Butterflies and Moths of Sri Lanka

Articles for Junior Naturalists ON BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS OF SRI LANKA


Our National Butterfly

Sunday Times, SUNDAY, 04 APRIL 2010


Hi Kids…

We all know about Sri Lanka's National Bird – the Sri Lankan Junglefowl (wali kukula), National Tree – Ironwood (na tree) and National Flower – the Blue Water lily (nil manel). Add one more to that list – we now have a National Butterfly – the Sri Lanka Birdwing.


The Sri Lanka Birdwing is a beautiful butterfly with yellow and black wings. It is also the largest butterfly that lives in our country.

Different varieties of Birdwing butterflies can be seen in other parts of the world, but the Sri Lanka Birdwing scientifically known as Troides darsius is a unique species that can be found only in our country.

Here are the reasons for selecting the Sri Lanka Birdwing as our National Butterfly...

  • Birdwing is the largest butterfly in Sri Lanka.
  • Birdwing is distributed all over the island.
  • Birdwing is endemic to Sri Lanka so can be found only in our country.
  • Birdwing is a beautiful, attractive butterfly that can be easily identified.
  • Birdwing is not a pest that harms crops.
  • Birdwing does not spread any disease.
  • No bad cultural or spiritual beliefs are associated with Birdwing.

Though the Birdwing butterfly was common in our gardens earlier, they have disappeared from some areas because we have cut most of the trees and bushes that the butterflies feed on and lay eggs on.

The Birdwing mother always lays eggs on sap sanda vines, so by planting these you can try to attract Birdwings to your garden again. They also like to feed on nectar in flowers such as Ixora and Pinna – so plant lots of those too. Tell your friends to make their gardens Butterfly-friendly by planting lots of plants that attract butterflies.

Look at the Butterflies around you !

Go out and have a look at the butterflies that visit your garden during this school holiday. You'll be able to observe different varieties of butterflies – sometimes the Birdwing too if you are lucky. There will be brown butterflies, orange butterflies, white and yellow butterflies with different kinds of patterns on their wings.

They have different names such as Crimson Rose, Common Jezebel, Lemon Emigrant, Common Crow etc. Kids, why don't you go out, observe these butterflies and draw their pictures..?

You can send them to the Funday Times to share with your friends. We will send your drawings to one of our Butterfly experts and get them identified. We will also present a Butterfly Guide Book for the best drawing…!!

So hurry, go out and observe the butterflies in your garden, and send your drawings to 
The Funday Times, by April 30, 2010.

Guide to draw your butterfly…


Step 1:

Go out and spend some time looking at different butterflies that visit your garden. Choose one 
variety that you would like to draw.

Observe its shape and patterns on its wing. The wings may have stripes and round shapes that are in different colours. Observe these patterns very carefully (but never touch the butterfly).

Step 2:

Start drawing. A butterfly basically consists of three shapes, a triangle, oval and a cone. So what you need to do is sketch out these shapes and then position them like in Sample 2.

Step 3:

The shapes are a guide and now that you have the basic shape down you can start to add detail. So now what you need to do is erase the lines that overlap like in Sample 3, and using the shapes as a guide you can draw in your own wings and body shapes.

Step 4:

Now erase the guide and add a pattern within the wings like in Sample 6. You need to observe the butterfly first before you start drawing. Pay attention to the shape of the forewings.

Step 5:

It is important to have a clean image before you start to add colour. So you may want to consider drawing around the whole image with a much neater line and erase any unwanted lines or marks, like in Sample 7.

















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