Lev Bely, 07.05.2012 21:56
There are still butterflies in Mumbai albeit they're increasingly getting lack of habitation space due to the growing deforestation and developing industry. So it was chosen to count the rest what resulted in the first book of butterflies of Mumbai region. “Butterflies of Mumbai” that describes 153 local species was presented on May 1st in Maharashtra Nature Park near Dharavi. The book as well tells about little-known facts of lepidoptera and consists over 400 pictures.
“British naturalists were the first ones to orally document 129 different species in the Bombay region. But the demography of the city has changed since Independence,” said Nelson Rodrigues, a nature enthusiast and the author of this book who spent six years of research to write it. He notices that lists of local species were made up even before this book but they've never been combined in one document. “In this book, I have also included three species that were recently discovered in the Mumbai region — the Abnormal Silverline (Cigaritis abnormis), the Giant Red Eye (Gangara thyrsis) and the Large Guava Blue (Virachola perse),” he said.
“I have kept the language devoid of jargon so that the book can be read by students and nature enthusiasts alike,” said Rodrigues who systematized butterflies not by families but colors.
Butterflies perform an important role in pollinating plants and they themselves are ecological indicators. “Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling even in greener pockets of the city because of the use of pesticides and the weeding out of wild plants on which the butterflies feed or lay eggs,” said Rodrigues, adding that the Southern Birdwing (Troides minos), the biggest known butterfly in India, is not seen anymore in Mumbai.
Whilst Rodrigues plans to support people in arranging butterfly gardens near forests or villages all over Maharashtra state, he advises to those who are eager to see Mumbai butterflies to go look for them in Maharashtra Nature Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Yeoor Hills in Thane or in the Vasai fort.
Daily News & Analysis, http://www.dnaindia.com
Photo: Troides minos butterfly, Vaikoovery, http://fr.wikipedia.org
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