Note

Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 August 2017 | 9(8): 10626–10630

 

316771.jpg

 

 

 

A checklist of butterflies (Insecta: Lepidoptera) from Taleigao Plateau, Goa, India

 

 

Dipak Bowalkar 1, Nadar Anal Gracy Michael 2, Kiran Gaude 3 & I.K. Pai 4

 

 

1,2,3,4 Department of Zoology, Goa University, Taleigao Plateau, Goa 403206, India

1 dipakbowalkar@gmail.com, 2 gracymichael59@gmail.com,

3 kiran.gaude@gmail.com (corresponding author), 4 ikpai@unigoa.ac.in

 

 

 

doi: http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2687.9.8.10626-10630 | ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:595ECA1F-FF9A-40F2-9472-39E9AB90C5BC

 

 

Editor: George Mathew, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, India. Date of publication: 26 August 2017 (online & print)

 

Manuscript details: Ms # 2687 | Received 01 February 2017 | Final received 27 June 2017 | Finally accepted 03 August 2017

 

Citation: Bowalkar, D., N.A.G. Michael, K. Gaude & I.K. Pai (2017). A checklist of butterflies (Insecta: Lepidoptera) from Taleigao plateau, Goa, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(8): 10626–10630; http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2687.9.8.10626-10630

 

Copyright: © Bowalkar et al. 2017. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.

 

Funding: None.

 

Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

 

Acknowledgements: Authors are thankful to Department of Zoology, Goa University for providing necessary facilities.

 

 

Plateaus are characteristic features of Goa (Alvares 2002). They are intermediate areas between the Western Ghats and the coastal plains and are known to harbor endemic plants of the Western Ghats (Joshi & Janarthanam 2004). The most prominent plateaus in Goa are Pernem, Mopa, Morgim, Assonora, Ponda, Kundaim, Betul, Sanvordem and Quepem. Plateaus are often considered as barren lands and hence they were the natural choice for setting up developmental projects (Alvares 2002; Desai & Shanbhag 2012). Taleigao plateau (Fig. 1) is not an exception to this and several state institutions, hostels and residential areas have been set up in this area. It covers an area of about 296ha with moist deciduous forest mixed with evergreen species, scrub jungle and lateritic vegetation and is surrounded by sloping valleys and alluvial plains of two rivers—Mandovi in the north and Zuari in the south (Desai & Shanbhag 2012). This plateau encompasses Goa University campus spanning an area of 173ha, residential buildings and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium. With regards to the biodiversity of Taleigao plateau, the flora (Joshi & Janarthanam 2004) and avifauna (Shanbhag & Gramopadhye 1993; Shyama & Gowthaman 1995; Desai & Shanbhag 2012) is well documented.

Gaonkar (1996) documented 251 species from the state. Subsequently, Pai & Mehndiratta (2001) have documented 52 species. Later Borkar & Komarpant (2004) reported 97 butterfly species from Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. Recently, Gaude & Janarthanam (2015) reported 33 butterfly species from four sacred groves of Goa, viz., Nirankarachi Rai, Alvatinichi Rai, Mharinginichi Rai and Azobachi Rai. Rangnekar (2007) in his photographic guide dealt with common butterfly species of Goa, though he did not mention the total number of species. Recently Rangnekar & Dharwadkar (2009) reported three new butterfly species, Black-Vein Sergeant Athyma ranga Moore, White-banded Awl Hasora taminatus (Hubner) and Coon Psolos fuligo (Mabille), making a total of 254 species to the butterfly fauna of Goa. However, there is hardly any report of butterfly diversity from this regions. It was in this context that the present work was undertaken.

Field investigations at Taleigao plateau (Fig. 1) at 15.4588333 N & 073.8340556 E carried out from June 2014 to July 2015. During the study period Sunday mornings between 07:00–10:30 hr were utilized for the study purpose. The butterflies were documented by direct observation, random walks and opportunistic sightings (Murugesan et al. 2013). Visually encountered butterflies were identified on the field using photographic guides of Rangnekar (2007) and Kehimkar (2008).

A total of 98 species belonging to 72 genera were recorded (Table 1), which constitutes about 39% of the known butterfly fauna for the state. This includes 34 species of Nymphalidae, followed by Lycaenidae (25 species), Hesperiidae (16 species), Pieridae (13 species), and Papilionidae with 11 species. Of the 98 butterfly species, two species, the Malabar-banded Peacock Papilio buddha (Image 1e) and the Southern Birdwing Troides minos (Image 1h) are endemic to the Western Ghats and 10 species, viz., Southern Birdwing, Crimson Rose Altrophaneura hector (Image 1d), Common Pierrot Castalius rosimon (Image g), Danied Eggfly Hypolimnas misippus, Pea Blue Lampides boeticus, Gram Blue Euchrysops cnejus (Image 1f), Common Cerulean Jamides celeno, Common Wanderer Pareronia valeria (Image 1c), Common Gull Cepora nerissa (Image 1b), Common Crow Euploea core (Image 1a) are protected under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972). Of these, Troides minos, Altrophaneura hector, Castalius rosimon, Hypolimnas misippus have been placed as Schedule I; Lampides boeticus, (Euchrysops cnejus), Jamides celeno, Pareronia valeria, and Cepora nerisa in Schedule II and Euploea core under Schedule III species.

