Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 October 2016 | 8(12): 9491–9504






A checklist of butterflies of Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka, India


Deepak Naik 1 & Mohammed S. Mustak 2


1,2 Department of Applied Zoology, Mangalore University, Mangalagangothri, Mangaluru, Karnataka 574199, India

1, 2 (corresponding author)





doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: George Mathew, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, India. Date of publication: 26 October 2016 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 3066 | Received 23 March 2016 | Final received 05 October 2016 | Finally accepted 10 October 2016


Citation: Naik, D. & M.S. Mustak (2016). A checklist of butterflies of Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(12): 9491-9504;


Copyright: © Naik & Mustak 2016. 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: Self.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Prof. K.N. Deviprasad, Department of Botany, Vivekanada College, Puttur, DK for his guidance. The first author would like to acknowledge the SC/ST research fellowship, Mangalore University. The authors would also like to thank the Dr. Krushnamegh Kunte (NCBS-Bangalore) and Dr. Kalesh Sadasivan (TNHS-Kerala) for their support in identification. Special thanks to Chairman, Department of Applied Zoology, Mangalore University, Sammilan Shetty, Vishwas, M. Naveen and my family for their support throughout the work.





The Western Ghats, which covers about 60% of the forest area of Karnataka and one among the 36 biodiversity hotspots of the World, forms an important ecosystem (State of Environment Report 2003). Dakshina Kannada is situated in the southwestern part of Karnataka, which comprises of 4,560km2 of geographical area. Of this, 2,860km2 is covered by forest area (Forest Survey of India 2011). India has 1,800 species and subspecies of butterflies (Kunte 2014) of which peninsular India hosts 350 species, and 331 species are found in the Western Ghats (Kunte 2001). Butterflies, which depend on plants, reflect the overall plant diversity in a given area. Hence, they act as good indicators of health of the ecosystem (Padhye et al. 2006) and can be used as model organisms to study the various threats posed to Western Ghats (Gaonkar 1996; Kunte 2000, 2008; Kehimkar 2008). The average conservation value of butterflies found in the evergreen forests was more than any other habitat, followed by riparian patches, deciduous forests, grassland and shrubs. In the Western Ghats, deforestation, as well as plantation activities are taking place on a large scale (Jha et al. 2000). Monitoring of the butterflies is essential for formulating conservation priorities and management of biodiversity. As part of the Western Ghats Biodiversity Monitoring Programme, a study was carried out on butterfly species distribution in Sullia Taluk of Dakshina Kannada recording 86 species of butterflies (Nayak et al. 2004). Mohandas (2004) studied butterfly species distribution in Kudremukh National Park. Ramachandra (2007) recorded 59 species of butterflies during the inventorying and mapping of biodiversity, in Yekkaru Grama Panchayat, Mangalore Taluk. Except for these reports, no detailed investigations have been made on the biodiversity of butterflies in Dakshina Kannada District. It was in this context that the present study was undertaken to generate baseline data of the butterfly fauna of Dakshina Kannada District.

Study site: The Dakshina Kannada District is located in southwestern part of Karnataka and Western Ghats adjoining the Arabian Sea. The geographical area is 4,560km2 extending between 12030’00”–13011’00”N and 74035’00”–75033’30”E (Image 1). The altitudinal range varies from 23–960 m. The annual rainfall range is from 3,700–3,900 mm. The temperature range from a minimum 220C to a maximum 380C.

Materials and Methods: The field survey was carried out in the different landscape elements like evergreen forest, semievergreen forest, riparian forest, plantations of arecanut, coconut, rubber, cashew plantation, rubber plantation, paddy fields, and also along the coastal region during September 2012 to December 2015. Data of butterfly fauna was collected by conducting random surveys by all out search method from 09:00–18:00 hr. Literature were reviewed during the study period from different sources. Collection of specimens was avoided to the extent possible. The butterflies were photographed for subsequent identification and when identification was not possible through photographs, the individuals were collected using insect net and were identified in the field and later released. The identification of butterfly species was based on Gunathilagaraj (1998), Kunte (2000), and Kehimkar (2008).

Results and Discussion: A total of 172 species (Images 2–163), belonging to 117 genera belonging to 18 subfamilies under six families (Table 1). Nymphalidae with 57 species (33.13%) was the dominant family followed by Hesperiidae 37 species (21.51%), Lycaenidae 45 species (26.16%), Papilionidae 17species (9.88%), Pieridae 15 species (8.72%) and Riodinidae one species (0.58%) (Fig. 1). It was interesting to note that the sightings included nine species (Thoressa honorei, Papilio dravidarum, Papilio buddha, Troides minos, Appias wardii, Idea malabarica, Kallima horsfieldi) that are endemic to the Western Ghats, as well as another four species (Prioneris sita, Discophora lepida, Cethosia nietneri, Cirrochroa thais) that are endemic to the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka (Kunte 2008). Twenty-six species are protected under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972). Ten species belong to Schedule I, 12 species to Schedule II and four species to Schedule IV. Data generated in this study indicates the faunal richness of Dakshina Kannada District of Karnataka warranting adoption of appropriate conservation strategies.







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