The Butterfly Conservation Project: Butterfly Sanctuary Update

Dark wanderer Pareronia ceylanica 02

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly." R. Buckminster Fuller

Pond - Section Cerulian

The Section Cerulean of the Butterfly Sanctuary

Akila Weerakoon
Research Scientist/SLWCS

The work on the Butterfly Sanctuary is progressing well. Seventy five percent of the invasive Ipil Ipil (Leucaena leucocephala) has been removed and the balance 25 percent will be removed by the end of April.

A pond has been dug and it’s now in the process of having the banks shaped and filled with natural mud to make it waterproof.

The first batch of host plants has been planted. The selection, procurement and planting of the second batch of host plants are in the planning stages.

Ipil ipil removal 01

Volunteers assisting to remove the invasive Ipil Ipil

Ipil ipil removal 02
Ipil ipil removal 03
Ipil ipil removal 04

Siriya taking a break from removing Ipil Ipil

Fifty percent of the footpaths had also being completed. This is taking a bit longer since we are making sure these paths do not intrude into butterfly habitats. The footpaths are laid in a manner to provide the least intrusive access to observe butterflies without disturbing them. An irrigation system to keep the sanctuary irrigated during the dry season is being installed and will be also completed by the end of April.

Footpath 02

A footpath

Footpath 04
Footpath 03
Irrigation System

Pipeline to install the irrigation system

Documenting of species both plants and butterflies is ongoing. We are very excited to record another additional butterfly species, the Dark Wanderer (Pareronia ceylanica ceylanica) belonging to the family Pieridae now present in the Butterfly Sanctuary. This brings our current list of recorded butterflies to 18 species since we started work on the Butterfly Sanctuary.

Dark wanderer Pareronia ceylanica

Dark Wanderer (Pareronia ceylanica ceylanica) – Male

Dark wanderer Pareronia ceylanica Female 03

Dark Wanderer (Pareronia ceylanica ceylanica) – Female

We have identified twenty four species of host plants but this not a complete list by any means. The identifying of existing host plants as well planting new host plant species is ongoing. This is a current list of host plants that are in the sanctuary that have been identified.

• Chick Weed (Ageratum conyzoides)
• RonSiam Weed (Chromolaena odorata)
• Yellow Bauhinia (Commelina benghalensis)
• Benghal Dayflower (Commelina benghalensis)
• Touch-me-not (Mimosa pudica)
• Nees (Dipteracanthus prostrates)
• Wild-Sage (Lantana camara)
• Wild Hibiscus (Hibiscus furcatus)
• American Mint (Hyptis suaveolens)
• Wild Indigo (Tephrosia purpurea)
• Common Wireweed (Sida acuta)
• Smooth Rattle Box (Crotalaria pallid)
• Indian Marshweed (Hewittia sublobata)
• Jackal Jujube (Ziziphus oenoplia)
• Coat Buttons (Tridax procumbens)
• Mexican clover (Richardia brasiliensis)
• Musk Basil (Basilicum polystachyon)
• Charcoal Tree (Trema orientalis)
• Indian Snow Berry (Flueggea leucopyrus)
• Nodeweed (Synedrella nodiflora)
• Tiny Flower Hibiscus (Hibiscus micranthus)
• Coinwort Indigo (Indigofera nummulariifolia)
• Ceylon Caper (Capparis zeylanica)
• Dwarf Morning Glory (Evolvulus alsinoides)

Chick Weed Ageratum conyzoides

Chick Weed (Ageratum conyzoides)

Siam Weed Chromolaena odorata

Siam Weed (Chromolaena odorata)

Yellow Bauhinia Commelina benghalensis

Yellow Bauhinia (Commelina benghalensis)

Benghal Dayflower Commelina benghalensis

Benghal Dayflower (Commelina benghalensis)

Touch-me-not Mimosa pudica

Touch-me-not (Mimosa pudica)

Nees Dipteracanthus prostrates

Nees (Dipteracanthus prostrates)

Wild-Sage Lantana camara

Wild-Sage (Lantana camara)

Wild Hibiscus Hibiscus furcatus

Wild Hibiscus (Hibiscus furcatus)

American Mint Hyptis suaveolens

American Mint (Hyptis suaveolens)

Wild Indigo Tephrosia purpurea

Wild Indigo (Tephrosia purpurea)

Common Wireweed Sida acuta

Common Wireweed (Sida acuta)

Smooth Rattle Box Crotalaria pallid

Smooth Rattle Box (Crotalaria pallid)

Indian Marshweed Hewittia sublobata

Indian Marshweed (Hewittia sublobata)

Jackal Jujube Ziziphus oenoplia

Jackal Jujube (Ziziphus oenoplia)

Coat Buttons Tridax procumbens

Coat Buttons (Tridax procumbens)

Mexican clover Richardia brasiliensis

Mexican clover (Richardia brasiliensis)

Musk Basil Basilicum polystachyon

Musk Basil (Basilicum polystachyon)

Charcoal Tree Trema orientalis

Charcoal Tree (Trema orientalis)

Indian Snow Berry Flueggea leucopyrus

Indian Snow Berry (Flueggea leucopyrus)

Nodeweed Synedrella nodiflora

Nodeweed (Synedrella nodiflora)

Tiny Flower Hibiscus Hibiscus micranthus

Tiny Flower Hibiscus (Hibiscus micranthus)

Coinwort Indigo Indigofera nummulariifolia

Coinwort Indigo (Indigofera nummulariifolia)

Ceylon Caper Capparis zeylanica

Ceylon Caper (Capparis zeylanica)

Dwarf Morning Glory Evolvulus alsinoides

Dwarf Morning Glory (Evolvulus alsinoides)

We would like to say a sincere thank you to Spa Ceylon for supporting the Butterfly Conservation Project, Dr. Michael and Nancy van der Poorten for their invaluable advice, knowledge and guidance and to our volunteers for their support to our wildlife research and conservation efforts.

tailed-jay-butterfly-saija-lehtonen

Dr. George Michael van der Poorten and Nancy van der Poorten have two recent publications on the butterflies of Sri Lanka which we highly recommend:

The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka (2016)
Field Guide to the Butterflies of Sri Lanka (2018)

The books are available at all leading bookshops in Colombo and online at: http://lepodonbooks.com/

Please stay alert for further updates on the progress of our Sri Lanka Butterfly Conservation Project.

Cover Front-New
FieldGuide cover

Big, rumbling thanks to our Corporate Partners for their kind support and to everyone who has donated and supported our wildlife conservation efforts!
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Photo Credits:

Akila Weerakoon/SLWCS
Ravi Corea/SLWCS
Internet

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