Monsoon butterfly survey brings positive surprise, 10 new species spotted in Indore
Plains Cupid Butterfly
Plains Cupid Butterfly

Indore: In the monsoon butterfly survey, Nature & Wildlife Conservation & Awareness Society (NWCAS) spotted 10 new species of butterflies in Indore. It is an indicator of improving biodiversity, perhaps the result of lockdown and lower pollution levels during that period.

For any ecosystem, butterflies are a very good indicator to judge how sound the biodiversity & ecology of the area is. “Butterfly as an insect comes at the base of any ecology pyramid as its life cycle depends upon the presence of its host plant for its reproduction & nectar plant for feeding,” Ravi Sharma, NCWAS president, said.

He explained that the number of species of butterfly in any region means that many of its host plant & nectar plants are present in that area.

Accordingly the rest of birds, mammals, reptile, amphibians etc. in the food chain of the system are also present in the surveyed area. “That’s how the butterfly's presence gives the area/region-specific indicator of absence/presence, good/bad ecology & biodiversity of that region/area,” Sharma said.

Peacock Royal Butterfly, first time spotted in Indore
Peacock Royal Butterfly, first time spotted in Indore

Three-month survey covers city, forest, outskirts & wetlands

Monsoon is the best season for the butterflies to mate and breed as due to rain large numbers of plants, climbers etc. grow which are the host plant for their egg-caterpillar life cycle to complete and their population to increase.

“With the consideration, we carried out the extensive 3 months monsoon butterfly survey of Indore region (from June 15, 2020 to September 20, 2020 ) which covers the city, outskirts area, jungles, waterfalls, wetlands to documents what all species are there in the vicinity,” Sharma said.

Survey findings: First time Peacock Royal (Tajuria cippus) spotted

“Based on the survey our team has encountered 67 butterfly species which were 10 more when compared to last year,” Sharma said. He added that among new species Peacock Royal (Tajuria cippus) was spotted in Indore for the first time.

“Other than that we came across lesser three rings, little tiger pierrot, painted lady butterfly etc. which are new additions to the our survey list as compare to last year survey,” Sharma said.

 Group of grass yellow butterflies spotted in grass
Group of grass yellow butterflies spotted in grass

Commonly found butterflies in Indore

Species commonly encountered in the city (gardens, local green patches) are- Tailed jay, common jay, common jezebel, common crow, danid eggfly, lime butterfly, shared Sharma.

He added in in the forest area & near waterfalls almost all 6 pansies were reported (namely peacock, grey, yellow, chocolate, lemon & blue pansy).

“In undergrowth grasses, we found thousands of (countless) small & common grass yellows which were mating & reproducing,” Sharma said. He added that near wetlands & moist undergrowth area we found lots of evening brown and in the grasses the tiny blue butterflies (zebra blue, gram blue, cupid etc.)

2,536 butterflies recorded

“In all, we counted 2536 butterflies during the survey (excluding grass yellows which were abundant), which is much higher than last year,” Sharma said. He added that the butterfly population is blooming, probably because of lockdown.

“Pollution levels came down and since most did not trim or slash down bushes of trees, it supported butterfly breeding by providing safe space,” Sharma said. He added that other factors including weather are also responsible for the growth in population.

Belenois aurota also known as the pioneer butterfly
Belenois aurota also known as the pioneer butterfly

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