Global Voices

Photos Capture the Delicate Beauty of Nepal's Butterflies

See their stripes, dots, and colors up close, thanks to these shots by photographer Susheel Shrestha.

Red Lacewing. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

The Himalayan country of Nepal has always fascinated trekkers, climbers, wildlife lovers and adrenaline junkies. However, if you’re a lepidopterist, it’s the perfect place to follow your passion. Nepal boasts of having more than 650 species of butterflies, accounting for 3.72 per cent of world’s butterfly species.

Butterflies are found everywhere in Nepal – from the jungles in the southern plains to the mountains in the northern part. The hills around the Kathmandu Valley are good areas for spotting the winged creatures. The March-June and August-October periods are the peak butterfly watching seasons.

Susheel Shrestha, a freelance photographer, has captured more than 150 species of butterflies found in Nepal from the lowlands to a height of 3810 meters in Upper Mustang.

Winner of many national photo competitions, Shrestha told Global Voices: “The butterfly habitat is decreasing day by day due to increasing human population.”

Bitten by the bug of nature and wildlife photography, Shrestha continues to capture the butterflies and plans to produce a coffee table book to showcase Nepal’s beauty and promote tourism in the country.

Here are some of the butterflies he has shot with his camera in different parts of Nepal.

Lime Swallowtail. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Himalayan Five Ring. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Indian Cabbage White. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Indian Cabbage White on mustard flowers. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Group of Three-Spot Grass Yellow. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Three-Spot Grass Yellow mating. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Dark Clouded Yellow. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Yamfly. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Tailed Jay. Photo by Susheel Shrestha. Used with permission.

Shrestha isn't the only one documenting Nepal's butterflies. A British national, Colin Smith, spent more than 50 years studying butterflies in Nepal. He traveled to 40 districts collecting 25,000 butterflies and wrote the book Illustrated Checklist of Nepal’s Butterflies.

The butterflies collected by Smith — aka ‘Putali Baje’ meaning ‘Butterfly Granddad’ in Nepali — have been displayed at Natural History Museum, Kathmandu; Annapurna Butterfly Museum, Pokhara; and at Kathmandu University in Dhulikhel.

Originally published in Global Voices.

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