Nagpur: The 9th meeting of the state wildlife board, highest decision-making body on projects falling within 10km from the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, on Monday declared Blue Mormon species of butterfly as the state butterfly.
Earlier, the state government has declared Giant Squirrel as state animal, Green Pigeon as state bird, Mango as state tree and Jarul as state flower. But this is for the first time a butterfly has been declared as state butterfly.
A proposal in this regard was moved with PCCF by Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) chairman Vilas Bardekar last month. Bardekar, an expert in butterflies, took over as MSBB chief early this month.
Talking to TOI, Bardekar said Blue Mormon is the biggest butterfly after southern birding butterfly. This is a black coloured velvet winged butterfly. There are bright blue spots on the wings and a red spot on the body.
This butterfly occurs only in Sri Lanka, Vidarbha, Western Ghats of Maharashtra, South India and eastern seashore area of India. “Like birds, nature lovers are also attracted to the butterflies and it is an important unit of biodiversity. It is a good indicator of healthy forests,” Bardekar said.
Butterflies are interrelated with the plants, hence they are important insects. In Maharashtra, about 225 species of butterflies are recorded. Out of the total number of butterflies in the country, 15% of species are found in Maharashtra.
“No state in the country has declared a state butterfly. Butterflies are neglected till now. Declaring Blue Mormon as state butterfly will make people aware about butterfly conservation,” said Bardekar.