- The butterflies go through three stages of development before they become adults. The first stage is the egg, the second is the caterpillar stage, where the caterpillar feeds on plants and grows, before it goes into the third stage, the pupal stage. During this stage the pupa cannot move and is attached to a twig or a leaf, protected in a hard chrysalis. Finally, the last stage is the adult stage, when the bright and beautiful adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and flies away.
- Many butterfly species have a single type of plant on which they lay their eggs. So if a caterpillar that feeds on mango leaf is given a leaf of banana plant, it won’t feed onit.
- Only male butterflies mudpuddle, and the salts which they absorb while mudpuddling are transferred to females while mating. This helps the females produce more eggs.
- Butterflies form the base of the food chain and are also one of the most important pollinators for plants. The caterpillars are herbivores, meaning the feed only on plants, whereas the adults are nectarivores, meaning that their diet consists almost completely of the sugar-rich nectar produced by flowering plants.
Ravi Jambhekar is a post-doctorate researcher studying urban ecology at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. When he isn’t chasing butterflies in the forests, he dabbles as an artist, traveller, photographer and Ultimate Frisbee player. He posts as @ravijambhekar on Instagram.
Hitesh Maruti Sonar is an illustrator and graphic artist. He has worked on various projects from book illustrations and magazines, to newspaper illustrations and animation backgrounds. He finds the natural world (birds in particular) and people travelling by Mumbai’s local train, most inspiring.