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Butterfly paradise


KERALA IS butterflies' own country.

Though the State is home to nearly 330 butterfly species including the 37 endemic ones, little is known outside academic circles about this stupendous bio-treasure of the State.

Compared with the West where butterfly enthusiasts are eager to form butterfly associations for each known species, the State is yet to take any major step towards the conservation of the winged angels. Barring the individual contributions of butterfly enthusiasts, no organised effort has gone into the study and analysis of the biology of these alluring insects.

The silver lining in this cloud is a site dedicated to the Kerala butterflies which is maintained by the Kochi-based Kalypso Adventures.

A click on the site (www.butterflieskerala.com) opens before us the dazzling world of butterflies of Kerala. The site describes many of the wild life sanctuaries of the State including the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Chinnar, Parambikulam and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuaries and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary as lepidopteran delights. The Western Ghats is abode to the finest and most interesting butterfly species.

But, as we know, butterflies can be found just about everywhere else, including our backyards.

The site, while providing links to an interesting list of butterfly sites, has also listed the butterfly tours that Kalypso is operating in the State with the support of butterfly experts.

It also provides an overview to the study of Indian butterflies, which it says started in 1767 with the arrival of a Danish medical doctor, Gerhard Koenig, a naturalist and student of Carl Linnaeus, in South India. It also notes that Harish Gaonkar of Copenhagen Zoological Museum, Denmark has made `the most recent compilation of butterfly species of South India'.

This expert, who has visited Kerala several times, believes that all the 330 species of butterflies found in South India can be seen in Kerala too.

By Sudhi K. S.

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