He spent his entire life protecting animals and vegetation in Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Godavari districts roaming along with dangerous beasts. But, only after his retirement did Yerneni Gouthama Siddhartha take a liking to butterflies.

It was his little Pomeranian puppy that drew his attention to these dainty beings. “The puppy always went after them and played with them when I took it out for a morning walk,” Mr. Siddhartha told The Hindu. As a nature lover he soon became interested in them and started photographing them.

Today the former District Forest Officer has a huge collection of pictures of over a dozen species of butterflies he has clicked in Vijayawada city and surrounding areas. Some of his best pictures have been taken in and around Andhra Loyola College campus, Nimmakuru and his own village Angaluru.

These insects are very sensitive to hot and dry weather. They are so delicate that their wings get damaged even if we hold them for a brief moment. Preferring well shaded places they can be spotted more frequently on canal and irrigation or drinking water tank bunds, he observes. “Butterflies can, of course, be found where the flowers are. They feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers. They are particularly fond of the flowers of plants that belong to the cruciferae family,” he said revealing his knowledge in botany. They can be spotted after the climate cools down with the onset of the monsoon and disappear once the rains intensify, he said. Delicate as they may appear, they work hard to find the food they require.

The adult butterflies cruise at a speed of 11 miles and hour usually 15 feet above the ground covering 80 to 90 miles a day to feed on nectar and pollen. Mr Siddhartha has established contact with the Butterfly Conservation Society, Hyderabad, and has conducted field trips for members. He along with other friends who are fond of butterflies, want to start a butterfly conservation club in Vijayawada. Those interested can contact him at 9441030900.