The ‘Butterflies of Tamil Nadu’ introduces you to 90 commonly found butterflies in the state


This 24-page booklet was recently launched by The Nature and Butterfly Society. It is aimed to create an interest in butterfly-watching among students

Did you know that the lemon tree in your backyard can be a host for Lime butterflies? Or that the common Baron butterflies lay their eggs on mango trees? “Each butterfly depends on a specific set of plants for laying their eggs. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of these host plants to be a pupa, which later grows into an adult butterfly,” says Pavendhan A, president of The Nature and Butterfly Society. The organisation has recently come up with Butterflies of Tamil Nadu, a 24-page booklet that introduces people to the world of butterflies.

It discusses the role, life cycle and migration of butterflies along with a step-by-step process of setting up a butterfly garden. “There are 325 varieties of butterflies in Tamil Nadu. The booklet contains information and photographs of 90 commonly found species. To make it more interesting to people in the State, we have included nine butterflies whose common English names start with the word, ‘Tamil’ like the Tamil yeoman (Tamil Nadu State butterfly), Tamil catseye and Tamil bushbrown.”

Commander
 

The details are compiled by a core team comprising 10 members. “All of us are experienced naturalists who have been active butterfly watchers for around 10 years. It took us one month to put it together. This is not done for profit and the price covers the printing cost. Our aim is to create an interest in butterfly-watching among students,” he says.

Pavendhan suggests that the best time for butterfly watching is from April to June and from September to November. “These are migration seasons. While the butterflies descent from Western Ghats to Eastern Ghats in the former season, they make their way from Eastern Ghats back into the Western Ghats in the latter. During the migratory season of May 2018, we witnessed a large number of lime butterflies ‘mud-puddling’ in Kallar near Mettupalayam. They come in thousands. In this process, male butterflies sit on mud to absorb salt from it. This is then transferred to the females which helps in the fertilization process,” he explains.

Get started on butterfly watching

  • It does not require a huge investment and you can start in your garden or backyard
  • Have a field guide and a notebook to jot down your findings
  • Click photographs of the butterflies you spot with your phone camera
  • To identify the species use the field guide or websites like butterflyvision.in
  • Planting nectar plants such as marigold, flame of the woods, Peruvian zennia, coat buttons, Chinese hibiscus etc will bring in more butterflies
  • With time, one can invest in binoculars and a professional camera

This is the second book published by The Nature and Butterfly Society. “Earlier, we brought out a book on the birds and butterflies seen in Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary. We also publish a free newsletter on butterflies once in three months, on our website,” he says. The team has a sponsorship plan through which people can donate money for books to be distributed to children. “This will be useful especially for those from the economically weaker sections,” he explains. The members of The Nature and Butterfly Society is currently working on bringing out the Tamil version of the book. “We have started working on it. I hope that it will be out in the next three months,” he concludes.

The book is priced at ₹30 and the organisation provides discount for bulk orders. Contact 9677466921 or [email protected] to order.

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