From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, August 17: It is a University with the uniqueness of butterfly species around its campus of scenic beauty and environment friendly surroundings. This seat of higher learning is Rani Durgavati University situated in the heart of Jabalpur city of Madhya Pradesh. The research paper on the subject by Sanjay Panikar attached to the Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur, which finds place in the ‘Abstracts’ of the International Conference on Global Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability in the 21st Century organized by the department of ecology and environmental science, Assam University, documents several species of trees, shrubs, ornamental and flowery plants grown naturally or planted for beautification of the campus.
In the midst of the natural beauty and luxuriant growth of shrubs and plants, butterfly species of Lepidoptera meaning ‘scale wing’ are found in abundance. They are the important component of food chain, ecosystem sensitive insect due to environmental changes. They can be seen fluttering and flying in various habitats, gardens, parks, bushy roads to verdant forests.
Of the 25000 species of butterflies in the world, points out Sanjay Panikar, 15000 are in India. They are the subject of studies and research works more extensively around the world due to the fact that they are the ecological indicator. They are found in every part of the world in coexistence with flowery plants.
The study of Sanay Panikar deals with butterfly diversity in the University campus. Variety and abundance of butterfly fauna has been nicely projected in the researched paper. It has brought out the existence of 37 species of butterflies belonging to 5 distinct families of Papilionidae, Pierdae, Nymphalidae, Lycaenidae and Hasperiidae. Some of these are endangered and are under the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972. In contrast, Assam University campus at Durgakona, 20 km from here, and located adjacent to the inner line reserve forest with the ‘eco-forest’ on the backside and close to the tea estate of Silcoorie, Durgakona and Barjalenga has been subject to rapid vegetation-degradation. Prior to the establishment of the University, the area had dense tropical semi green forest cover. Though the University has taken up the construction activities and expansion of building complex to house different faculties, it has not laid any importance on the restoration of the lost greenery through massive plantation in and around the campus. The worst casualty of the construction activities has been the anurans, snakes and lizards, besides various known and unknown species of plants and shrubs.