Corbett: A Paradise for Butterfly Lovers, by Sanjay Chhimwal

Comon Tiger Corbett

Comon Tiger Corbett

Corbett is popularly called the land of roar, trumpet and song – means it is known for tigers, elephants and birds. This is right as it has the highest density of wild tigers in the world with one of the best male female ratio of the Asian elephant (1:3) and an amazing diversity of avifauna with 625+ species of bird. It is rarely understood as a good area for butterflies. Corbett region is a paradise for butterflies and for those who love butterflies. People usually visit Corbett to watch ‘wildlife’ and from most of them understand ‘wildlife’ means tiger, leopard, elephant, and other large animals. However, wildlife means each and everything which has life on this planet, be it a snake, a plant, a tiger or the largest animal of our planet ‘whale’ etc. and this also cover small insects like butterflies.

Grass Jewel Corbett

Grass Jewel Corbett

Though no serious study has been done on butterflies in Corbett and exact number of butterfly species cannot be declared, But approximately more than 100 species of butterflies are found here. Common tiger, common nawab, baronet, common map, dark blue tiger, glassy tiger, blue tiger, common sailor, common leopard, common gem, chocolate soldier, common jezebell, commander, common castor, common cerulean, common gull, common wanderer, Dart, psyche, spot swordtail, yellow pansy. Great eggfly, bamboo tree brown, clubbeak, common blue bottle and common emigrant are some common species that can be seen in Corbett region. Areas like Jhirna, Bijrani, Dhikal and Lohacaur which are the main tourism zones of Corbett are good but as tourists are not allowed to walk one can only observe them from the vehicle. The main road National Highway number 121 between Aamdana to Dhangari gate, Tera village and Sitabani is a nice place to look for these winged insects closely.

Micro-fauna is always neglected by many people and only researchers and serious wildlife lovers pay attention to these beautiful creatures of our planet. Nature has inspired the human in many ways. We have learned and invented many things from the nature. Butterflies are one of the most colourful creatures on the planet and they always inspired our lyricist and artists.

Butterflies belong to the order Lepidoptera which includes moths and butterflies and is the second largest order among insects with approximately 150,000 species. Out of 150,000 species there are about 17,820 species of butterflies in the world and about 1500 species of butterflies are recorded so far from Indian subcontinent.

Indian Fritillary Corbett

Indian Fritillary Corbett

Studying the butterflies is not an easy task but even amateur nature lovers can easily study butterflies. All one need is some basic things like a field guide, net, jar, paper envelops, forceps lens and microscope. But with above all you need a will to learn with great degree of patience. One needs to identify the species and observe their behaviour. Main things to be noted during the observations are like their behaviour, feeding habit, range, mating behaviour and their life history are few things which can be of great use. There are four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly – Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult. This transformation from an egg to an adult is called complete metamorphosis. Average life of a butterfly is 15 – 20 days but some species also live up to six months.

Usually people confuse moths with butterflies but both can be differentiated from each other with following features:  Butterflies fly usually day time while most of the moths are nocturnal. Butterflies antennae are clubbed or hooked and never covered with hair while in moths they are of various shapes and sometimes hairy. Studying the butterflies can also be done by taking their photograph. Butterflies are very difficult subject for nature photography as they can see the movement easily due to their compound eyes. It requires lot of patience to for their photography and one can get best shots during early morning. The best place to look for the butterflies is either a garden of any open area in a forest like a nala or open areas with flowering plants. Lantana flowers are best to look for many species of butterflies.

Pea Blue

Pea Blue

Conservation of these insects is very important from the ecological point of view. On one hand they are an important food chain component for the birds, and other animals. They are good indicators of environments and on the other hand they also help in the regeneration of many plant species. They are the second highest group of pollinators after honey bees.

Today because of various developmental activities going on near their habitat these butterflies are facing a threat. Agricultural activities, urbanization, grazing and forestry activities together degrading their habitats. Such disturbance damages their habitat and their food plants. One or Two degree temperature increase in the atmosphere due to global warming can lead to extinction of many species. There is a need to spread awareness amongst people for their conservation. Protected areas should be declared for their conservation. Like all other life forms these creature also has equal right to live on earth.

Fore more info please contact – Sanjay Chhimwal, junglee_s@rediffmail.com, +919837517359



One Response to “Corbett: A Paradise for Butterfly Lovers, by Sanjay Chhimwal”

  1. sanjay says:

    Dear Anton,

    thanks for your words.

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