July 10, 2019
Tamil Nadu became the fifth state in India on June 30, 2019, to announce a state butterfly, a symbol, among many others, to signify its rich cultural and natural heritage. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Kerala already have state butterflies, though Kerala has yet to pass a government order on its chosen species.
Tamil Yeoman also called Tamil Maravan for its warrior instincts (scientific name Cirrochorathais Fabricus 1787) was chosen from among 36 species of butterflies endemic to the Western Ghats.
A butterfly researcher helping the Coimbatore District Forest Office (DFO) who doesn’t want to be named, tells The Covai Post: “There are 324 species of butterflies found in the Western Ghats. We choseTamil Yeoman as its larval host plant (scientific name hydnocarpuspendandrais) is also endemic to Western Ghats. So both the plants and the butterflies will be preserved for future generations.”
Tamil Yeoman has tawny coloured wings, belongs to the Nympholoid family or brush footed butterflies. It lays larva in vertical chains on the underside of leaves in its host plant until it grows to its adult size of 60-70 mm.
Butterflies are an important part of biodiversity, where they help to preserve a rich ecosystem and help climate study. Tamil Nadu has many butterfly research facilities like the Tropical Butterfly Conservatory near Tiruchi, Butterfly Park at the Chennai zoo, Devala Butterfly Park in Gudalur and Insect Museum in Coimbatore.
M Senthil Kumar, the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore tells The Covai Post, “We feel butterflies are too insignificant, but their work is tremendous, from pollination to conservation of an ecosystem. We only notice larger animals in the forest, but the contribution of these tiny creatures in forestation is amazing.”
He wants more butterfly study parks in Tamil Nadu. “Anaikatty in the Western Ghats has a large butterfly population of many species, so our Coimbatore district must definitely have a park there. Nowadays we can see butterflies only in such protected areas, as depleting greenery and commercial constructions have edged them out in the cities,” said Senthil Kumar.
Tamil Yeoman was chosen after intensive research by dedicated conservationists and forest researchers.