State bird, state animal or state fruit and flower are a common feature found in many regions of the country, but a state butterfly is a rare instance. After Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, and Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu stands to be the fifth state in India to identify a state butterfly. Tamil Yeoman (Cirrochorathais) was chosen as the state butterfly after three-year-long research.
Why was the Tamil Yeoman Selected as the State Butterfly?
Known as Tamizh Maravan in the Tamil language, this species which is 65-75mm is one of the most beautiful tawny-coloured butterflies in South India. “While choosing a butterfly various important factors need to be considered like the name should represent the culture and state of the Tamilnadu (sic). Also, the butterfly species is very rare. It is a Western Ghat endemic and can be spotted within mountains, river stream, and hillocks. Apart from the above, Tamil Yeoman has also been listed under 2015 IUCN Redlist (International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species). This helps to create awareness that leads to conservation aspects”, Mohan Prasath, Founder of Aeon Charitable Trust and a butterfly activist told NewsOnPets.
Tamil Nadu and Butterflies
Tamil Nadu is known to be the best place for butterflies as it is rich in biodiversity and the mountainous terrain of the Western Ghats or the Eastern Ghats contributes to diversity in ecology that helps discover butterfly hotspots around the region.
What is a ‘Butterfly Hotspot?
It is a region where almost 25% of available butterfly species can be seen in all the seasons within a year. The hotspot can be within the range of a few kilometres or it can be as vast and huge as a butterfly sanctuary or reserve. Through observations by experts in the last six years, the Western and the Eastern ghats qualify to be butterfly hotspots while on the other hand, there are 32 butterfly hotspots identified in Tamil Nadu.
Butterfly Species in Tamil Nadu
As recorded, there are 36 species of butterflies endemic to Tamil Nadu of which Tamil Lacewing, Tamil Catseye, Tamil Yeoman, Tamil Dartlet, Southern Birdwing, Malabar Banded Peacock,
Malabar Banded Swallowtail, Nilgiri Tit, Nilgiri Grass Yellow, Sitala Ace, Nilgiri Tiger, Malabar Rose, Malabar Tree Nymph, Palni Bush-Brown, Blue Oakleaf are few of the many notable species. Among all of these, the few recommendations for a state butterfly was the Common Banded Peacock.