LEARNING ABOUT BUTTERFLIES:-PART-3

LEARNING ABOUT BUTTERFLIES:-PART-3
Well, learning at your spare and pleasure time about anything can be really refreshing. My experiments with Butterfly Conservation are no exception either. First of all it is a very refreshing weekly peaceful seclusion after a hectic week at bank, and then it is always interesting to work with live subjects, where the outcome is not exactly dictated by us. In this particular case of Butterfly Conservation at Lalbandh it is more of an intriguing exchange with mother Nature and it is pretty interesting to watch how Nature reacts to actions taken by us within the project area.
1This time we would focus on a plant. I have already discussed about the wonder plant ‘Hatisur’ (Helitropium indicum). The plant appears to a permanent source of insatiable attraction to the Tiger and Crow group of butterflies. Right from the very first day we put the Helitropium indicum plants in, the Tiger and Crow group of butterflies simply got hooked to it. The story remains exactly same till date. Even the dying stems of Hatisur were flocked by the butterflies in great numbers.
23Next is the Crotalaria species (Atasi in Bengali), this time specially the Blue Tiger butterflies gets particularly hooked to this plant. Such is the intense attraction that a quiet human intrusion just about half a meter away is hardly noticed! But this is a rather interesting plant.
4This is the same Crotalaria species in our butterfly zone where hardly any Butterfly ventures! That is to say some of the Crotalaria plants in our butterfly zone is heavily invaded by Tiger and Crow group of butterflies, specially the Blue Tigers; where in some other Crotalaria plants they are simply not interested! The butterflies flocks only to those Crotalaria or Atasi group of plants where the white striped black caterpillars thrive.
56Interestingly this rather lovely looking caterpillar is neither a caterpillar of any of the Tiger or Crow group of butterflies. It is a caterpillar of a moth Argina argus(snap below both of pupa and the moth). The issue is, when these caterpillar eat up the leaves, the chemicals that ooze out is sucked by the butterflies with a great gusto! Hence, a Crotalaria plant without some Argina argus caterpillars, is an uninteresting prospect for the butterflies. It is an interesting case of joint venture of the said moth and the Tiger and Crow group of butterflies; without both a Crotalaria plant remains fairly idle as far as butterfly-nurturing in concerned. That is an interesting finding for me at least; and I had to really hunt the internet for the identity of the Argina argus caterpillar and how it effects the Tiger butterfly population at the Crotalaria plants. I am specially thankful to Mr Haneesh Km of the Butterflies of India Facebook Group to providing the identity of the moth.
789In this whole exercise I have particularly remained interested with grass flowers as we popularly call them, though scientifically all of them do not belong to the grass family. I have a wish hibernating for a long time to create an interesting grass bed with intriguing variety (specially the flowering kinds) in our zone. In reality that seems to be quite a job at hand, because it is just not known where to find those varieties! However, the little that I could collect grom here and there appears to be hugely interesting.
Thanks,Shubhashis
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1 Comment to

  1. akshat.932 says:

    hello dada..
    very informative article and awesome photographs……

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