The Butterfly Project Update – Transformation: Surely as dawn will dissipate the night a caterpillar will become a butterfly

crimson rose 2

“Metamorphosis has always been the greatest symbol of change. Imagine that you could be a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next." Louie Schwartzberg

Peacock Royal 3

Peacock Royal (Tajuria cippus)

Butterfly Project Update

In January 18th 2019 we commenced work to convert a large area of the SLWCS field operations site into a butterfly sanctuary as part of our Butterfly Project ( & We received much help, support and guidance from Sri Lanka’s most eminent lepidopterist, Dr. George Michael Van der Poorten and his wife Nancy. The Butterfly Project is sponsored by Spa Ceylon the prestigious house of luxury Ayruvedic personal and body care products.

The initial work mostly consisted of removing the invasive Ipil Ipil (Leucaena leucocephala) and Manna or Guinea Grass (Panicum maximum) allowing the naturally occurring host plants to flourish and constructing a pond. Additional host plant species were planted in selected areas and footpaths were created to provide non-intrusive access to observe butterflies.

At the time the work commenced on the Butterfly Sanctuary a survey was done to identify the species of butterflies that were already there. Seventeen species belonging to four families were identified ( In addition twenty four species of host plants were also identified (

Our volunteers have been a tremendous help and support to us in this effort. It is highly unlikely that if not for their valuable contributions at all levels that we could have achieved so much in so little time.

Below are several volunteers working on the Butterfly Sanctuary from April 22nd to the 26th.


Removing the pertinacious Manna or Guinea Grass


A footpath


It has been three months since we started work on the Butterfly Sanctuary. We are very excited to report that by April 2019 we have recorded in the Butterfly Sanctuary thirty four species of butterflies including one endemic belonging to four families.


Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepis puspa felderi)
Common Pierrot (Castalius rosimon rosimon)
Common Lineblue (Prosotas nora airdates)
Peacock Royal (Tajuria cippus)


Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore)
Plain tiger (Danaus chrysippus)
Common tiger (Danaus genuita)
Common Indian Crow (Euploea core)
Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis aglea)
Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis similis)
Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites)
Chocolate Soldier (Junonia iphita iphita)
Bue Pansy (Junonia orithya)
Common Evening Brown (Melanitis leda)
Common Sailor (Neptis hylas)
White Four-ring (Ypthima ceylonica)


Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon)
Common Rose (Pachilpota aristolochiae)
Crimson Rose (Pachilpota hector)
Common Banded Peackock (Papilio crino)
Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus demoleus)
Blue Mormon (Papilio polymnestor)
Common Mormon (Papilio polytes romulus)
Common Birdwing (Trodies darsius) Endemic


Common Albatross (Appias albina swinhoei)
Lemon Emigrant (Catospilla pomona pomona)
Mottled Emigrant (Catospilla pyranthe pyranthe)
Common Gull (Cepora nerissa phryne)
Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis)
Small Grass Yellow (Eurema brigitta rubella)
Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe hecabe)
One-spot Grass Yellow (Eurema ormistoni)
Psyche (Leptosia nina)
Dark Wanderer (Pareronia ceylanica)

Banded Peacock

Common Banded Peackock (Papilio crino)

Blue Mormon

Blue Mormon (Papilio polymnestor)

Common Pierrot

Common Pierrot (Castalius rosimon rosimon)

Common Sailor

Common Sailor (Neptis hylas)


Crimson Rose (Pachilpota hector)


Common Birdwing (Trodies darsius) Endemic

Grey Pansy

Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites)


Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon)

White Four-ring 1

White Four-ring (Ypthima ceylonica)

White Four-ring

White Four-ring (Ypthima ceylonica)

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 unrelenting and unstinting support to our wildlife research and conservation efforts.

Common Jezebel - Delias eucharis

Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis)

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:

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

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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!

Photo Credits:

Chandima Fernando/SLWCS
Nisali Wijesinghe/SLWCS

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