Migratory butterflies reach early this year; hints at climate change
Kalpetta: Migratory butterflies have started arriving in the state, indicating climate change. Earlier, they used to come to South India during September-November. But this time, they started coming early. Some of the butterflies reached by July itself.
They were first spotted at Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Western Ghats on July 14. More migratory butterflies are appearing in Wayanad nowadays.
The butterflies visit the forests in Western Ghats from Eastern Ghats and the plains in South India. They reach the forests in order to escape from the heavy rains during monsoon. They fly around 300-500 kilometres in a year.
"Butterflies migrating early indicates changes in the climate," said butterfly watcher P A Vinayan.
46 species of migratory butterflies
Millions of butterflies migrate to Western Ghats every year. About 46 species of butterflies come to Kerala. Among them, dark blue tiger, blue tiger, common crow and double-banded crow are the most notable species.
They are called milkweed butterflies as their larvae feed on poisonous plants that have milky sap.
Besides them, lime swallowtail, lemon pansy, common leopard, blue pansy, common and lemon emigrants are also migratory butterflies. Not many studies are conducted in Kerala regarding the butterfly migration. More information regarding the migration pattern and reasons behind the movement of milkweed butterflies are not available, said butterfly watchers.
Ferns Nature Conservation Society (FNCS) is studying butterfly migration in South India. The forest department initiates to develop this into a study programme with public participation. When FNCS requested people to inform them about butterfly migration, a huge response was received. Thus, FNCS developed a map of butterfly migration based on information collected from Wayanad.
Millions of butterflies would enter hibernation in the tropical forests in Western Ghats during summer. FNCS is all set to expand their study on this. FNCS president Vinayan said that people can contact them using the numbers 9497402761 and 9846704353, to inform them about butterfly migration.