Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 April 2021 | 13(5): 18355–18363

 

ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print) 

https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4488.13.5.18355-18363

#4488 | Received 15 October 2020 | Final received 21 March 2021 | Finally accepted 05 April 2021

 

 

Status, abundance, and seasonality of butterfly fauna at Kuvempu University Campus, Karnataka, India

 

M.N. Harisha 1  & B.B. Hosetti 2

 

1,2 Department of Post Graduate Studies and Research in Wildlife and Management, Kuvempu University, Jnana Sahyadri, Shankaraghatta, Shivamogga, Karnataka 577451, India.

 1 harishwild@gmail.com (corresponding author), 2 hosetti57@gmail.com

 

 

 

Editor: Ashish D. Tiple, Vidyabharati College, Seloo, Wardha, India.    Date of publication: 26 April 2021 (online & print)

 

Citation: Harisha, M.N. & B.B. Hosetti (2021). Status, abundance, and seasonality of butterfly fauna at Kuvempu University Campus, Karnataka, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 13(5): 18355–18363. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4488.13.5.18355-18363

 

Copyright: © Harisha & Hosetti 2021. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.

 

Funding: Kuvempu University.

 

Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

 

Acknowledgements: We take this opportunity to thank: the authorities of Kuvempu University for their support and facilities; all faculty members of Department of Wildlife and Management for their continuous support; Mrs. Yashaswini M.P who helped in making the map of the study area with ArcGIS software; and Mr. Harish Prakash for proving some field photographs.

 

 

 

Abstract: A survey was conducted to record the diversity, status, and occurrence of butterfly species in the Kuvempu University Campus, Jnana Sahyadri, Shivamogga District, Karnataka during February 2010 to January 2011. A total of 115 species of butterflies in 77 genera, belonging to five families were recorded.  Nymphalidae comprised the highest number of species, followed by Lycaenidae, Pieridae, Papilionidae, and Hesperiidae.  The study area hosts 14 species of butterflies protected under various schedules of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.  Nine species recorded are endemic to the Western Ghats of peninsular India and Sri Lanka.  Hence there is an urgent need to protect this habitat by adapting long-term monitoring programs to manage and conserve the butterfly diversity.

 

Keywords: Diversity, Jnana Sahyadri, Lepidoptera, Seasonality, Shivamogga District, Western Ghats.

 

 

 

Butterflies are good indicators of habitat quality, climatic conditions, seasonal, and ecological changes; butterfly studies can be used to formulate conservation strategies (Beccaloni & Gaston 1995).  India has 1,800 species and subspecies of butterflies (Kunte et al. 2018), and peninsular India hosts 350 species including many endemics, most found in the Western Ghats (Kunte 2008).  Three-hundred-and-seventeen species have been recorded from the southern Western Ghats, 316 from the central Western Ghats and 200 from the northern Western Ghats (Gaonkar 1996).

The diversity of butterflies in a given area reflects the overall plant diversity and the presence of suitable habitats (Kakati 2006), making them good indicators of health of the ecosystems (Padhye et al. 2006) that can be used to assess the impact of various threats (Gaonkar 1996; Kunte 2000, 2008; Kehimkar 2008) and formulating conservation priorities for management of biodiversity. Thus, there is a need for studies of butterfly community structure and dynamic group structure in different regions to assess the impact of changing natural habitats on the diversity and distribution of butterflies.

 

Material and Methods

Study Area      

Kuvempu University Campus is located between 13.7359° N and 75.6324° E at an elevation of 680–720m.  The campus is situated 24km south-east of Shivamogga City and 4km north of Bhadra Reservoir amidst dry deciduous forest, and is located on the edge of Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.  The campus covers an area of 326 acres, with 56% of the land being under forest (undisturbed area) and the remaining 44% occupied by buildings and associated landscaping (Fig. 1).  The predominant vegetation is typically dry deciduous forest having considerable similarity with the wildlife sanctuary.

