As many as 195 species of butterflies and 42 species of dragonflies and damselflies were documented in the second edition of a combined survey conducted in the seven forest ranges of Coimbatore Forest Division recently.
In the first edition of the combined survey held last year, observers had sighted 170 species of butterflies and 36 species of dragonflies and damselflies.
White Tufted Royal, Common Ciliate Blue, Madras Ace, Nilgiri Grass Yellow (butterflies), Blue Darner (dragonfly) and Nilgiri Torrent Dart (damselfly) were among noted sightings in the survey held from November 8 to 10.
Jointly organised by the Coimbatore Forest Division and Act for Butterflies, 44 experts from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore Butterfly Club, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Society for Odonate Studies (SOS) and Rhopalocera and Odonata Association of Rajapalayam conducted the survey in the seven forest ranges with the assistance of Forest Department staff.
“In terms of abundance of butterfly species, Karamadai forest range topped among other forest ranges. Maximum number of individuals were spotted at Kovai Courtallam area of Pooluvapatti range and Anaikkatti-Ponnuthu regions of Coimbatore range. In Sirumugai range, observers recorded 35 to 40 mud puddlings,” said Mohan Prasath of Act for Butterflies.
Though observers had spotted Nilgiri Grass Yellow last year, they could not get a photographic evidence. This year, the species was spotted at Karamadai and Pooluvapatti ranges and surveyors could click a photos of the bright yellow butterfly.
While Tamil yeoman, State butterfly of Tamil Nadu was spotted at Periyanaickenpalayam range, Malabar banded peacock, the State butterfly of Kerala, was spotted at Karamadai and Mettupalayam ranges.
The surveyors spotted more than 100 species of butterflies in four ranges Coimbatore, Pooluvapatti, Sirumugai and Periyanaickenpalayam.
In terms of the abundance of dragonfly and damselfly species, Walayar region of Madukkarai range was a heaven for the surveyors. Dragonflies (Anisoptera) and damselflies (Zygoptera) are the two sub-orders in the order Odonata.
While D. Venkatesh, District Forest Officer; Dinesh Kumar, Assistant Conservator Forests; and C. Badrasamy, Honorary Wildlife Warden and retired DFO oversaw the survey, Renjith Jacob Mathews, Secretary of SOS and P. Pramod, Principal Scientist at SACON guided surveyors.