Biodiversity Nepal
For the Future Generation

Why conserving butterflies?

Butterfly, butterfly which color do you like?

Anju Dhakal

The transformation from caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly is one of the wonders of nature. It has a fascinating life cycle whose attractive appearances is loved by all the people.
There are more than 28000 species of butterflies worldwide and are part of rich biodiversity in the tropical ecosystem. Butterflies have been used extensively in insect diversity studies and are also an important group of model organisms used to investigate many areas of biological research.

Photo: Grey pancy / Anju Dhakal

Butterflies play a vital role in the ecosystem and have an important role in maintaining the food chain. They become food for many insectivorous birds, reptiles, amphibians, and other invertebrates. Also, some butterfly larvae like Hoverfly larvae feed on harmful insect. So, they are used as biological pest control too.

Photo: Common baron/Anju Dhakal

They are also known as the third most populace pollinators behind bees, wasps, and flies. Some butterfly species migrate over long distances that share pollens across the plant which results in genetic variation of plants.
Butterflies are also known as bio-indicators as they are sensitive to changes in the environment. Therefore, ecologists use butterflies as a model organism to study the impact of climate change and habitat loss.Study on ecological importance of butterflies have found that they help to reduce air pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide.

Photo:Sailor/ Anju Dhakal

Global climate fluctuations and human activities have a negative impact on the distribution and abundance of butterflies. The use of insecticides and herbicides also reduces the butterfly as some studies have explained that the butterfly is rich in unimproved farmland and grassland. The total abundance of butterflies is declining at the rate of 2% per year resulting in a cumulative 33% reduction. Conservation of butterflies is seen as important to improve our whole environment. All intrinsic, educational, aesthetic, economic, scientific, health and ecosystem values of the butterfly must be realized and effort should be given to conserving butterflies. For this, one must be aware of climate change and climate change mitigation, protect the habitat of butterflies, and create more butterfly-friendly gardens.

Orange oakleaf butterfly captured in Palpa by Nabaraj Pokharel




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