Siruvani hills identified as butterfly super-hotspot

TNBS finds 240 species in the area, out of the 325 ones documented in State

January 10, 2021 10:47 am | Updated 10:47 am IST - COIMBATORE

Flying beauties:  Butterfly presence indicates a healthy ecosystem.

Flying beauties: Butterfly presence indicates a healthy ecosystem.

A six-year study conducted by The Nature and Butterfly Society (TNBS) has identified Siruvani hills in Coimbatore district as a butterfly super-hotspot.

Members of TNBS documented 240 (74%) out of 325 butterfly species found in T.N. from Siruvani hills between March 2015 and December 2020. As per a methodology formulated by TNBS, a place can be defined as a hotspot if 25% (75 species and above) of the State checklist species (325) are found in a single area.

The report submitted by TNBS to District Forest Officer D. Venkatesh has recommended the Department to declare Siruvani hills as a butterfly hotspot. According to Mr. Venkatesh, the findings of the study highlights the rich biodiversity of the region.

“Butterfly presence indicates a healthy ecosystem and can act as a measure of the overall eco-system. Documenting 240 species from a small area confirms the super richness of the butterfly availability in Siruvani hills,” said A. Pavendhan from TNBS.

The 240 butterflies are from six families — Swallowtails (17), Whites and Yellows (28), Brush-footed Butterflies (72), Blues (69), Metalmarks (1) and Skippers (53).

Noted species recorded from the hills, which falls within the limits of Boluvampatti forest range of Coimbatore Forest Division, are Malabar Banded Peacock and Malabar Rose from the higher elevations and Nilgiri Grass Yellow from the mid-elevation.

The Brush-footed butterflies families are the most dominant here and rare sightings include Nilgiri Tiger, Malabar Tree Nymph, Tawny Rajah and Tamil Catseye, says the report.

Many-tailed Oakblue, a tiny butterfly with flashing blue inner wings is an iconic representation of Siruvani hills which is a mix of dry deciduous forest, moist deciduous forest and tropical evergreen forest lower to higher altitudes.

As per the report, rare butterflies from the Blues family such as Abnormal Silverline, Shiva Sunbeam, Large 4-lineblue, Dark Ceylon 6-lineblue, Kanara Oakblue, Common Onyx and Malabar Flash are seen.

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