The Common Emigrant is back, butterfly lovers pleased

By: Saiqua Sultan

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The Common Mormon (male) has a wing span of 90-100 mm
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The Bannerghatta Butterfly Park (BBP) is home to more than 2500 butterflies
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The entrance to BBP
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The Park hosts 20-30 plant where butterflies lay eggs
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Migratory butterfly like the Common Emigrant can be spotted at the BBP

 

Bangalore, October 6, 2017: The Bannerghatta Butterfly Park has reason to celebrate. The butterfly population has gone up, and the migrant butterflies, who had not visited for three years, are slowly returning.

Lokanath V, senior entomologist at the Park said, “As far as the endemic butterfly species is concerned we have seen a sudden increase in their population here. We have around  2,500 butterflies of 20 different species at the Butterfly Park. In migratory species, so far, we have spotted Common Emigrant.”

Swarms of butterflies migrate from the Western to Eastern Ghats twice a year. This bi-annual event which hasn’t been seen for three years is now making a comeback.  

Butterfly enthusiasts in the city have now spotted migratory butterflies making their journey back from the Eastern to Western Ghats.

“Presently, we are witnessing some evidence of the return migration. You can see a lot of Common Crow butterflies moving in the east to west direction,”says Rohit Girotra, founder-member of Bangalore Butterfly Club (BBC), a citizen scientists initiative, dedicated to keeping a track of the butterfly species in and around Bangalore. 


He also said that the migrating swarms could be seen in Bannerghatta National Park, Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Mekhri Circle etc. However, these swarms have not been seen in Bangalore and surrounding areas for the last three years.


The BBC has been maintaining a record of the butterfly population for the past six years. A three-hourly count every fortnight helps the club maintain the number of species and their population.


The BBC founder elaborated that at the onset of the monsoon, sometime in June, the migratory butterflies like – common crow, double branded crow, blue tiger and dark blue tiger, participate in large numbers in the journey from Western to Eastern Ghats to escape the monsoon.


After the monsoon, around September and October, the butterflies make their journey back to Western Ghats.
“The impact of monsoon will be felt once the rains stop. As of now the butterfly numbers in 2017 have been extremely encouraging and very close to all-time highs,” said Rohit.


At the Bannerghatta Butterfly Park, one of the major programs has been to increase the number of endemic butterfly species. “We maintain 25-30 host plants for the butterflies to lay eggs on. So far we have collected 10,000 larvae this year. Our goal primarily, is research, training and awareness,” said Lokanath V.


Bannerghatta Butterfly park has been breeding Blue Mormon, the second largest butterfly in India and the state butterfly of Maharashtra. The senior entomologist is now looking forward to acquiring Southern Bird Wing, which has been named the state butterfly of Karnataka.


The Southern Bird Wing has been chosen for its striking red and yellow stripes which resemble the Karnataka state flag.

 
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