Visakhapatnam sees mass movement of butterflies

Riot of colours: A swarm of butterflies seen on Beach Road in Visakhapatnam on Monday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

An unusual phenomenon was witnessed across certain pockets in the city on Monday when swarms of Indian common crow butterflies were seen in a mass movement. The phenomenon was observed from Thotlakonda till Naval Coastal Battery and was termed as ‘peculiar’ by researchers during this time of the year.

Commuters on Beach Road were taken aback to see such kaleidoscope of butterflies moving in a direction, a phenomenon which occurred from morning till afternoon.

“It almost felt like a wave of butterflies coming towards you. I could feel many brush past me,” said K. Sunita, who happened to pass by Beach Road at noon.

Normally, before the onset of South West monsoons, the common crow and tiger butterflies move from Western Ghats to the forests of Eastern Ghats and eventually to the plains to avoid torrential rains.

The reverse migration is seen in South India before the onset of North East monsoons (October-November) to Western Ghats.

‘Population outburst’

“Such a kind of a mass movement at this time of the year is very peculiar. Various factors including favourable conditions on the feeding ground and good rains could have triggered the early migration. Another likely factor could be a population outburst. We will be able to ascertain if it was an early migration only by June -July,” M. Ram Murthy of Dolphin Nature Conservation Society told The Hindu.

“Just like locust migration this could be a sporadic or local migration. This present probable migration may also be an indication of climate change,” he added.

The Indian Common Crow Butterfly is a common butterfly found from South Asia to Australia. In thick forests, it is often seen moving along open tracks or following the course of a river. Along with other species such as tigers, the common crow is one of the most common migrating butterfly species.

Males and females in equal proportions have been seen to migrate. Butterfly enthusiasts in the region have been recording the mass migration over more than a decade now, but it is the first time that such large-scale movement of common crows was reported at this time of the year from this region.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 12:00:03 PM |

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