Maharashtra gets ‘State butterfly’

Blue Mormon butterfly.Photo: Rajesh Shah/Wikimedia

Blue Mormon butterfly.Photo: Rajesh Shah/Wikimedia  

Maharashtra has become the first State in the country to have a ‘State butterfly.’

The BJP-led government has declared the Blue Mormon (Papilio polymnestor) as the State butterfly. The decision was taken at a meeting of the State Wildlife Board in Mumbai on Monday.

The Blue Mormon is a large, swallowtail butterfly found primarily in Sri Lanka and India, mainly restricted to the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, South India and coastal belts. It may occasionally be spotted in the Maharashtrian mainland between Vidarbha and Western Maharashtra.

It is reportedly the second largest butterfly found in India, just smaller than the southern birdwing. “No State in India has ever declared a State butterfly and the species has been one of the most neglected,” said a statement from the office of State Forest Department Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, explaining the rationale behind the announcement.

Mr. Mungantiwar also seems to have considered the requests of butterfly academicians, research scholars and nature lovers who wished to see the Blue Mormon chosen.

Easily identifiable, the Blue Mormon boasts exquisite velvet-like black wings with bright blue spots.

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