Butterflies are gorgeous. Period. They never fail to entertain as they hover from one flower to another. Their bright-coloured wings are a treat to the eyes. I bet there are hardly few people who do not love them. But when was the last time when you took notice of them, chased them or actually planned a trip around butterflies? Well I did one very recently and it turned out to be super fun. I attended the recently concluded butterfly festival in Ramnagar in Uttarakhand. The event was called ‘Titli Tyar’ 2021, and was planned over a period of fifteen days. I joined two butterfly walks at Aahana-the Corbett Wilderness. (Titli is the hindi word for butterfly.)
Personally, I have always been fond of the four winged fairy like beauties. But recently when I got to see and learn about them more closely, I developed a new eye for them. We know very little about butterflies when it comes to their different stages of their life-cycle and the big transformation that they undergo (from egg to adult). Do you know caterpillars eat their own egg shell after they make their way out? The entire process of metamorphosis is extremely fascinating.
What is Titli Tyar 2021?
Titli Tyar is one-of-its kind butterfly festival, an initiative taken in Kyari region in Ramnagar, Corbett in the past two years. Several naturalists, subject experts, eco-resorts, Uttarakhand tourism in collaboration with the local community decided to come together to create awareness around butterflies. Another reason was to bring some cheer and enthusiasm among the locals after the lockdowns. Also, some of them claimed that why should Corbett be only known for its tigers, why not even the butterflies? Read my blog on Asian elephants of Corbett.
The knowledge sharing sessions on the life-cycle, host plants, their role in the ecosystem and the defense mechanism turned out to be thrilling and informative. And to learn from the butterfly lovers, lepidopterists, nature educators came was indeed a priviledge. I have returned with a newly-found admiration for butterflies.
Butterflies and their ecosystem
When was the last time when you observed a caterpillar or a pupa or a butterfly? Honestly, none of us bothers to stop and stare. We leave those experiences for vacations and holidays. But these small joys can be found all around us. We need not go too far. Even our cities have lots of butterflies. But yes, learning about them in the lap of nature turned out to be an entirely different experience for me. My staycation at Aahana in Corbett, was in the lap of nature. The resort has more than thousand plants and trees and it has been nurtured in a way that it protects the small insects, butterflies and birds and lets them thrive in there. Thus, it was very easy to spot the butterflies within the premises.
The walk was led by Prachi Singh, a lepidopterist from Faridabad and was attended by local naturalists, nature educators from Delhi NCR, photographers, travel writers and guests. We were lucky enough to spot eggs, caterpillars, pupa, dead skin of pupa and seven varieties of butterflies in two days.
Also the knowledge sharing sessions were very intriguing. On an individual level, I learned a lot. It was fun to know about their host plants, about their different stages of the life-cycle, about their defense mechanism and survival tactics. Now, even I can spot the host plants and look for some butterflies. Also the eaten leaves of some of the plants hinted that caterpillars were around. Nectar filled flowers are their favorites. There are many plants which act as perfect magnets for butterflies. While there are some which are their favorites.
The Defense Mechanism of Butterflies
Butterflies play an important role in the food chain. Butterflies and moths do most of their eating when they are in the caterpillar stage. They evolve and transform from one stage to another. But how do they protect themselves from predators? They are blessed with patterns to camauflage. The bright color patterns on some butterfly’s wings help to hide them from their predators.
Some facts about BUTTERFLIES
- Robert Frost used to call the butterflies as “flying flowers.”
- The French call the butterflies as papillon, which means “parking ticket.”
- The English and Amercians call them butterflies.
- Butterflies have four wings, which we assume as two.
- They do not have eyelids. The eyes are always open.
- The mouth of a butterfly is called proboscis. They do not eat like us but suck through proboscis,
- Butterflies and moths are different. All butterflies are not big, some are mistaken as moths.
- Butterflies migrate due to environmental and climate change. Their presence indicates healthy environment.
Do share you views about butterflies, your knowledge about them and have done any butterfly walk?
I look forward to being part of the ‘Titli Tyar’ next year as well.