E.M. Manoj

197 species sighted in three-day survey in Wayanad forests

KALPETTA: A survey of butterflies in the district, conducted by the Wildlife Department, has reported sightings of 197 of species. The three-day survey, which concluded on Monday, was conducted in association with the Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology, a wildlife research organisation of the district.

The survey was conducted in 14 locations spread across the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the North Wayanad Forest division.

Fifty-six researchers and students from three southern States took part in the survey. The team reported sightings of 52 species of skippers, 34 species of blues 17 species of swallow tails, 23 pierids and 66 species of nymphalids, C.K. Vishnudas of the Hume Centre said.

As many as 149 species of butterflies were sighted in the North Wayanad division and141 species in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. “Recording of nearly 200 species in a three-day survey is evidence of a healthy habitat of butterflies in the region,” E. Kunchikrishnan environmentalist and Professor, Department of Zoology, University College, Thiruvananthapuram, said. Rare species such as baronet was sighted at Rampur and Nallathanni in the sanctuary.

Native species

Endemic species such as Shiva sunbeam, banded blue pierrot and Malabar raven were sighted in many places. Other significant species were common caster, grey pancy, blue tigers, angled pierrot and water snow flat.

The results and feedback from the survey will be used for developing nectar plants in the sanctuary, V.K. Sreevalsan, Wildlife Warden, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, said. “We are also planning to set up a butterfly garden at Muthanga and Tholpetty under the sanctuary. The survey results will also help us to develop a management plan for the habitat improvement of butterflies,” he added.

The survey was lead by E. Kunhikrishnan, Kalesh, C. Susanth, Vinayan P.A, Daisy Caroline, Balakrishnan Valappil, Pavithran Vadakara and Ajayan. The survey was coordinated by J. Ratnakaran, Anil Zacharia and Vinayan P.A. of the Hume Centre.