Sri Lanka names its national butterfly


Endemic SriLanka Birdwind Butterfly – Troides Darsius flits to fame

It is the largest Sri Lankan butterfly with a wingspan spreading 165-180 mm. Its large forewings are glossy black and hindwings bright yellow with a black margin making it ‘hard to miss’ when in flight.  Scientifically classified as Troides darsius, this black and yellow butterfly – the Sri Lanka Birdwing found only in Sri Lanka has just been named Sri Lanka’s national butterfly.

The declaration of a national butterfly is aimed at raising public concern on butterfly conservation. Sri Lanka Birdwing was recommended as the National Butterfly by the Butterfly Expert Group established under the Biodiversity Secretariat of the Environment Ministry.  The recommendation for Sri Lanka Birdwing has been made considering its unique characteristics-that it is endemic and also the largest butterfly found here. Other facts – that the butterfly does not show pest behaviour at any stage of its lifecycle; is not a vectoring agent of disease; and is not associated with any negative cultural or spiritual beliefs, were also considered in the selection.
“Another reason for choosing Birdwing as Sri Lanka’s National Butterfly is its wide distribution,” says butterfly expert Dr. Michael van der Poorten. The Sri Lanka Birdwing is common in rainforest habitats in the wet zone, but is also seen in the intermediate zone and dry zone. However, more than the dense forests, the Birdwing prefers forest edges – even home gardens.

“The Birdwing can even be found in Colombo suburbs. By planting its host plant, it can be attracted to home gardens,” Dr. Van der Poorten adds. The Birdwing lays its eggs on the Sap sanda plant and prefers to feed on ixora and pinna flowers.

The Butterfly Expert Group is also preparing a Butterfly Conservation Action Plan. Sri Lanka is home to 243 varieties of butterflies of which 20 are endemic. Of these, 66 species have been listed in a ‘threatened’ category, due to habitat destruction and environmental pollution.

Published on SundayTimes on 28.03.2010

One Response to “Sri Lanka names its national butterfly”

  1. prabhu Podipireddy Says:

    Butterfly India Meet 2010.
    Organised by: ASIAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION, Hyderabad.

    Total Participation restricted to 30 only.
    Participation fee Rs.3500 INR (Vizag toVizag). Fee includes all logistics, food (vegetarian) tea and light snacks. Stay will be dormitory type or sharing.
    There is no spot registration.
    Registration closes by 01-08-2010,
    cancellations closes by 10-08-2010 (only 50% refundable in case of cancellation)

    Please deposit the cheque in Asian Wildlife Foundation account at any
    AXIS bank, A/C No. 008010100901055.
    After deposition, please mail the details of cheque, name and address to

    For clarification contact 90004 04076
    mail to:

    Program Schedule :
    [program may undergo minor changes subject to weather and local conditions]

    Day 1
    19th August 10, Thursday

    06:30am Meet at Vizag Railway Station
    07:30am Departure For Araku
    10:30am Arrival Borra Caves, tea & snacks
    11:30am Transfer to Buses
    01:30pm Arrival Araku & Room allocation and lunch
    02:30pm Field Visit
    04:30pm Tea & Snacks
    07:00pm Return to Base camp
    07:30pm Meet and Greet with Project Director ITDA, Paderu.
    Group discussion, slide shows & Dinner.
    09:30pm Light trap for moths

    Day 2
    20th August 10, Friday

    06:00am Tea
    07:30am Breakfast
    08:30am Field Visit
    10:30am Tea & Snacks
    01:30pm Lunch on field
    03:30pm Tea & Snacks
    07:00pm Return to Base camp
    07:30pm Group discussion, Film – slide shows & Dinner.
    09:30pm Light trap for moths

    Day 3
    21st August 10, Saturday

    06:00am Tea & Breakfast,
    07:00am Travel to Paderu. 45 km. from Araku valley Field visit for the entire day.
    Minumuluru, Hukumpet, Kinchumanda, Dumbriuda (Field visit for the entire day)
    10:30am Tea & Snacks
    01:30pm Lunch on field
    03:30pm Tea & Snacks
    07:00pm Return to Base camp
    07:30pm Group discussion, Film – slide shows & Dinner.
    09:30pm Light trap for moths

    Day 4
    22nd August 10 Sunday

    06:00am Tea,
    07:00am Break fast
    08:00am Visit to padmavati Gardens & Ranjelda water falls
    10:00am return to Base camp, Room checkout.
    11:00pm Sunkarametta Shandy visit
    01:30pm Lunch at Ananthagiri hill
    03:00pm Damuku , Downhill walk
    05:00pm Tea & snacks at Tyada
    08:30pm arrival at Vizag


    Butterfly India Group
    Butterfly Conservation Society
    Green zone

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