Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Habanero, a butterfly and a moth

Where in the world would you find the second hottest chilly grown and of course to be tasted, India’s largest butterfly and the moth with the largest wingspan in the world. Of course, all of this in one place and in our Karnataka.
All this and more can be found in Coorg, Karnataka.
Head to Madikeri, the headquarters of Coorg district for a taste of the world’s second hottest chilly. By the way, the hottest chilly in the world is way up in the north east and this post had earlier carried an article on it.
Madikeri is where you can taste Habanero which is classified as the world’s second hottest chilli. Here you can easily spot the Southern Birdwing, which has the distinction of being India’s largest butterfly.
Besides, these two, look out for the Atlas moth which has the world’s largest wingspan.
The Habanero is a variety of  Chilly pepper  native to south America. They are red, orange and even white, brown and pink in colour. Unripe Habaneros are green and they color only when they nature.
These chillies are intensely hot and  rated 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale-which is the measurement of a chilly’s hot content.
The Southern Birdwing (Troides minos) is a large and striking Swallo tail butterfly generally found in south India. It has a wing span of 140 mm to 190 mm, making it the largest butterfly found in southern India and one of the largest in India.
It was earlier considered a subspecies of the Common Birdwing but it is now distinguished as a separate species. Today, the Southern Birdwing  is more common in the Western Ghats. It is so called because its wing span is bigger than wings of smaller birds. It is much sought after by collectors and is a highlight of many butterfly-tours in the Western Ghats. It is generally active during early morning hours. It later flies as high as 30 feet to 40 feet and descends in the evening to feed again.
It covers very large distances before settling down for nectar-its food.
 The Atlas moth-Attacus atlas- is the largest of its kind  in terms of wing surface area. It is a Saturniid moth generally found in the tropical and subtropical forests of south and South East Asia.
Their wingspans are also amongst the largest, reaching over 25 cm (10 in). Females are larger and heavier than the males.
In India, Atlas moths are cultivated for their silk in a non-commercial capacity-the silk is known as fagara and it is secreted as a broken strand.  They have greater durability.
Apart from all these, Coorg also produces the best honey and best coffee. Care to try it. Head for Coorg or Kodagu. Fly from either Bangalore or Mangalore or take the road trip. I guarantee you that you will come back again and gain to the land of honey, coffee and once upon a time oranges. And do not forget spices and hills, Karnataka’s highest peak, the origin of Cauvery and ……the list goes on and on. Why not go on and explore.  

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