Tech special: New app helps identify 153 species of butterflies

Oct 30, 2014, 04:45 IST | Dhara Vora

I Love Butterflies, a new Android-based application, will help enthusiasts to identify 153 species that are found in and around Mumbai and Thane

The fun of spotting any species from the animal world and learning its name is what every nature lover can relate to. One such pleasure we have often pursued is chasing butterflies.

Blue Tiger butterflies
Blue Tiger butterflies play away at Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden in Thane. Pic/Rane Ashish.

Though, being able to identify the species is a skill that has left us feeling inadequate. To aid butterfly enthusiasts like yours truly, Thane resident Yuwaraj Gurjar has created an Android-based application called I Love Butterflies.

One can scroll through either the family or the colour section and learn more about butterflies

This simple free-to-download application provides photographs and data on 153 butterflies seen in Mumbai and Thane (there are nearly 165 butterflies found so far).

Once you click on a section in the main category, a list of butterflies from that category can be viewed

The genesis
“I have spent several Sundays for 25 years heading to Yeoor forest and recording data about the butterflies I have spotted there,” says Gurjar, who is a deputy manager at a textile company when he isn’t busy admiring nature. Gurjar has also written a Marathi book called Chhaan Kiti Distay about butterflies.

Each butterfly has an image and information for basic idea about the insect

He wanted to create an app to aid butterfly lovers, technologically. It took him three to four years to gather data for the application, and to also get a company to help him develop the application, which for him was the most difficult part. Developing company Xoriant helped him create this app for free due to the cause of education that the app supports.

Yuwaraj Gurjar
Yuwaraj Gurjar

How does it work?
The simple application can be downloaded for free from Google play and does not need any Internet connection to function. “We had to make an app that runs without Internet as you wouldn’t have an Internet connection when you are in the middle of a jungle,” says Gurjar.

After you get it running, you’ll spot two divisions — based on the family name and colour. This is ideal for amateurs who can tap on the section based on the colour of the butterfly they’ve spotted and get the details of the species. Every description gives the family name, wingspan, habit, habitat and spotting details.

There are also photographs to accompany this data (though some sections don’t have open wing images of the butterflies). It’s possible to do a search by name too. Our trial of the application proved to be an easy navigation, making us feel like a butterfly expert by the end of the day.

Log on to:

Sign up for this workshop
If you wish to learn more about butterflies, attend this two-day butterfly workshop by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) that will be conducted by butterfly expert and author of The Book of Indian Butterflies, Isaac Kehimkar.

This audio-visual talk will include demonstrations of preserved specimens at BNHS, tips on photographing them, a field excursion to Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden in Thane and study material, too. One section that got us excited about this workshop was a talk to help you make a butterfly garden on your window sill!

On: November 8 and 9
(Day 1) At: Hornbill House, opposite Lion Gate, near Kala Ghoda.
(Day 2) At: Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden, Thane.
Cost: Rs 2,900 for non-members
Call: 22871202

Did you know?
The best time of the day for butterfly spotting is early in the morning when they are also easier to photograph. This is because they tend to get more active once the sunlight gets intense.

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