A case study of butterfly road kills from Anaikatty Hills, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India

Main Article Content

R. K. Sony
P. R. Arun


 Anaikatty Hills of the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu witness the annual spectacle of mass movement of lakhs of butterflies.  The present paper examines the impact of vehicular traffic on this ‘butterfly migration’ through a survey of butterfly mortality along a road stretch in Anaikatty Hills.  A high rate of mortality due to road traffic was observed during the mass movement of butterflies.  One-hundred-and-thirty-five butterfly road kills belonging to three families, nine genera and 12 species were recorded during the study.  The proportion of nymphalid butterflies among the road kills (70%) was very high compared to their respective share in the background population (39%), indicating a higher road mortality risk for nymphalids.  The conservation significance of the road traffic impact on butterfly assemblage and management options are discussed.


Article Details

Short Communications


Baskaran, N., & Boominathan, D. (2010). Road kill of animals by highway traffic in the tropical forests of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, southern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa , 2(3), 753-759.

Eswaran, R., & Pramod, P. (2005). Structure of butterfly community of Anaikatty hills,Western Ghats. Zoos' Print Journal, 20(8), 1939-1942.

Kehimkar, I. (2008). The book of Indian butterflies. Mumbai: Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press.

Kumar, R. S., Arun, P. R., Ashok, K. N., & Chandran, R. (2012, December). Mass Movement of Butterflies. SACON NEWS, 99(4), p. 5.

Mckenna, D. D., Mckenna, K. M., Malcom, S. B., & Berenbaum, M. R. (2001). Mortality of lepidoptera along roadways in central Illinois. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 55(2), 63-68.

Munguira, M. L., & Thomas, J. A. (1992). Use of Road Verges by Butterfly and Burnet Populations, and the Effect of Roads on Adult Dispersal and Mortality. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29(2), 316-329.

Obara, Y., Koshitaka, H., & Arikawa, K. (2008). Better mate in the shade: enhancement of male mating behaviour in the cabbage butterfly, Pieris rapae crucivora, in a UV-rich environment. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 211, 3698-3702.

Otis, G. W., Locke, B., Mckenzie, N. G., Cheung, D., MacLeod, E., Careless, P., & Kwoon, A. (2006). Local Enhancement in Mud-Puddling Swallotail Butterflies (Battus Philenor and Papilio glaucus). Journal of Insect Behavior, 19(6).

Rao, R. S., & Girish, M. K. (2007). Road kills: Assessing insect casualities using flagship taxon. Current Science, 92(6), 831-837.

Seiler, A. (2001). Ecological effects of Roads: A review. Uppsala, Sweeden: Department of Conservation Biology, SLU.

Seshadri, K., A, Y., & K, V. G. (2009). Road kills of amphibians in different land use areas from Sharavathi river basin, central Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 1(11), 549-552.

Skórka, P., Lenda, M., Moron, D., Kalarus, K., & Tryjanowski, P. (2013). Factors affecting road mortality and the suitability of road verges for butterflies. Biological Conservation, 159, 148-157.

Thakur, M. S., & Bhardwaj, S. (2012). Study on diversity and host plants of butterflies in lower shiwalik hills, Himachal Pradesh. International Journal of plant, animal and environmental sciences, 2(1), 33-39.

Vadivalagan, C., Gunasekaran, C., & Salahudeen, I. (2012). Molecular phylogeny of reecurrent road killed butterflies in Nilgiri biosphere reserve, India, using CO1 gene marker. African Journal of Biotechnology, 11(79), 14433-14439.

Yamada, Y., Sasaki, H., & Yutaka, H. (2010). Composition of road-killed insects on coastal roads around Lake Shiktosu in Hokkaido, Japan. Journal of Rakuno Gakuen University, 34(2), 177-184.