 

Sampling method

The line transect method developed by the Institution of Terrestrial Ecology (Pollard 1979) was followed to monitor the diversity.  Three line transects were set up, which were approximately 500m long and 10m wide, passing through different landscape element types.  The transect lines were walked at a constant pace for approximately half an hour.  Transects were walked from 07.30 to 11.00 h when butterflies are most active.  Transects were walked every month for a period of one year from February 2010 to January 2011.  Butterflies were identified with the help of field guide (Kunte 2000).  Specimen collection was strictly avoided.  The taxonomic status of butterflies is adopted from Kunte (2000).  The status was scored using presence-absence scoring method and then percentage of abundance was calculated to determine the status.  On the basis of abundance, butterflies were categorized under different score classes such as 80–100% as very common (VC), 60–80% as common (C), 40–60% as occasional (O), 20–40% as rare (R), and below 20% as very rare (VR) (Aneesh et al. 2013).

The seasonality of butterflies in the campus was then compared with trends available in other studies of Western Ghats, from Peringome Vayakkara Panchayath, Kerala (Sneha 2018) to see the variation in this forest type.

 

Results and Discussion

During the study a total of 115 species of butterflies in 77 genera, belonging to five families were recorded (Table 1, Images 1–16).  The family Nymphalidae dominated with 38 species (33% of total species) recorded, followed by Lycaenidae with 28 species (24%), Pieridae with 23 species (20%), Papilionidae with 15 species (13%), and Hesperiidae with 11 species (10%) (see Tables 1,2).  The status of butterflies based on frequency of occurrence revealed that 52 species were common (45% of total), 23 rare (20%), 22 very common (19%), 11 very rare (10%), and 7 occasional (6%) (Tables 1,2).

Butterflies are seasonal in their occurrence.  They are common for only a few months and rare or absent in other parts of the year (Kunte 2000).  During the study, the seasonality in the occurrence of different butterfly species was also recorded (Table 1).  Figure 2 represents seasonal wise variations in the abundance and distribution of butterfly species.  The number of species encountered was highest during winter at 102 species, and decreased to 85 in summer and 64 during the monsoon; 39 species were sighted throughout the year.

Butterflies are sensitive to changes in habitat and climate, which influence their distribution and abundance (Wynter-Blyth 1957).  Variations in the abundance and distribution of butterfly species (Fig. 3) were found to be consistently highest among the Nymphalidae in winter and summer and throughout the year.  Among the Lycaenidae variation was equal in winter and summer, high in the monsoon and lower throughout the year.  Among the Pieridae and Papilionidae it was persistently decreasing from winter, summer and monsoon throughout the year and among the Hesperiidae variation was inconsistent across seasons, being high in winter and monsoon, and low in summer and throughout the year.

The level of endemism varies within India depending upon the accessibility of larval as well as adult food resources, which determine the occurrence and migration of butterflies (Gilbert & Singer 1975).  Forty-five species are endemic to southern India (Thomas 1966), of which seven were recorded from the study area: Malabar Rose Pachliopta pandiyana Moore, 1881, Malabar Raven Papilio dravidarum Wood-Mason, 1880 & Southern Birdwing Triodes minos Cramer, 1779, endemic to the Western Ghats (Kunte 2008), Glad-eye Bushbrown Mycalesis patnia Butler, 1868 & Tamil Yeoman Cirrochroa thais Fabricius, 1787 endemic to the Western Ghats & Sri Lanka (Kunte 2008; Kasambe 2018), and the Blue Mormon Papilio polymnestor Cramer, 1775 & Painted Sawtooth Prioneris sita C. & R. Felder, 1865 endemic to peninsular India & Sri Lanka (Kunte 2008).

Conservation activities such as monitoring and mapping biodiversity have played a key role in determining diversity status (Margules & Pressey 2000).  When compared to other habitats of the Western Ghats, overall species diversity in the study area was very low.  The diversity and abundance of butterfly species is greatly associated with the availability of food plants in the surrounding habitat (Kunte et al. 1999).  From this study, it was found that there was frequent clearing in the study area of weeds, which provided nectar as well as larval host plants, resulting in low floral diversity that supported low butterfly diversity (Image 17).

The study also revealed the impacts of factors such as habitat alterations and improper drainage system (Image 18).  The study area is a dry deciduous forest type with hilly terrains, which during the monsoon receives sufficient rainfall, but the drainage system carries water out of the area by flowing down towards the low lying areas, instead of allowing it to percolate into the forest soil.  Consequently, there is low water retention for the plants to grow leaving the campus dry at the end of winter and during summer, providing poor habitat for butterflies.  Also, the elimination of grasses, shrubs and trees during landscaping has resulted in loss of habitats for plants and butterflies, leading to local extinctions of species (Balmer & Erhardt 2000) (Images 19, 20).

