adapt to the changes caused by the aforementioned calamitous event.

According to Pensoft, Calinaga is a phylogenetic species of Asian butterfly placed in Nymphalidae, a relation that has been recently established by the researchers. The systematic of the species has long been considered as a topic of taxonomic discussion among the scientists. It's suspected area of origin, the Indo-China bioregion has been recognized for its important levels of biodiversity.

An analysis of molecular data was conducted by the researchers to understand the morphological characters of the Calinaga species of Asian butterfly. 51 specimens of the aforementioned species were collected from the Indo-China region in order to understand the factors behind the molecular phylogeny and the biogeographic processes that led to the distribution of the genus in the present day.

It is evident from the research that the Calinaga species of Asian butterfly has one of the most diverse characteristics in the insect world. The results of the research have been published in the open access journal "Zoosystematics and Evolution".


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