Large migration of Common Grass Yellow butterfly seen in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

A total of 185 species have been identified during a survey which commenced on June 28 in MTR which is spread over 688.50 square kilometers.
Butterfly image used for representation
Butterfly image used for representationPhoto | Vinay Madapu

NILGIRIS: For the first time, the Tamil Nadu forest department staff, naturalists and butterfly enthusiasts have observed a large-scale migration of Common Grass Yellow during the three-day butterfly survey which concluded at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) on June 30.

"Usually, we observe an abundance of migration of Blue Tiger and Dark Blue Tiger and Mottled Emigrant. However, this time we have observed thousands of Common Grass Yellow. Though this is commonly seen both in the plains and forests, we have not observed migration of common Grass Yellows in recent years. The emergence of this butterfly in large numbers and migration within MTR was a unique phenomenon, and needs continuous observation of this species in years to come, especially during the migration period," said A Pavendhan of The Nature and Butterfly Society (TNBS) Coimbatore.

A total of 185 species have been identified by them during the survey which commenced on June 28 in MTR which is spread over 688.50 square kilometers. The species were from six butterfly families: Swallowtails (16), Whites and Yellows (24), Brush-footed Butterflies (52), Blues (59), Metalmarks (1) and Skippers (33).

A total of 16 teams comprising 49 naturalists and butterfly enthusiasts along with more than 100 MTR field officials participated in this exercise which was coordinated by The Nature and Butterfly Society (TNBS) Coimbatore, and WWF-India along with the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu Forest Department.

C Vidhya, IFS, Deputy Director Core Division, MTR, said butterflies are a critical component of the ecosystem and reflect the health of the habitat they are part of. Now that a comprehensive survey has been conducted in two phases the number of butterfly species in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is at 217 species.

Other highlights of the survey include the Malabar Raven, Paris Peacock, Malabar Banded Peacock, Plain Puffin, Chocolate Albatross, Tamil Yeoman (the state butterfly) and Tamil Lacewing.

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