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






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, 2,

3 (corresponding author), 4




doi: | ZooBank:



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;


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.




















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