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Popular butterflies seen at the farm

We all have seen butterflies around us and at various points perhaps have been awestruck by their beauty. Did you know that in addition to being pleasing to the eyes and soul, butterflies are critical for a healthy natural environment?

Butterflies maintain the ecosystem :

  • act as a pollinator

  • prey

  • biological pest control

  • induc genetic variation in plants

  • reduce the level of carbon dioxide in air

  • and enhance environmental beauty as well

A diversity of butterflies means that there is diversity in the ecosystem as they are very choosy and specific about their feeding and egg laying plants! The biologically diverse India harbours about 1500 species of butterflies which constitute 65% of total Indian fauna. Of these 18% are found in Maharashtra and many of these are found at this lovely farm. The largest among these is the Common Blue Mormon which is the state butterfly of Maharashtra and is the second largest butterfly found in India.

Although they can be seen throughout the year, they occur more commonly in the monsoon or after it.

Some of the commonly found butterflies in Maharashtra are the Danaid Eggfly, Lemon Pansy, Pea Blue and Blue Tiger. These can be seen here at JE Farm!

Danaid Eggfly

Males are blackish with distinctive white spots that are fringed in blue while females mimic (in appearance) the similar-sized Plain Tiger, a toxic butterfly.

Males are more easy to spot than females because they have a greater responsibility towards the survival of their species, while the male’s role is restricted to mating.

Males tend to fly higher and faster than the females, who prefer being close to the ground. When disturbed, the males quickly gain height to reach a tree branch, whereas females tend to move to nearby bushes.

Lemon Pansy

It is the most common of the six Pansies in India. It is a very bold butterfly with strong territorial and aggressive behaviour but not as much as the Peacock Pansy (which can also be seen at the farm!). It flies quickly and strongly but with less fluttering of wings.

It is brown with numerous eyespots as well as black and lemon-yellow spots and lines on the upperside of the wings. The underside is a dull brown, with a number of wavy lines and spots in varying shades of brown and black. There is also an eyespot on the lower side of the forewing. The wet- and dry-season forms differ considerably in coloration and even shape. In the wet-season form the markings are distinct and vivid and the wing shape is a little more rounded. In the dry-season form the markings are obscure and pale especially on the underside and the wing margin is more angular and jagged. This helps it camouflage in the dried leaf litter.

Pea Blue

The males have a mainly blue violet upper face of the wings with the brown edges, while the females have only a small amount of blue colour in the centre of the wings. Both have a thin, long tail in the hindwings and two black spots in the anal angle. The underface of the wings is ocher and adorned with white markings and with a larger white submarginal streak. The underface of each hindwing shows a pair of small black eye-spots beside each tail, with an orange marginal spots at the anal angle.

Blue Tiger

The Blue tiger is a delight to the eye. The head, antennae and thorax is brownish black in colour, with white dots on the head and neck. The Blue Tiger Butterflies have brownish black upperparts, with bluish white semi hyaline spots and streaks.

The butterflies of this group are the longest lived of all species. They feed mostly on toxic plants, fly slowly and spend long periods resting in sheltered areas during winter.

This species migrates extensively during the monsoons in southern India. The migratory populations have been observed to consist nearly entirely of males.

For those of you interested in a complete list of butterfly species that have been spotted on the farm, scroll further. This list is courtesy of Dr Krishnmegh Kunte, 1996 .

  1. Glassy Tiger

  2. Blue Tiger

  3. Common Tiger

  4. Plain Tiger

  5. Common Indian Crow

  6. Common Bush Brown

  7. Common Tree Brown

  8. Common ThreeRing

  9. Common FiveRing

  10. Common Evening Brown

  11. Black Rajah

  12. Common Nawab

  13. Common Baron

  14. Baronet

  15. Sailor

  16. Danid Eggfly

  17. Great Eggfly

  18. Yellow Pansy

  19. Blue Pansy

  20. Lemon Pansy

  21. Peacock Pansy

  22. Grey Pansy

  23. Chocolate Pansy

  24. Painted Lady

  25. Common Leopard

  26. Joker

  27. Common Castor

  28. Angled Castor

  29. Tawny Coaster

  30. Plum Judy

  31. Red Pierrot

  32. Common Pierrot

  33. Angled Pierrot

  34. Zebra Blue

  35. Babul Blue

  36. Hedge Blue

  37. Lime Blue

  38. Grass Jewel

  39. Pale Grass Blue

  40. Dark Grass Blue

  41. Tiny Grass blue

  42. Lesser Grass Blue

  43. Gram Blue

  44. Plains Cupid

  45. Forget-me-not

  46. Pea Blue

  47. Dark Cerulean

  48. Common Cerulean

  49. Lineblue

  50. Sunbeam

  51. Common Silverine

  52. Plains Blue Royal

  53. Slate Flash

  54. Indian Red Flash

  55. Crimson Rose

  56. Common Rose

  57. Blue Mormon

  58. Lime

  59. Tailed Jay

  60. Comon Mormon

  61. Pysche

  62. Common Jezebel

  63. Common Gull

  64. Pioneer

  65. White Orangetip.

  66. Small Orangetip

  67. Common Wanderer

  68. Common Emigrant

  69. Mottled Emigrant

  70. Small Grass Yellow

  71. Spotless Grass Yellow

  72. Common Banded Awl

  73. Brown Awl

  74. Indian Skipper

  75. Palm Bob

  76. Rice Swift

  77. Grass Demon

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