Our results emphasize the importance of campus estates as habitats for butterflies.  If landscaping is carefully planned and campus gardens are properly maintained, the diversity of butterfly fauna may increase on the campus, providing a rich ground for butterfly conservation as well as for research.  Occurrence of scheduled and endemic species in the study area indicates an urgent need to protect this habitat by adapting long-term monitoring programs to manage and conserve the butterfly diversity of Kuvempu University Campus, Shivamogga District.

 

 

Table 1. Checklist of butterflies of Kuvempu University Campus along with legal status, status, and seasonality.

 

Common name

Scientific name

Legal status

(IWPA 1972)

Status

Seasonality

 

Papilionidae

 

 

 

 

1

Crimson Rose

Pachliopta hector (Linnaeus, 1758)

Sch. I

VC

M

2

Common Rose

Pachliopta aristolochiae (Fabricius, 1775)

 

R

S, M

3

Malabar Rose*

Pachliopta pandiyana (Moore, 1881)

 

VR

W

4

Common Mime

Papilio clytia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Sch. I

R

W, S, M

5

Common Mormon

Papilio polytes (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

C

W, S, M

6

Blue Mormon**

Papilio polymnestor (Cramer, 1775)

 

R

W, S, M

7

Lime Swallowtail

Papilio demoleus (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W, S

8

Common-banded Peacock

Papilio crino (Fabricius, 1793)

 

VR

W, S

9

Malabar Raven*

Papilio dravidarum (Wood-Mason, 1880)

 

R

W, S

10

Red Helen

Papilio helenus (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

O

W, M

11

Common Bluebottle

Graphium sarpedon (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

R

W, M

12

Tailed Jay

Graphium agamemnon (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W, S, M

13

Common Jay

Graphium doson (C. & R. Felder, 1864)

 

C

W

14

Spot Swordtail

Graphium nomius (Esper, 1799)

 

C

S

15

Sahyadri Birdwing*

 Troides minos (Cramer, 1779)

 

R

W, S, M

 

Lycaenidae

 

 

 

 

16

Common Silverline

Spindasis vulcanus (Fabricius, 1775)

 

C

W, S

17

Common Pierrot

Castalius rosimon (Fabricius, 1775)

Sch. I

VC

W, S, M

18

Red Pierrot

Talicada nyseus (Guerin-Meneville, 1843)

 

C

W, S

19

Dark Pierrot

Tarucus ananda (de Nicéville, 1884)

Sch. IV

C

W, S

20

Angled Pierrot

Caleta decidia (Hewitson, 1876)

 

C

W, S, M

21

Banded Blue Pierrot

Discolampa ethion (Westwood, 1851)

 

C

W, S, M

22

Common Cerulean

Jamides celeno (Cramer, 1775)

 

VC

W, S, M

23

Dark Cerulean

Jamides bochus (Stoll, 1782)

 

C

W, S, M

24

Gram Blue

Euchrysops cnejus (Fabricius, 1798)

Sch. II

C

W, S

25

Zebra Blue

Leptotes plinius (Fabricius, 1793)

 

C

W

26

Pea Blue

Lampides boeticus (Linnaeus, 1767)

Sch. II

C

S, M

27

Lime Blue

Chilades lajus (Stoll, 1780)

 

C

S, M

28

Dark Grass Blue

Zizeeria karsandra (Moore, 1865)

 

VC

W, S, M

29

Lesser Grass Blue

Zizina otis (Fabricius, 1787)

 

C

W, S

30

Tiny Grass Blue

Zizula hylax (Fabricius, 1775)

 

VR

S, M

31

Common Lineblue

Prosotas nora (C. Felder, 1860)

Sch. II

VC

W, S, M

32

Common Hedge Blue

Acytolepis puspa (Horsfield, 1828)

 

C

W, M

33

Plain Hedge Blue

Celastrina lavendularis (Moore, 1877)

 

C

M

34

Orange-spotted Grass Jewel

Freyeria trochylus (Freyer, 1845)

 

VC

W

35

Forget-me-not

Catochrysops strabo (Fabricius, 1793)

 

C

M

36

Large Oakblue

Arhopala amantes (Hewitson, 1862)

