News ≫ Landmark Guide on Butterflies of Sri Lanka launches in Colombo

Landmark Guide on Butterflies of Sri Lanka launches in Colombo

Jun 2, 2016
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Comprehensive book, ‘Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka’ will be launched on June 2 (Thursday), 2016 at 6 pm at the auditorium of the Meteorological Department, 383 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.

The timely release of this book follows on the heels of the International Day of Biodiversity and precedes the International Day of the Environment.

This long-awaited, essential guide to the butterflies of the island will be available for the public at a special price of Rs 6,200/* on this occasion.

Authored by the renowned lepidopterist, Dr. George Michael van der Poorten, and his wife Nancy, this wide-ranging work discusses the unique lives of all the butterflies in Sri Lanka (247 species) and illustrates the adults of both sexes with stunning color photographs captured throughout the island. Several images portray very rare species that have eluded the lenses of many a photographer.

The 424-page, hard cover book, with 3,000 photographs, encompasses the remarkable and varied history of the study of butterflies in Sri Lanka and their biogeography, classification, morphology, and distribution, whilst highlighting the dire need to address the conservation of the butterflies.

In addition, each species is described as to its identification, similar species, status, distribution, habitat, adult behavior, immature stages and larval food plants. Supplemental material includes a species list, endemic status, and distribution by climatic zone, as well as a list of larval food plants and adult nectar sources.

Given the alarming loss of species globally, this book provides the base information necessary for the conservation of the butterflies of Sri Lanka, which are threatened by the destructive impact of habitat loss due to clearing of forests, the extensive use of chemicals in agriculture, and invasive weeds.

Acclaimed as an invaluable source of information for those interested in the natural world, this book is heralded as the standard reference for many more years, as well as a guide for policy makers to make informed decisions. Ecotourism will be immensely benefitted by having at its disposal a wide-ranging guide to the butterflies of the island that highlights the place of butterflies in the natural world.

Dr. van der Poorten spent the first three decades of his life roaming the jungles and forests of his native Sri Lanka. After spending several years in Canada, he returned to Sri Lanka with his wife Nancy to take up the challenge to document anew the butterflies in the island since the last comprehensive work with new information was written as far back as the 1940s, and the landscape of the country has been transformed so much since then.

Dr. van der Poorten was, inter alia, the editor of the Butterfly Conservation Action Plan of Sri Lanka (2014) and lead scientist for the national Redlisting butterfly project (2012). He has also authored several scientific articles with his wife. Nancy is a renowned scientist in her own right, having co-authored a comprehensive book on the dragonflies of the island as well as having described several dragonfly species in the island that were new to science.

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