Sammilan Shetty’s Butterfly Park in Belvai village, Moodabidri is colourfully sprinkled with butterflies. On September 4th a record number of 800 butterflies, including 11 clippers were spotted in the park, which is spread across 7.35 acres of land.
While speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Sammilan Shetty, lecturer at the Lakshmi Memorial College of Hotel Management in Mangalore, a passionate butterfly lover and conservationist, said, ‘About 150 emigrant species of butterflies were spotted. We also spotted about 60 tailed jays. Both sexes of tailed jays are very fast fliers and continue vibrating their wings rapidly even when they pause to nectar at flowers.’ Shetty established the butterfly park in 2011.
The other important sightings are the cruiser butterfly and autumn leaf. The cruisers are pre-dominantly found in the forests of tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. The caterpillar of the autumn leaf butterfly are plenty here, mainly due to the availability of the host plant Pseuderanthemum which is grown at the park. It feeds mainly on leaves of its host plants.
The Malabar Banded Peacock is one of the most dazzling butterflies that was seen in the park. This endemic species is considered the pride of the Western Ghats. Red Helen —– a locally found huge butterfly —— was also spotted. The park has already recorded more than 100 species of butterflies. On August 31st, about 42 species were recorded. On September7th the watcher recorded 44 species.
The time between July and November is considered as the best season for butterfly watching. They are mostly seen between 8.30a.m. and 11a.m. The presence of a large source of nectar, especially because of conservation of host and nectar plants is one of the reasons for the record number of sightings. The park boasts of four species of nectar plants belonging to stachyterpheta which is drawing a huge number of butterflies as well as lantana species.