 

O

W, M

37

Indian Oakblue

Arhopala atrax (Hewitson, 1862)

 

O

S

38

Monkey Puzzle

Rathinda amor (Fabricius, 1775)  

 

C

W, S

39

Apefly

Spalgis epius (Westwood, 1851)

 

R

W, S

40

Yamfly

Loxura atymnus (Stoll, 1780)

 

O

S, M

41

Plum Judy

Abisara echerius (Stoll, 1790)

 

C

W, S, M

42

Plains Cupid

Chilades pandava (Horsfield, 1829)

 

C

W, S, M

43

Indigo Flash

Rapala varuna (Horsfield, 1829)

Sch. II

R

W, M

 

Nymphalidae

 

 

 

 

44

Common Castor

Ariadne merione (Cramer, 1777)

 

C

W, S

45

Tawny Coster

Acraea terpsicore (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W, S

46

Blue Tiger

Tirumala limniace (Cramer, 1775)

 

VC

W, S

47

Dark Blue Tiger

Tirumala septentrionis (Butler, 1874)

 

C

W, S

48

Glassy Tiger

Parantica aglea (Stoll, 1782)

 

VR

W, S

49

Plain Tiger

Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

R

W, S

50

Striped Tiger

Danaus genutia (Cramer, 1779)

 

C

W, S

51

Common Leopard

Phalanta phalantha (Drury, 1773)

 

VC

W, S

52

Grey Count

Tanaecia lepidea (Butler, 1868)

Sch. II

R

W, S, M

53

Indian Common Crow

Euploea core (Cramer, 1780)

 

VC

W, S, M

54

Danaid Eggfly

Hypolimnas misippus (Linnaeus, 1764)

Sch. I

C

W, S, M

55

Great Eggfly

Hypolimnas bolina (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

C

W, S, M

56

Lemon Pansy

Junonia lemonias (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W, S

57

Peacock Pansy

Junonia almana (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

C

W, S

58

Yellow Pansy

Junonia hierta (Fabricius, 1798)

 

C

W, S

59

Chocolate  Pansy

Junonia iphita (Cramer, 1779)

 

C

W, S, M

60

Grey Pansy

Junonia atlites (Linnaeus, 1763)

 

R

W, S

61

Blue Pansy

Junonia orithya (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W

62

Common Evening Brown

Melanitis leda (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W, S, M

63

Dark Evening Brown

Melanitis phedima (Cramer, 1780)

 

C

W, M

64

Common Bushbrown

Mycalesis perseus (Fabricius, 1775)

 

C

W, S, M

65

Dark-branded Bushbrown

Mycalesis mineus (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

C

W

66

Malabar Glad-eye Boshbrown***

Mycalesis junonia (Butler, 1868)

 

C

W

67

Bamboo Treebrown

Lethe europa (Fabricius, 1775)

 

C

W, S, M

68

Common Five-ring

Ypthima baldus (Fabricius, 1775)

 

VC

W, S, M

69

Common Four-ring

Ypthima huebneri (Kirby, 1871)

 

VC

W, S, M

70

Common Baron

Euthalia aconthea (Cramer, 1777)

 

C

W, S, M

71

Common Lascar

Pantoporia hordonia (Stoll, 1790)

 

R

W, S, M

72

Indian Nawab

Charaxes bharata (C. & R. Felder, 1867)

 

R

W, S

73

Tamil Yeoman***

Cirrochroa thais (Fabricius, 1787)

 

VR

W, S

74

Common Palmfly

Elymnias hypermnestra (Linnaeus, 1763)

 

C

W, S, M

75

Indian Red Admiral

Vanessa indica (Herbst, 1794)

 

VR

W, S

76

Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

R

W, S

77

Rustic

Cupha erymanthis (Drury, 1773)

 

C

W, S

78

Baronet

Symphaedra nais (Forster, 1771)

 

R

W, S

79

Commander

Moduza procris (Cramer, 1777)

 

R

W, S

80

Common Sailer

Neptis hylas (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W, S, M

81

Nigger or Medus Brown

Orsotriaena medus (Fabricius, 1775)

 

VR

W, M

 

Pieridae

 

 

 

 

82

Common or Lemon Emigrant

Catopsilia pomona (Fabricius, 1775)

 

