By Nisarga Srinivasa, a student of GSSS Institute of Engineering and Technology for Women, Mysuru.
The legendary Kukkarahalli Lake in Mysuru is a treat to naturalists, as it homes a varieties of wild forms. The lake is a peaceful, fresh and cherishable atmosphere to the people who visit it to take a leisurely walk, meet friends, learn and do birding.
The Lake has always been a preferred choice for the birds, mammals, amphibians and insects to exist, breed and grow. There are varieties of flora in the lake surroundings and they are the shelter and food for the life forms there.
Many butterfly host plants invite a huge diversity of butterflies every year. Around 85 species of butterflies including the common and rare ones have been recorded in the lake surroundings. And each butterfly species is thriving on variety of host plants which are plenty in numbers.
Few well-known common butterflies are–Common wanderer (Pareronia valeria), Common sailor (Neptis hylas ), Red pierrot(Talicada nyseus),Common orangetip (Anthocharis cardamines), Tawny coaster(Acraea terpsicore), Crimson tip(Colotis danae) etc. Rare butterflies include Common Lascar (Pantoporia hordonia), Apefly (Spalgis epeus), Common redeye (Matapa aria) etc.
There are many families of butterfly host plants, for example – Bombacaceae, Fabaceae, Icacinaceae, Mimosaceae, Sterculiaceae, Tiliaceae etc.There is move to establish a butterfly park in Kukkarahalli Lake by the authorities concerned, which would have all the butterfly host plants and other necessary environment to attract butterflies. Once a butterfly park is established, it will require constant maintenance, care and improvisations. All these necessitate plenty of money to be spent and viable infrastructure. The gardeners need to be educated, made aware of the plant life, butterfly life cycle and what sort of atmosphere they require.
If the host plants are trimmed/ uprooted/weeded out, without any knowledge of what might be the future consequences, it might lead to decrease in butterfly count. Since the park will be established in a particular plot of area, the butterflies will be restricted to only that area. Instead, if the host plants are left to grow naturally in different patches across the lake surroundings it will have better impact. The human interference, increase in the visitor’s numbers, all these might directly/indirectly affect the serene days of butterflies.
If the existing flora, especially the butterfly host plants are identified, preserved and increased in number, it will definitely increase the butterfly count.
The choices we have are, either to conserve the existing favourable natural environment or to have a butterfly park which must be constantly maintained and which will take scores of years to attain what naturally the lake has from time immemorial. The authorities concerned must seriously think about this before taking any decision.