State, Sri Lanka join hands to study Blue Mormon butterfly
Though the Blue Mormon was declared the state butterfly in June, very little information is available about the winged insect.
An official said papers will be published after research. Pic/Yuwaraj Gurjar
To overcome this hurdle, forest minister Sudhir Mungatiwar announced that his department would be collaborating with the Sri Lankan government to study the species in detail. The decision was taken at a recent meet between Mungantiwar and Sri Lankan ambassador Saroja Sirisena.
The forest minister said, “We met the Consul General and various topics were discussed during the meet, including a detailed study on Blue Mormon, as the butterfly is also present in Sri Lanka.”
An official from the forest ministry said in-depth research would be conducted on the butterfly. “Once complete, papers will be published and measures will be implemented to promote the butterfly in the state as well as Sri Lanka,” the official added.
Sirisena even invited Mungatiwar to Sri Lanka to study the island country’s forest and the high density of leopards they sustain.
“We will visit Sri Lanka to study leopards, as the state has a considerable big cat population. Even in Mumbai, we have leopards in Aarey and Sanjay Gandhi National Park,” the official said.
Reciprocating her courtesy, Mungatiwar asked Sirisena to visit the Tadoba tiger reserve in Chandrapur, which the government is promoting vigorously.
As part of the promotional campaign, the state has planned a two-day Tadoba festival at the Gateway of India in September.
>> Blue Mormon (Papilio polymnestor) is the second largest butterfly in India, after Southern Birdwing
>> It has velvet, black wings with bright blue spots. While the lower end of the wings are black, the body has a few red spots on one side
>> Interestingly, this butterfly species is only found in Sri Lanka, Western Ghats of Maharashtra, South India and coastal belts of the country