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Butterflies of Tamil Nadu captured in a book

P. Mohanprasath and N. Satheesh with their book Butterflies of Tamil Nadu in Chennai.

Did you know that Tamil Nadu has 326 species of butterflies identified so far? And did you know that the fragile vannathu poochi (or pattaam poochi) we chased as children are important ecological indicators?

“If you find butterflies in parks or in your gardens, it means these areas are fine for living. Butterflies are very sensitive to environmental changes and will migrate if they cannot survive,” explains N. Satheesh, Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu Forest Plantation Corporation Limited (TAFCORN), Tiruchi.

Mr. Satheesh, along with P. Mohanprasath, who works with the NGO, Act of Butterfly, has authored a book titled Butterflies of Tamil Nadu. Volunteers with the Act of Butterfly study the activities of the pretty insects, including their annual mass migration.

The book, with colourful photographs of 316 species found in the State, was recently released in the city.

The culmination of a two-year project, the book explains the ecological role of butterflies, their life cycle, and a list of 32 butterfly 'hotspots' in the State. It would make a good addition to any library.

Tamil Nadu has two butterfly parks — one in Srirangam in Tiruchi, and another in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur near Chennai. “If you want to watch butterflies, the best time is either between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. or from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. When it's hot, they would rather hide in the shade than flit around in the sun,” Mr. Satheesh says. The book is priced at ₹ 900.

Copies can be purchased at the Forest Department office in Saidapet after a few days.


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