Butterflies are fascinating , which led me to rearing a few of them . When I started to rear them I had to get host plants for the caterpillars so I started to look for trees and plants .Tried to identify the plants and look for caterpillars on them . My apartment housekeeping staff came to know about my latest obsession of hunting for caterpillars among trees and used to deposit any insect or caterpillar at my doorstep.I had to tell them that they need not get them to me but I needed information on the location of any unusual insect or caterpillar in our surroundings.
Once I asked them to come and see the newly emerged butterfly at home ,they were awestruck at the beautiful butterfly .This motivated them to do better and look more keenly under the leaves on the branches.My friends came to know about my butterfly rearing through my blog posts .
One day my friend Padma called up , she said ” There are four caterpillars on my oleander plant . Please come and take them away”.Later I went to her house to collect the caterpillars and explained to her that these caterpillars feed only on the oleander plants. She said ” These caterpillars polish all the leaves and there are no flowers for pooja”. I told her to think if she really needed to collect flowers by destroying the caterpillars .
I took them home and started rearing them by feeding them Oleander leaves form a nearby garden.They eat voraciously and have a scary look to .
They have the eye like pattern to keep the predators away. Occasionally when I am trying to move them to another container they give sudden movements that yielded a few involuntary shrieks from me .
After a couple of days it they turned into a pupa as below.
The emerged moth turned out to be a stunner . They looked more like fighter planes ,very well camouflaged in any green surrounding .
After seeing these beautiful moths , my friend has realized that caterpillars should not be harmed or destroyed . They have an important role to play in the environment .Hope more people realize this truth .
“During the week it is the duty of the maid to keep the garden alive. Over the weekend, if and when we find a little time from all other activities we tend to devote to the garden. During this time, if we see that a leaf or two is damaged, we even go to the extent of using pesticides, insecticides and such chemical concoctions to keep the plants in our little gardens “healthy”. This is not without cursing the maid under our breath for negligence. We indulge in all this, without even trying to find out the reason behind the damaged foliage. Also, we have not been around enough to chance upon the reason for the few damaged leaves” – quotes Karthikeyan Srinivasan in his post .