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| Last Updated:: 19/05/2017

Rain weaves magic, butterflies flock to Kallar













Coimbatore: Hordes of butterflies flitting on a river bank is the stuff dreams are made of. On Thursday, one could behold such a sight at Kallar in Mettupalayam as summer showers breathed life back into the region. Dry forests and extreme temperatures had caused butterflies to skip their migration from the hills so far. Finally, these colourful creatures were spotted by a team of butterfly watchers who are conducting a study and monitoring them. 




Butterflies such as common emigrants, albatross, spot swordtail, crow, tigers, mormon, orange tips, many tailed oakblue, Helen, lime, gull and others were seen mud puddling near the stream at Kallar, said Jeswin Kingsly, member of Wildlife Wranglers, an NGO in Mettupalayam. 




"Butterflies are the most important aspect of any ecosystem as they are health indicators. It is very difficult to generally spot butterflies during summer season due to the lack of greenery and flowers. But this year, thanks to the summer showers, the Kallar region is throbbing with life. The orchards are filled with beautiful butterflies," said Jeswin. Apart from Jeswin, a team of 30 butterfly and wildlife enthusiasts started monitoring the insects on Monday, the day they arrived. "We are conducting a population study on the butterflies in this region and are recording the numbers and the species spotted," said Jeswin. 




Scientists explained that mud puddling was a common phenomenon in which male butterflies would settle on the river or stream banks and suck salt and minerals from the wet sand. They pass on these minerals to the females of the species during mating. This phenomenon is being monitored by enthusiasts across the state, especially in Anaimalai, Nilgiris, Mudumalai and Kanyakumari. 




The reason for the migration of the butterflies from the hills to the plains or vice-versa has not been established by any scientist but studies indicate that food scarcity, temperature and seasons could play a role. 




David Devasahayam, trustee of Wildlife Wranglers, said they are closely monitoring the movement of butterflies and will continue this process until they fly to another region. "This year, it has been delayed by several weeks. The absence of rain is a major reason for the delay as butterflies require optimum environment and temperature for breeding," he said. He added that they are organising many events over the week to help enthusiasts sight these butterflies and also to create awareness. 




V Prabhakar said the best location to spot butterflies was Kallar. "Last year, I visited Kallar many times but did not spot them. This year, after the showers, we spotted many of them. We also spotted some rare ones such as plane and monkey puzzle. April-May is the breeding time and now the population is slowly increasing, which is a good sign," he said. 




P R Arun, principal scientist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), said there was a good population of butterflies even in the Anaikatti hills. "We have spotted a huge population here as well. This is a good sign," he said.








Source: The Times of India