Girls discover 25 new species of butterflies

Vizag girls found largest butterfly of India, Southern Birdwing, at Paderu
Visakhapatnam: Five girls from the city, driven purely by passion and love for nature, have discovered 25 new species of butterflies in Vizag district. They embarked on a mission to identify butterfly species of Vizag three years ago and have recorded 90 species till now, including two migratory species and 13 other, which fall in the IUCN Red List.
While three of these lepidopterists are pursuing their M.Sc in Zoology from Andhra University, two others are B.Sc final year students of BVK College.
The five young nature enthusiasts met at the Biodiversity Park at Pedda Waltair and bonded over their love for nature, particularly their curiosity about butterflies.
They have been on half-a-dozen trips each to Chintapalli, Paderu and Araku forest areas along with umpteen trips to Kamabalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary accompanied with their guide Dr M. Ramamurthy, who is also the founder of Dolphin Nature Conservation Society.
S. pavani, one of the girls said, “Vizag is home to a diverse species of butterflies. All five families of butterflies, Swallow Tails, Whites and Yellows, Blues, Skippers and Brush-footed, which exist in India, are found in Vizag. In high altitudes of Paderu we found the Southern Birdwing, the largest butterfly in the country.”
She further added that at the Biodiversity Park itself they came across 60 butterfly species, including India's smallest, Grass Jewel. Some of the new species they discovered include the Striper Blue Crow, Orange Tip, Common Banded All, Common Nawab and Migratory butterflies like Blue Tiger and Common Crow.
The other four girls who are involved in the project are, A. Rohini, S.T.P. Ushasri, P. Sharon and U. Joshna. Joshna said, “Butterflies are the best pollinators. A healthy and diverse population of butterflies is an indicator of the environment of a place.
While everyone claims Vizag is very green, butterflies are rarely seen in the city as most of the trees planted in the city, like Gulmohar, do not originally belong to the region. This is not a good sign.”
( Source : dc correspondent )
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