The Old Magazine House at Ganeshgudi is located on Londa – Dandeli Road. The entire camp is covered with thick tree-growth constituting the Reserve Forest, which is out of bounds for the general public.The camp is surrounded by some of the finest moist deciduous forests. These forests support a fine assortment of wildlife.It is a biodiversity hotspot more known for armchair birding of birds where you do not have to strain yourself for spotting birds.
After I started buttering ( Butterfly watching) this was my first trip to Ganeshgudi, I realised that it is a treasure trove for butterflies too. Southern birdwings, Red Helens and Blue mormons, Cruisers and Lacewings ,Malabar tree nymphs flutter by so gracefully past you, it is a treat to watch them . Some images below show a snapshot of the trip.
The Blue mormon was nectaring on lantana . The flight of this butterfly is a treat to watch.The blue mormon has a rapid unidirectional flight and frequently changes course, hopping up and down in its flight path.The Blue Mormon is an important pollinator of Cardamom .
The eye-like markings on the forewings of the Glad eye bush brown butterfly appear to wink at the observer when it flicks open it’s wings.
Cruiser butterflies came by their name due to their robust flying and soaring abilities, allowing the species to propagate over long distances, even across the oceans of the Indo-Australian region. Their wings, spanning nearly 2.5 inches, are covered with both scales and fur. While males are more commonly seen on the ground or flying low, patrolling for mates along edge habitat, females achieve greater heights, even laying eggs at more than 5,000 feet in the tropical rainforest canopy.
Like many species, cruisers utilize mimicry and camouflage to reduce the risk of predation. All Vindula species possess one or two pairs of small, circular “eyespots” on the rear of each hindwing. Eye spots have been shown to reduce susceptibility to predators, not by mimicking the eyes of larger animals as once thought, but by startling predators with the conspicuousness of the spots.
The Lacewing dazzled in the sunlight. One of the brilliantly colored butterflies. The intricate patterns on it justifies the name lacewing.
The Southern Birdwing is the largest endemic butterfly found in southern India. It looks more like a bird flying due to its huge wingspan, it is seen sailing as high as 30 to 40 feet over the countryside. It flies in a leisurely manner circling around jungle clearings and also frequents hill-tops.
We found Red Helen and Malabar raven mud puddling. Males seem to benefit from the sodium uptake through mud-puddling behaviour with an increase in reproductive success. The collected sodium and amino acids are often transferred to the female with the spermatophore during mating as a nuptial gift. This nutrition also enhances the survival rate of the eggs.
The list of butterflies seen are
Red Helen (Papilio helenus)
Tamil Lacewing (Cethosia nietneri)
Water snowflat (Tagiades litigiosa)
Monkey puzzle (Rathinda amor)
Danaid eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus)
Gladeye bushbrown (Mycalesis patnia)
Common blue bottle (Graphium sarpedon)
Malabar raven ( Papilio dravidarum) Common wanderer (Pareronia valeria)
Restricted demon (Notocrypta curvifascia)
Tawny coster (Acraea terpsicore)
Malabar tree nymph (Idea malabarica)
Common cruiser (Vindula erota)
Common Lascar (Pantoporia hordonia)
Common hedge blue (Acytolepis puspa)
Bamboo tree brown (Lethe europa)
Common rose (Atrophaneura aristolochiae)
Crimson rose (Atrophaneura hector)
Small grass yellow (Eurema brigitta)
Lemon pansy ( Junonia lemonias)
Yellow pansy (Junonia hierta)
Pshyce ( Leptosia nina)
Blue tiger (Tirumala limniace)
Common grass yellow (Eurema hecabe)
Chocolate pansy (Junonia iphita)
Southern birdwing (Troides minos)
Common castor (Ariadne merione)
Common gull ( Cepora nerissa)
Common baron (Euthalia aconthea)
Common sailer (Neptis hylas)
Southern Rustic (Cupha erymanthis)
Common imperial (Cheritra freja)
Common leopard (Phalanta phalantha)
Tailed jay (Graphium agamemnon)
Srilankan Common quaker (Neopithecops zalmora)
Common mormon (Papilio polytes)
Blue mormon (Papilio polymnestor)
Great eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina)
Common peirrot (Castalius rosimon)
Common line blue(Prosotas nora superdates)
Some interesting links about Armchair birding at Ganeshgudi are given below
The link below highlights the importance of butterflies to our Ecosystem