Thursday, October 13, 2005

Butterflies too migrate—from Karnataka to Tamilnadu

By Jehova G, Anaikatti (Tamilnadu):

Hundreds of butterflies swarmed open spaces in Coimbatore as the winged creatures took to the sky for their annual migration from the higher reaches of Karnataka to neighbouring State of Tamil Nadu.

Butterfly migration is driven by seasonal change and in India they take flight in two different seasons, mainly April to June and October to November, coinciding with the rains. These days the Anaikatti hills, located, 25 kilometres away from Coimbatore, is abound with butterflies of vibrant colours fluttering about from one patch of green cover to the next as part of the seasonal phenomenon.

Researchers are upbeat over the increase in number of the migratory butterflies.

“In one location itself we have seen thousands of butterflies. They are flying since 9:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the evening. This year the number of migrating butterflies has increased and also the number of species. We have recorded about some hundreds butterflies in the Anaikatti hills itself and many of them are migrating now,” says P. Pramod, research scientist on butterflies and natural education officer of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History.

This year more than seven varieties of butterflies, numbering thousands, migrated that include species like Dark Blue Tiger, Blue Tiger, Common Crow, Double Brander, Emigran, Madlet and Common Albatross.

The hills on the migratory path of the butterflies have been witnessing the recurrent phenomenon for the last three years. The dense forest covers and green vegetation and the mineral rich soil of the hills provide the butterflies with the perfect conditions for reproduction and mud-puddling, the extraction of minerals by butterflies for nutrients from rocks, stones and soils.

“In this whole process of migration various pockets of forest are working as very significant conservation points. We have seen Nilgiri hills, all those areas are extraordinary production ground of this butterflies,” says Pramod.

Butterflies are the second largest pollinators in the world after honeybees.



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