Family Nymphalidae was the most dominant among the families reported. Availability of larval host plants and adult nectar plants could be one of the reasons for its dominancy (Murugesan et al. 2013). Different authors in their respective studies observed a similar pattern of dominance (Kunte 1997; Kunte et al. 1999; Eswaran & Pramod 2005; Dolia et al. 2008; Krishnakumar et al. 2008; Gaude & Janarthanam 2015). Plateaus in Goa are known for their rich floral diversity (Joshi & Janarthanam 2004). In the present study, family Lycaenidae was the second largest family, with 25 butterfly species; Nimbalkar et al. (2011) got similar results. It is known that members of Lycaenidae largely feed on grasses (Nimbalkar et al. 2011) and the vegetation of Taleigao Plateau is also dominated by herbs, shrubs and rough grass species interspersed with trees. At the study site grass species persist from June to late December, hence it could be a good host for the members of the Lycaenidae family. This is followed by the family Hesperiidae with 16 species. This clearly indicates the importance of the plateaus for the members of the family Hesperiidae. This plateau is infested with invasive plant species such as Chromolaena odorata, i.e., known for its high nectar production (Laxmi & Raju 2011) and Lantana camara that flowers throughout the year and is a good source of nectar for butterflies (Day et al. 2003), which could be some of the reasons for the wide assemblage of butterfly species.

Findings of the present study underline the importance of Taleigao plateau as a preferred habitat for butterflies. The presence of endemic and schedule butterfly species, viz., Papilio Buddha, Troides minos, Altrophaneura hector, Castalius rosimon, Hypolimnas misippus, Lampides boeticus, Euchrysops cnejus, Jamides celeno, Pareronia valeria, Cepora nerissa, Euploea core also indicates the importance of this plateau for butterflies. The management of landscape, as well as of their food plants, may help to maintain and increase the butterfly diversity on the plateau. In the present scenario, plateau after plateau has been encroached upon for various mega projects, which doesn’t bode well for conservation of biodiversity of these unique habitats. It is imperative to carry out systematic studies on the flora and fauna on a number of plateaus in the region, identify them as protected sites, such that, these plateaus with grassland patches can be conserved.

 

 

 

 

316717.jpg

 

 

 

316533.jpg

 

 

 

316890.jpg

 

316889.jpg

 

 

References

 

Alvares, C. (2002). Fish Curry Rice. The Goa Foundation, 376pp.

Borkar, M.R. & N. Komarpant (2004). Diversity, abundance and habitat associations of butterfly species in Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary of Goa, India. Zoos’ Print Journal 19(10): 1648–1653; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.ZPJ.1192.1648-53

Day, M.D., C.J. Wiley, J. Playford & M.P. Zalucki (2003). Lantana: Current Management, Status and Future Prospects. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research 5: 1–20.

Desai, M. & A.B. Shanbhag (2012). An avifaunal case study of a plateau from Goa, India: an eye opener for conservation of plateau ecosystems. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4(3): 2444–2453; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2480.2444-53

Dolia, J., M.S. Devy, N.A. Aravind & A. Kumar (2008). Adult butterfly communities in coffee plantations around a protected area in the Western Ghats, India. Animal Conservation 11: 26–34

Eswaran, R. & P. Pramod (2005). Structure of butterfly community of Anaikatty Hills, Western Ghats. Zoos’ Print Journal 20(8): 1939–1942; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.ZPJ.1330.1939-42

Gaonkar, H. (1996). Butterflies of the Western Ghats, India including Sri Lanka - A Biodiversity Assessment of a Threatened Mountain System. A report submitted to the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore, India, 86pp.

Gaude, K. & M.K. Janarthanam (2015). The Butterfly (Insecta: Lepidoptera) diversity of four sacred groves of Goa, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(12): 7927–7932; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o4228.7927-32

Joshi, V. & M. Janarthanam (2004). The diversity of lifeform type, habitat preference & phenology of endemics in Goa region of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Biogeography 31: 1227–1237.

Kehimkar, I. (2008). Textbook of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, 520pp

Krishnakumar, N., A. Kumaraguru, K. Thiyagesan & S. Asokan (2008). Diversity of Papilonid butterflies in the Indira Gandhi wildlife sanctuary, Western Ghats, southern India. Tiger Paper 35: 1–8.

Kunte, K. (1997). Seasonal patterns in butterfly abundance and species diversity in four tropical habitats in the northern Western Ghats. Journal of Bioscience 22(5): 593–603.

Kunte, K., A. Joglekar, G. Utkarsh, & P. Pramod (1999). Patterns of butterfly, bird and tree diversity in the Western Ghats. Current Science 29: 1–14.

Laxmi, P.V. & A.J.S. Raju (2011). Chromolaena odorata (L.) King & H.E. Robins (Asteraceae), an important nectar source for adult butterflies. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(2): 1542–1547; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2504.1542-7

Murugesan, M., P.R. Arun & B.A.K. Prusty (2013). The butterfly community of an urban wetland system - a case study of Oussudu Bird Sanctuary, Puducherry, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(12): 4672–4678; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3056.4672-8

Nimbalkar, R.K., S.K. Chandekar & S.P. Khunte (2011). Butterfly diversity in relation to nectar food plants from Bhor Tahsil, Pune District, Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(3): 1601–1609.

Pai, I.K. & P. Mehndiratta (2001). Butterfly diversity of Goa, pp. 350–352. In: Muraleedharan et al. (eds). Advances in Entomology, Special Silver Jubilee issue of Entomon.

Rangnekar, P. (2007). A Photographic Guide to Butterflies of Goa (also includes butterflies of other ranges of the Western Ghats & Southern India). Mineral Foundation of Goa, 66pp.

Rangnekar, P. & O. Dharwadkar (2009). Three additions to the known butterfly (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera and Grypocera) fauna of Goa, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(5): 298–299; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2140.298-9

Shanbhag, A.B. & A. Gramopadhye (1993). Changing ecology of Taleigao Plateau and the bird life in its central zone, the Goa University Campus. Journal of Karnataka University - Science 37: 212–222.

Shyama, S.K. & V. Gowthaman (1995). Birds of Goa University campus. Newsletter for Bird watcher 35(1): 1–2.