Butterflies welcome kids with all their colours

ASHISH R. KHADAKBAN
(SCIENCE TEACHER)

Butterflies, flutteryflies, one of the most common attractions for kids. We cannot describe the happiness on the children’s face when they see the natural beauty fluttering around them. Hence to expose the natural beauty to the students, we arranged a field trip for the students of standard three and four to the Rotary Butterfly Garden at Dombivli and Ovalekarwadi Butterfly Garden at Thane. School teachers showed their enthusiasm and joined the students in this trip of nature, ready to trail the path of these jewelled creatures.
To start with, the third standard students were introduced to the habitat of the butterflies and their needs food, water and shelter. Of course, not clothes……They don’t need clothes. Their colourful wings can give designers a run for their money. They are dressed up by Nature in the most colourful way. Then the students were briefed about the lifecycle of the butterfly. As a child grows in the mother’s womb, in the similar way fluttery flies also have a lifecycle.

The male and female butterfly mate. The female Butterfly lays the eggs on the host plant. ‘Host Plant’ it was a new word for the kids. The teachers explained that the plant on which butterfly lays the eggs is called as the Host Plant. Then, after a few days, eggs are converted into creepy crawlies called as caterpillars. Caterpillar feeds on the host plant for several days; grows to a desired length and then converts itself into pupa. Pupa, the third stage in which the butterfly matures inside a closed structure. Pupa of different butterflies remains attached to different parts of the plant. For e.g. Pupa of the plain tiger butterfly gets itself attached to the stem of the ‘Rui’ plant. The students were thrilled to see the caterpillar of the Common Baron and the Pupa of the Tawny Castor Butterfly. Surprisingly and luckily, students were able to see the fourth stage i.e. conversion of Pupa into a Butterfly of Tawny Castor.

The students were very happy and enjoyed the field visit as they were able to see three to four different species of butterflies.
Below is the list of Butterflies observed by our third standard students at Rotary club, Dombivli:-
1) Blue Jay
2) Tailed Jay
3) Common Baron
4) Tawny Castor
5) Common Wanderer
6) Common Grass Yellow
7) Pupa of Tawny Castor
8) Caterpillar of Common Baron

Now, it was time to visit Ovalekarwadi Butterfly Garden, Thane. As soon as we reached the butterfly garden, the students were welcomed by the domestic ducks and rabbit. The students were shown the caterpillars of the Common Rose and Common Lime Butterfly. Even the Pupa stage of the Common Rose Butterfly was shown to the student. Then the students were taken to visit the butterfly garden. Common Wanderer, the light blue colour butterfly were shown to the students. Then students spotted the different kinds of butterflies. Even the host plants of the butterflies were introduced to the students. For e.g. Plain Tiger lays the eggs on the milk weed plant called ‘Rui’ in Marathi. As soon as they saw the milk weed plant, students spotted the small caterpillar of the Plain Tiger Butterfly. Some highly beautiful and attractive butterflies such as Common Rose and Tailed Jay were clearly observed by the students.
Yellow-coloured aphids were mistaken as the egg of the butterfly by the students. A tiny and very small egg of the lime butterfly was observed by me on the lime plant. At last when we were leaving the garden, the students were still lost with the activity of the fluttery flies. Even the teachers and students were surprised to observe such a high biodiversity of the butterflies in our area. All the students were satisfied with the educational field trip. We should understand the role and importance of the tiny creatures of our ecosystem. Just like the high biodiversity of butterflies, biodiversity of birds are also observed very clearly in our city.
Here is the list of butterfly observed by our fourth standard students-
1) Common Wanderer
2) Stripped Tiger
3) Plain Tiger
4) Red Peirrot
5) Common Grass Yellow
6) Gaudy Baron
7) Grey Pansy
8) Common Rose
9) Tailed Jay
10) Jezebel
11) Yellow Orange Tip
12) Great Orange Tip
13) Psyche
14)Tawny Castor
15) Caterpillar
a) Common lime
b) Common Rose (Pupa also seen)
c) Plain Tiger
16) Empty Pupa- Praying Mantis

So await another exciting, fun filled, informative and knowledgeable field trip!!!!

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