Daanya Purohit

12 Years

52 Years

Goa

Saving Butterflies – What you can do | Essay | Bookosmia

Butterflies are in danger. How can we help? 12 year old Daanya Purohit, a Bookosmian from Goa tells us in this comprehensive essay.

butterfly essay bookosmia

As pollution, deforestation, habitat destruction and climate change continue, butterflies face a threat. How you may ask?

When we cut down local plants and trees, and excessively use chemical pesticides, we damage the environment in which butterflies thrive. Butterflies are a very sensitive species. They can sense the slightest bit of habitat damage and pollution.

Butterflies have specific plants on which they lay their eggs. These are called the host plants. Their caterpillars are very fussy eaters. They do not eat random species of plants. Each species of butterflies has only a few set of plants on which they lay their eggs and whose leaves their caterpillars eat. When we cut down and replace trees and plants that locally grow in our neighbourhood or area and replace them with fancy plants and trees that are only for decoration, butterflies lose their host plants.So, if there are no host plants there are no eggs, no caterpillars, and no butterflies. Without host plants the life cycle of butterflies cannot be completed.

But why are butterflies so important, you may ask?

Butterfly essay Bookosmia

Some of you may be wondering what role these tiny creatures play in our lives that they deserve so much importance. Well, butterflies pollinate about 75% of our food crops, fruit and vegetable plants and spices. Even several wildflower plants are dependent on them for pollination. Not only this, they also play a very important role in the entire food chain.

Have you ever played Jenga? Yes, the game where we build the tower by stacking layers of blocks and then pull one bock at a time ensuring the tower does not fall. In the game we always try not to pull the base pillar blocks as it makes the tower crumble. Butterflies are the base pillar blocks of the food chain. If the butterflies disappear there could be consequences and lots of things in the ecosystem could lose balance and eventually collapse. In fact scientists consider butterflies as indicator species. This means that their presence or absence tell us about the health of the ecosystem.

So, what can we do to avoid all this? Don’t worry! I shall share some simple steps that we can take from our homes and prevent butterfly loss. These steps are so simple that even we children can do them. After all, small steps taken together do make a big difference.

STEPS TO CONSERVE BUTTERFLIES

1. Avoid harsh and harmful chemical pesticides

The chemicals in pesticides cause harm to wildlife. Caterpillars and butterflies either get killed or hatch out with defective wings. In fact, few caterpillars on a plant are not usually very harmful, especially if the plant is healthy, lush and growing strong. To make plants healthy, we could use manure, compost or khad in the soil to strengthen the plants’roots.

 

2. Say no to cutting local plants

Do you have a garden or plants in your balcony? Usually when we go to buy plants we pick those that look beautiful or fancy. All fancy looking plants does not belong to our region,or fit our city’s weather. Neither do non-local plants support butterflies  to thrive. So instead of picking any good-looking plant, we can do some research and plant those that are preferred by pollinators and butterflies of our locality. You may chose flowering plants like Bougainvillea, Ixora, Marigold, Passion Flower (Krishna-kamal), Desert Petunia, and herb plants like curry leaves and lemon.

3. Reduce pollution and avoid littering

Avoid littering in the wildlife as human waste harms the natural habitats. Imagine a friend visit our home and messes our room and house. We won’t like it right?

4. Create a caterpillar raring terrarium for displaced caterpillars

When we cut vegetables sometimes we find a worm like creature inside. We think they are worms and throw them away. But these are actually caterpillars. Instead of throwing them away you can keep them and grow them till they are butterflies or moths and then release them in the wild.

Caterpillar essay Bookosmia

1. Take a wide mouth plastic or glass jar of 1 litter size
2. Fill it with 5 inches of soil
3. Add a twig and some dried leafs
4. For its food you have to feed it only the vegetable you found the caterpillar in. For example, if you find it inside a pea pod then keep few pea pods in the terrarium, and if you find it inside a cauliflower keep pieces of cauliflower some of its leaves.
5. Cover the jar with a netted cloth or lid with many tiny holes
6. Keep the terrarium clean and don’t let the food get rotten

Caterpillars go through 4-5 stages before they become a pupa. These stages are called instar. They also change colours and size. When the time is ready to pupate some caterpillars will attach their cocoon on a stick and some may bury underground. The process is called metamorphosis. This process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly could take a few days, a week, or even months. So wait and watch and one day the butterfly will emerge.

butterfly essay bookosmia

After they emerge from their cocoon give them a few minutes to pump their wings with blood and dry themselves. Take the jar outdoor near a tree and open the lid and wait for it to fly out into the wild.

When we all take small jumps together to achieve something, we can certainly achieve it.

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