Naturalists launch book documenting over 150 species of butterflies found in Chennai

The butterfly hotspots in the city, such as Guindy National Park, IIT-Madras, Indira Nagar and Anna Nagar, are featured in the book

Updated - June 02, 2023 10:11 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2023 09:26 pm IST - CHENNAI

The authors of Butterflies of Chennai at the book launch on Friday.

The authors of Butterflies of Chennai at the book launch on Friday. | Photo Credit: Prince Frederick

In an effort to widen localised literature on butterflies and put together a field guide, a team of 10 young naturalists has documented over 150 species of butterflies in the book Butterflies of Chennai, which was launched on Friday.

What started as a lockdown project during the COVID-19 pandemic for Vikas Madhav Nagarajan and his team – Aditya R., Anooja A., Aswathi A., Ekadh R., Mahathi N., Nanditha S., M. Nishanth, Rohith S. and Smriti M. – has resulted in a one-of-a-kind compilation of butterfly morphology and information on differentiating between species.

Mr. Nagarajan, lead author of the book, had documented up to 75 species of butterflies in the city until 2014 with the help of his mentors at the Madras Naturalists’ Society (MNS) when he realised there were many places in the city he hadn’t covered. In 2020, he got together with the rest of the authors and started putting together data on butterfly behaviour and activities to get people to enjoy butterfly watching. The butterfly hotspots in the city, such as Guindy National Park, IIT-Madras, Indira Nagar and Anna Nagar, are featured in the book.

Butterflies of Chennai was released in the presence of K.V. Sudhakar, president, MNS, and Surya Ramachandran, wildlife guide and naturalist. Mr. Ramachandran commended the amount of thought and effort that went in to make the book simple and comprehensible for beginners. “The most important thing the book will do is make people curious,” he said.

Expressing hope that the book will aid the butterfly community, Ms. Mahathi, a co-author, said: “We believe that data collected will help conservation efforts and shine a light on butterfly movement trends.”

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