Kerala

Flight of the butterflies

Hundreds of butterflies have started their migration from the low areas of the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary to the high-elevated areas of the Eravikulam National Park.

The migration has been documented by Munnar Wildlife Division biologist S. Harish. The area from where the migration has been first noticed is Kuttar, where the east-flowing rivers Chinnar and Pampar converge.

Chinnar wildlife assistant warden P.M. Prabhu said the migration is mainly from high temperature areas to low temperature areas in search of host plants to lay eggs. The butterflies move through the Churulapetty, Thayannankudy and Olikkudy settlements. The 90.44-sq-km Chinnar sanctuary is known for the lowest elevated areas bordering Tamil Nadu (400 metres above sea level) to the highest elevated areas of shola forests (2,000 m).

‘Gateway’ of butterflies

Mr. Prabhu said 44 species have been found to migrate. They are found resting in certain trees and plants. "This migration has importance as it plays a major role in the food chain. It helps in pollination and in natural protection of the biodiversity of plants," he said.

Chinnar is considered the gateway of butterflies from the Tamil Nadu plains to Kerala. The northeast to southwest migration of the species, including crows, tigers and pansy butterflies, has been documented by the middle of November. This is the first officially documented migration of the season in the region.

84 new species

Meanwhile, a two-year-long survey (in periodic intervals) that concluded at Chinnar this weekend has found 84 new butterflies in the sanctuary. The total number of species spotted in the sanctuary is 240. The survey was initiated by the sanctuary, under the

Munnar Wildlife Division, in collaboration with the Travancore Natural History Society, Thiruvananthapuram, and the Kottayam Nature Society, funded by Anamudi Forest Development Agency. One of the major highlights of the surveys was the delineation of the migratory pathways of butterflies.



The migration is mainly from high temperature to low temperature areas in search of host plants to lay eggs



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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 10:30:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Flight-of-the-butterflies/article16725455.ece

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