Friday, May 25, 2012

Butterflies of Mumbai

Butterflies bring happiness to the viewers’ heart, so is the book “Butterflies of Mumbai”
by Nelson Rodrigues. It is a simple, user friendly book on butterflies in the Mumbai
region, with lot of large size photographs and very brief description. It will be a
wonderful guide for all who watch butterflies; beautiful big pictures and short text will be
well suited for the beginners, and the caterpillar photos and the lifecycle description will
be a great gift for those who want to study seriously about butterflies.

Butterflies are the indicators of an ecosystem; so monitoring butterflies are important
in monitoring the health of an ecosystem. Giving orientation to people about butterflies
and their lifecycle is vital in this juncture. In the introduction, the book describes the life
cycle of butterflies and some interesting facts about butterflies; which can attract more
people into the fascinating world of butterfly watching.

Introduction of digital cameras helped more people to start clicking this colourful flying
beauties, but the identification of them are a problem for the beginners. Email groups
and social networking groups are giving a platform for the freshers to identify and
interacting with people of similar interests. But a field guide with big pictures explaining
the difference between similar looking butterflies will be of great help; in my opinion
Nelson Rodrigues is successful in designing the book to deliver these needs.

Even though the book describes butterflies of Mumbai; it can be used all over south
India as the distribution of butterflies in this region is similar. The main attraction of
the book is definitely the large beautiful pictures of the butterflies itself. The author
had done a good job in collecting good photographs of the butterflies from more than
30 photographers around India. The detailed under wing and upper wing shots, sexual
and seasonal variations of many butterflies are described with the help of pictures. The
butterflies are arranged as per their primary colours not as per their families; it is good
experiment, hope this helps the beginners to identify the butterflies easily in the field.

The distinguished feature of the book is the 103 caterpillar pictures in it. No such book
describing early stages of Indian butterflies is available now. It will be a gift for those
who interested in studying life cycle of butterflies. The list of host and nectar plants in the
Mumbai region is also added at the end of the book, it will help in the study of life cycle
and also in conservation of butterflies. The details about the nature parks, gardens and
other places around Mumbai are described in the book; it will be useful for the butterfly

Those who looking for serious scientific literature on butterflies is not targeted here. With
lot of beautiful pictures and quality print, it will be a great book for the butterfly lovers to
collect and use in the field. I would like appreciate Nelson Rodrigues for his dedication
and love towards butterflies in bringing such a beautiful book.

-- Haneesh K M