In­sect ev­ery­one loves: But­ter­fly month ends with count in city

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK 2018 2019

New Delhi: En­thu­si­asts and ex­perts flocked to the green corners of the city on Sun­day morn­ing and took part in the third an­nual but­ter­fly count of the city, or­gan­ised by Bom­bay Nat­u­ral His­tory So­ci­ety. Around 115 species of but­ter­flies are known from the cap­i­tal.

Septem­ber is be­ing cel­e­brated as Delhi But­ter­fly Month 2019. The cel­e­bra­tions cul­mi­nated with the Big But­ter­fly Count, across 45 lo­ca­tions (500 par­tic­i­pants) in NCR, and few lo­ca­tions in Ma­ha­rash­tra, Kar­nataka and Tamil Nadu. The lo­ca­tions were aptly cho­sen to cater to all the var­ied habi­tats of NCR, and more im­por­tantly to in­volve the max­i­mum num­ber of res­i­dents across the city, a BNHS of­fi­cial said.

The city lo­ca­tions in­cluded Delhi De­vel­op­ment Author­ity’s flag­ship seven bio­di­ver­sity parks, namely Ya­muna, Aravalli, Neela Hauz, North­ern Ridge, Til­path Val­ley, Tugh­laqabad and South Bio­di­ver­sity Park.

“But­ter­flies are the most stud­ied insects in the world and the best pol­li­na­tors, along with bees. Bio­di­ver­sity parks and their but­ter­fly con­ser­va­to­ries pro­vide spe­cial niche for but­ter­flies and bees ca­ter­ing to the re­quire­ments of host plants and nec­tar-bear­ing plants. Bio­di­ver­sity parks in a way pro­vide im­por­tant eco­log­i­cal ser­vices through large num­ber of pol­li­na­tors to the crops in the Ya­muna river basin and Aravalli hill ranges,” Faiyaz A Khud­sar, sci­en­tist in-charge, Ya­muna Bio­di­ver­sity Park, said. He added that this year, rain, along with wind, might have led to sight­ings of com­par­a­tively lesser num­ber of species.

But­ter­flies are cold-blooded insects and sun-loving crea­tures. For their sur­vival, they need host plants to lay their eggs on. The cater­pil­lars eat green leaves of host plants and form co­coons. Gen­er­ally af­ter re­main­ing dor­mant for a week or two, a beau­ti­ful but­ter­fly emerges out of a co­coon.

Ac­cord­ing to So­hail Madan, CEC, man­ager, BNHS, the team lead­ers lead­ing the count on Sun­day were all trained by lead­ing lep­i­dopter­ist Peter Smetacek of Bhim­tal Re­search Cen­tre.

“He ex­plained how to ob­serve, iden­tify and doc­u­ment the num­ber of species on the day of the but­ter­fly count with pre­ci­sion, keep­ing habi­tat in mind. With par­tic­i­pa­tion of so many peo­ple across the city, the but­ter­fly month has made a strong state­ment in bridg­ing the gap be­tween knowl­edge and im­ple­men­ta­tion, thereby pro­vid­ing a plat­form to cit­i­zens to learn about but­ter­flies, their be­hav­iour, habi­tat and con­ser­va­tion,” Madan said.

Ya­muna Bio­di­ver­sity Park Aravalli Bio­di­ver­sity Park Neela Hauz

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