Meet Tshetsholo Naro, the ‘Butterfly Man’ from Phek

Meet Tshetsholo Naro, the ‘Butterfly Man’ from Phek

The ‘Butterfly Man’ from Phek, Tshetsholo Naro (middle) and his ‘muses.’ (Clockwise from top- left) 1. Orange-backed Freak, Calinaga brahma ; 2. Naga Emperor –Chitoria Naga; 3. Bhutan Glory; 4. Naga Rufous Silverline,  Spindasis evansii; 5. Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui; 6. Comic Oakblue, Arhopala comica; 7. Naga Shappire – Heliophorus kohimensis; and 8. Indian Tawny Emperor, Chitoria ulupi ulupi. (Photos Courtesy: Tshetsholo Naro)

Ketholeno Neihu
Kohima | June 9


Known as the ‘Butterfly Man,’ Tshetsholo Naro from Chizami village of Phek district has spent years documenting butterfly species in Nagaland.
India harbours around 1500 species of butterfly species, and Naro, a photographer, is driven by an untiring inquisitiveness to document these creatures.


In 2013, Naro discovered two rare butterfly species—Tawny Emperor (Chitori Ulupi Ulupi) and Comic Oakblue (Arhopala comica), which were sighted for the first time in 100 years, having last been reported in 1915.


Later, he co-authored and published three papers on butterfly species with Sanjay Sondhi, a naturalist in Dehradun, based on research undertaken for a period of three years between 2011 and 2014. It included 212 species of butterflies, out of which 34 are legally protected under various schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.


Naro continues to take keen interest in record keeping of the insect through research and photography. To this date, he has sighted more than 300 species of butterflies at various places in Nagaland.


These rare sightings in the beginning, as Naro implies were “opportunistic” but have been the blueprint towards fueling his amateur zeal. According to him, the Tawny Emperor species was never sighted again.


Naro’s works were widely confined to Phek district, particularly in Chizami Village; in parts of Zunheboto district and quite a few in Kohima district as well. “More than half of the state hasn’t been explored,” he states, pointing out that this leaves vast opportunities for possible discoveries if more research activities are undertaken and aided.


His early experiences in documenting wildlife go back to 2010 when Naro was associated with the North East Network (NEN). Through this, he acquired field experience and took part in environmental drives, which led Naro to delve deeper into the subject.


During his initial experiences, despite going through troves of data and literature, Naro reveals that the lack of proper records was a hurdle in identifying the butterflies he spotted.


During his initial experiences, despite going through troves of data and literature, Naro reveals that the lack of proper records was a hurdle in identifying the butterflies he spotted.


Butterflies, Naro says, are mostly day-trippers basking on rocks, flowers and roadsides. Scouring gardens, trials and vacant lots has also enabled him to understand the extent, timing and richness of a butterfly’s life.


He is also associated with the Delhi-based The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) in association with the Titli Trust, which has worked in accessing the biodiversity of areas, particularly in Zunheboto district. There too, a good number of sightings were witnessed.


With the repositories collected, he travels around the state and also engages himself in conservatory efforts by training local communities to document biodiversity and develop nature based eco-tourism.


His works can be viewed on Facebook (Tshetsholo Naro Butterflies Photography @Tshetsholo) and and (TSHETSHOLO NARO@tshetsholo.naro) on Instagram.