VC

W, S

83

Mottled Emigrant

Catopsilia pyranthe (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

C

W, S

84

Sahyadri Cabbage White

Pieris canidia (Linnaeus, 1768)

 

C

W, S

85

Common Albatross

Appias albina (Boisduval, 1836)

Sch. II

R

W, M

86

Indian Wanderer

Pareronia hippia (Fabricius, 1787)

 

C

W

87

Indian Jezebel

Delias eucharis (Drury, 1773)

 

C

W, S

88

Painted Sawtooth**

Prioneris sita (C. & R. Felder, 1865)

Sch. IV

VR

W

89

Common Grass Yellow

Eurema hecabe (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VC

W, S, M

90

Small Grass Yellow

Eurema brigitta (Stoll, 1780)

 

C

W, S, M

91

One-spot Grass Yellow

Eurema andersoni (Moore, 1886)

 

C

W, M

92

Three-spot Grass Yellow

Eurema blanda (Boisduval, 1836)

 

C

W, M

93

Common Gull 

Cepora nerissa (Fabricius, 1775)

Sch. II

O

W

94

Lesser Gull

Cepora nadina (Lucas, 1852)

Sch. II

VR

W, M

95

Crimson-tip

Colotis danae (Fabricius, 1775)

 

C

S

96

Little Orange-tip

Colotis etrida (Boisduval, 1836)

 

C

W, S

97

Plain Orange-tip

Colotis aurora (Cramer, 1780)

 

C

W, S

98

Small Salmon Arab

Colotis amata (Fabricius, 1775)

 

R

W, S, M

99

Large Salmon Arab

Colotis fausta (Olivier, 1804)

 

R

W, S, M

100

Yellow Orange-tip

Ixias pyrene (Linnaeus, 1764)

 

R

W, S

101

White Orange-tip

Ixias marianne (Cramer, 1779)

 

R

S

102

Great Orange-tip

Hebomoia glaucippe (Linnaeus, 1758)

 

VR

W, M

103

Pioneer

Belenois aurota (Fabricius, 1793)

 

VC

S

104

Psyche 

Leptosia nina (Fabricius, 1793)

 

O

W, S, M

 

Hesperiidae

 

 

 

 

105

Indian Grizzled Skipper

Spialia galba (Fabricius, 1793)

 

R

W, S, M

106

Grass Demon

Udaspes folus (Cramer, 1775)

 

C

W, S, M

107

Dark Palm-Dart

Telicota bambusae (Moore, 1878)  

 

C

W, S, M

108

Oriental or Common Grass Dart

Taractrocera maevius (Fabricius, 1793)

 

R

W, S, M

109

Tawny-spotted or Tamil Grass Dart

Taractrocera ceramas ceramas  (Hewitson, 1868)

 

VR

W, M

110

Rice Swift

Borbo cinnara (Wallace, 1866)

 

C

W, S, M

111

Chestnut Bob

Iambrix salsala (Moore, 1866)

 

VC

W, S, M

112

Common Banded Awl

Hasora chromus (Cramer, 1780)

 

C

W, M

113

White-banded Awl

Hasora taminatus (Hübner, 1818)

 

O

W, M

114

Common Snow Flat

Tagiades japetus (Stoll, 1781)

 

C

W, M

115

Sahyadri Banded Ace

Halpe hindu (Evans, 1937)

 

C

W, M

*—Endemic to Western Ghats | **—Endemic to peninsular India & Sri Lanka | ***—Endemic to Western Ghats & Sri Lanka | VC—Very common | C—Common | O—Occasional | R—Rare | W—Winter | S—Summer | M—Monsoon.

 

 

Table 2. Community structure, composition, and frequency of butterflies in Jnana Sahyadri Campus, Kuvempu University.

 

 

Relative abundance

 

Family

No. of species

VC

C

O

R

VR

1

Papilionidae

15 (13%)

3

3

1

6

2

2

Lycaenidae

28 (24%)

5

17

3

2

1

3

Nymphalidae

38 (33%)

10

16

0

8

4

4

Pieridae

23 (20%)

3

10

2

5

3

5

Hesperiidae

11 (10%)

1

6

1

2

1

 

 

115 (100%)

22 (19%)

52 (45%)

7 (6%)

23 (20%)

11(10%)

 

 

For figures & images - - click here

 

 

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