Environment

Butterflies are more than a nano attraction in Singur

Striped Albatross

Striped Albatross  

69 species of butterflies belonging to 54 genera and five families were recorded in a study by the Zoological Survey of India

Singur, a rural block in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, which has become synonymous with protests against land acquisition, finally has something else to cheer about.

A recent study by researchers of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) shows for the first time that thehamlet is home to at least 69 species of butterflies. “A total of 69 species of butterflies belonging to 54 genera and five families were recorded from the study area. Family Nymphalidae was the most dominant among the five families with 22 species, followed by Lycaenidae, comprising of 19 species,” the paper titled ‘A study of butterfly diversity in Singur’ says.

Indian Skipper

Indian Skipper  

 

Five of the species found in Singur are rare and to be protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. They include species like the Tree Flitter, Striped Albatross, Pea Blue, Common Indian Crow and Danaid Eggfly. The other interesting species found here include the Zebra Blue, the Common Banded Peacock and the Indian Skipper.

The paper, authored by researchers Pritam K. Dey, Arajush Payra and Krishnendu Mondal, was published in June 2017 in the environmental journal e- planet. The study was carried out from March 2015 to November 2016, and most butterflies were observed between 8 a.m. and noon.

“The presence of 69 species of butterflies in Singur points out that the butterfly diversity of the region is high. This is a preliminary study. More detailed studies in future can bring out more species. What is striking about Singur is that the area is not only rich in butterfly diversity but also in the diversity of frogs and birds,” Mr. Dey said.

Peacock Pansy

Peacock Pansy  

 

Researchers found butterflies in the rice and vegetable fields of the area, as well as in bushes and shrubs along railway lines and National Highways.

No forested land

Singur has no forested land and the area is known for rice, potato and vegetable cultivation.

Mr. Dey said that more intensive studies on different ecological parameters that can help access diversity of Singur’s fauna are being planned.

The presence of so many species of butterflies has provided a great deal of joy to the farmers who had waged a long battle against the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led West Bengal government against the acquisition of 997 acres of agricultural land for Tata Motors’ Nano car plant in Singur.

Pea Blue.

Pea Blue.  

 

“While our struggle was aimed at the return of the land acquired for the proposed car plant, we are happy that it has helped the environment of Singur. There would have not so many butterflies had the car plant been operational,” said Mahabdeb Das, a farmer who was at the forefront of the land acquisition struggle. He was pleasantly surprised to learn about the butterfly diversity of the region.

On August 30, 2017, the Supreme Court quashed the Left Front government’s acquisition of 997 acres of agricultural land for the car plant in Singur. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee returned the acquired land to farmers on September 14, 2016.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:49:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/uncommon-winged-beauties-make-presence-felt-in-singur/article19897460.ece

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