Winged Wonders of Baidyabati
Nestled on the outskirts of Kolkata along the DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation) canal is a peri-urban conglomeration called Baidyabati. Currently an area under the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, Baidyabati is paradise for both butterflies and birds. Although much of the areas comprise of agricultural lands, areas along the canal are dotted by trees and shrubs which act as host plants for the butterflies. Let us take a look at some of these winged wonders!
Common Silverline(Cigaritis vulcanus):
This species has a unique way to confuse its predators! In the first glance, it is difficult to figure out which is the head as it has hairy antennae protruding from the ends of the wings. It is a fast flyer but keeps to low bushes. Prefers open lightly wooded areas as well as gardens. Some of the larval food plants of the species in this area are Zizyphus rugosa, Lxora longifolia, Clerodendrum siphomanthus.
Common Pierrot (Castalius rosimon):
Belonging to the family of Lycaenids, the species is distributed throughout India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka & Myanmar. The upper side is mainly black and white with metallic green scaling in a scattered manner at the wing base. The wing margins are black with tiny white dots. The flight is weak and fluttering, taking short flights close to the ground. It is fond of sunlight and basking as well as damp patches. Some of the larval food plants of the species in this area are Ziziphus jujuba, Ziziphus mauritiana, ziziphus oenoplia.
Gram Blue (Euchrysops cnejus):
Belonging to the Lycenid family, this species is distributed throughout India except at very high elevations. The underside is light grey, with a line of light brown spots that are white-edged and a bar at the end-cell of each wing. There are two black spots on costa and 2 Orange-crowned black tornal spots with metallic silver centers present on the hindwings. The male is violet-blue (above) with a dark thin border, while the female is brown. Some of the larval food plants of the species in this area are Butea monosperma, Ougenia dalbergoides, Pisum sativum, Vigna cylindrical and Vigna trilobata.
Palmfly (Elymnias hypermnestra):
This is a species of satyrid butterfly found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
Upper side the male is bluish black, with a series of large purplish or bluish spots around the apex and wing margins. The female is slightly larger. On the underside, both sexes of all of the subspecies are brown, finely marbled with reddish, and with a smudge of whitish scales near the apex of the forewing. On the hind-wing, there is usually a white spot just beyond the discal cell. When this butterfly flies it shows a beautiful dark blue color while it closes it shows a camouflage if it sits on a dry leaf. In this picture, this camouflage shows here. Some of the larval host plants of this species are Arenga wightii, Areca catechu, Calamus rotang, Cocos nucifera.