KFRI developed Butterfly garden as an important tool in the field of nature
education. Butterflies are attracted into semi-natural garden space where food
plants of butterflies and their caterpillars are carefully selected and grown.
Varieties of micro-habitats are created in the garden for attracting butterflies
belonging to various groups. Large number of butterflies including the rare,
endemic and endangered butterflies frequents the garden and captivates the eyes
of the visitors in the background of which they receive elucidative lessons
on life history of the butterflies besides their co-evolution, intricate ecological
linkages, diversity, food requirements etc.
Citrus, Albizia, Cassia, Cinnamom, Aristolochia, Milk weeds, Tylophora, Wattakakka
and Mussaenda are the common larval host plants that can be introduced for attracting
various butterflies found in Kerala. Ixora, Lantana, Mussaenda, Marigold, Cuphea,
Zinnia and Clerodendron are some common nectar plants favoured by many species
of butterflies. Common Mime, Common Rose, Crimson Rose, Lime Butterfly, Blue
Mormon, Southern Birdwing, Glassy Blue Tiger, Blue Tiger, dark Blue Tiger, Emigrants
and Grass Yellows are some butterflies that can be easily sustained in the butterfly
garden. As the butterfly population increases, a variety of organisms including
Preying mantis, spiders, lizards and birds also colonise the area leading to
a stabilization of habitats and better functioning of ecosystems.
KFRI has two butterfly gardens; one in its main campus at Peechi and another in the Sub-centre at Nilambur. Some of the butterflies that can generally be seen in the garden include lemon butterfly (Papilio demoleus), southern birdwing (Troides minos), common rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae), light blue tiger (Tirumala limniace), dark blue tiger (Tirumala septentrionis) and common crow (Euploea core).
Brochure on Butterfly Gardens http://docs.kfri.res.in/brochures/KFRI-Brochure-21.pdf