The site is the brainchild of Vadavalli-based Theivaprakasham Hari, who is pursuing an MTech in Data Science at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. “I wanted to develop an application for easy identification of butterflies in 2012 after finishing Class XII. I used to participate in butterfly walks. Those days, we did not even have a database of butterflies and were referring Kerala’s database, expensive books and depending on experts. I wanted to make the identification process easy for the common man,” Theivaprakasham, who is also the secretary of the Nature and Butterfly Society (TNBS), told TOI.
It took him seven years to collect photographs of various species of butterflies and make the website powered by artificial intelligence (AI). “I took as many as 1.5 lakh photographs of butterflies based on parameters such as life stages and seasonal forms from various angles. I also sourced close to 25,000 photographs from butterfly enthusiasts. The photographs were used to train the AI. I launched the site last November”
The AI can identify 340 butterfly species found in the southern parts of the country with 95% accuracy.
Theivaprakasham is now developing an app that can identify butterflies even in offline mode. “The application will be launched for Android and iOS within a couple of months. It will provide details like description, host plant and habitats.”
The website was used for several surveys, including the one conducted in collaboration with the forest department in the Sathyamangalam forest range. “After the website was launched, people contributed over 500 photos of butterflies. I need more photos to increase accuracy,” Theivaprakasham added.