Developing butterfly attractant for pollination and ecosystem health

Plant–pollinator interactions play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem health and stability. It is prerequisite for successful reproduction and in establishing the ecosystem resilience. Climate change is known to affect pollinators’ interactions with flowering plants. This coupled with excessive use of insecticides has adversely affected beneficial pollinator community thereby decreasing their visits to the flowers. Many agri-horticultural crops and wild plants whose yield relies on pollination thus have experienced decreased yields. It has been observed that Butterflies are next to Honey Bees as pollinators. Re-establishing pollinator-plant relationship has thus become an urgent need for maintaining ecosystem balance. One way to address this is to develop natural attractants to enhance floral visits of the pollinators. Several attempts have been made to develop synthetic attractants for honeybees. Limitations of these synthetic ‘pheromone based lures’ can be overcome if natural attractants are developed. However, there are no reports for developing such lures for butterflies. We, therefore, intend to take insights from nature by observing plant species that are frequently visited by butterflies, understand their nectar composition and develop natural attractant formulations for butterflies. Such formulations can increase efficiency of pollination and are environment friendly.

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