Diversity pattern of butterfly communities (Lepidoptera) in different habitat types of Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, India

Main Article Content

Suveena Thakur
Suneet Bahrdwaj
Amar Paul Singh


Diversity and similarity of butterfly communities were assessed in three different habitat types in the mountains of Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, from May 2012 to April 2013. A total of 75 species and five families were reported. Proportion of species was highest in deciduous dry forest (49%), followed by Shorea (Saal) forest (34%), and Pinus (Cheer) forest (17%). Family Pieridae was dominant followed by Nymphalidae in all three habitat types. Cluster analysis revealed that Cheer forest  stood out clearly from Dry and Saal forest which represents the different species composition. We found significant differences in butterfly diversity in the three forest types based on Shannon index, Simpson dominance index, and Buzas & Gibson’s evenness. These differences may be attributable to variations in host and nectar plant distribution. Of the habitats surveyed, dry deciduous forest appeared to be the most suitable for butterfly conservation.

Article Details

How to Cite
Thakur, S., Bahrdwaj, S. and Singh, A.P. 2021. Diversity pattern of butterfly communities (Lepidoptera) in different habitat types of Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 13, 8 (Jul. 2021), 19137–19143. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.7095.13.8.19137-19143.
Short Communications


Achard, F., H.D. Eva, H.J. Stibig, P. Mayaux, J. Gallego, T. Richards & J.P. Malingreau (2002). Determination of deforestation rates of the world’s humid tropical forests. Science 297: 999–1002. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1070656

Arora, G.S., H.S. Mehta & V.K. Walia (2009). Handbook on Butterflies of Himachal Pradesh. Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, 160pp.

Barlow, H.S. & I.P. Woiwod (1989). Moth diversity of a tropical forest in Peninsular Malaysia. Journal of Tropical Ecology 5(1): 37–50.

Bhardwaj, M. & V.P. Uniyal (2009). Assessment of butterflies in montane temperate forest of Allain-Duhaingan catchment in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India. Proposed Hydroelectric Project Site. Indian Forester 135(10): 1357–1366.

Blair, R.B. & A.E. Launer (1997). Butterfly diversity and human land use: species assemblages along an urban gradient. Biological Conservation 80(1): 113–125. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(96)00056-0

Brown, K.S. Jr. (1991). Conservation of neotropical environments: insects as indicators, pp. 449–504. In: Collins, N.M. & J.A. Thomas (eds.). The Conservation of Insects and Their Habitats. Academic Press, London.

Chandel, S., V. Kumar, B.P. Sharma & R. Patiyal (2014). Butterfly Fauna of Shivalik Hills Areas of Kangra and Hamirpur districts of Himachal Pradesh in India. Life Science Leaflets 55: 25–38.

Collins, N.M. & M.G. Morris (1985). Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland, 21–26pp.

DeVries, P.J., D. Murray & R. Lande (1997). Species diversity in vertical, horizontal, and temporal dimensions of a fruit-feeding butterfly community in an Ecuadorian rainforest. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 62: 343–364.

DeVries, R.G. (1992). Outlines of Entomology - 7th Edition. Chapman & Hall/CRC, Boca Raton, Fla, USA, 420pp.

Erhardt, A. (1985). Diurnal Lepidoptera: sensitive indicators of cultivated and abandoned grassland. Journal of Applied Ecology 22: 849–861. https://doi.org/10.2307/2403234

Kumar, R. (2009). Biosystematics and ecological studies on butterflies from Himachal Pradesh. PhD Thesis, H.P. University, Shimla, India, 288pp.

Lawton, J.H., D.E. Bignell, B. Bolton, G.F. Bloemers, P. Eggleton, M. Hodda, R.D. Holt, T.B. Larsen, N.A. Mawdsley & N.E. Stork (1998). Biodiversity inventories, indicator taxa and effects of habitat modification in tropical forest. Nature 391(6662): 72–76.

Magurran, A.E. (1988). Ecological Diversity and Its Measurement. Chapman & Hall, London, UK, X+179pp. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-7358-0

Majumder, J., R. Lodh & B.K. Agarwala (2013). Butterfly species richness and diversity in the Trishna wildlife sanctuary in South Asia. Journal of Insect Science 13: 79. https://doi.org/10.1673/031.013.7901

Morse, D.R., N.E. Stork & J.H. Lawton (1988). Species number, species abundance and body length relationships of arboreal beetles in Bornean lowland rain forest trees. Ecological Entomology 13(1): 25–37.

Parmesan, C. (1996). Climate and species range. Nature 382: 765–766. https://doi.org/10.1038/382765a0

Parmesan, C., N. Ryrholm, C. Stefanescu, J.K. Hill, C.D. Thomas, H. Descimon, B. Huntley, L. Kaila, J. Kullberg, T. Tammaru & W.J. Tennent (1999). Poleward shifts in geographical ranges of butterfly species associated with regional warming. Nature 399: 579–583. https://doi.org/10.1038/2118.1

Ranta, E. & M. Tiainen (1982). Structure in seven bumblebee com- munities in eastern Finland in relation to resource availability. Ecography 5: 48–54. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0587.1982.tb01016.x

Ronkay, L. (2004). Jelenkorifaunaváltozások a Kárpát-medencebelsőterületein: tények, jelenségekésértékelhetőségük. (Lepkék, elsősorban Macroheterocera) – Esettanulmány„ A globálisklímaváltozáshatásai Magyarországfaunájára” c. kérdéskörről. Kézirat, 22pp. [Current changes in the interior of the Carpathian Basin: facts, phenomena and their evaluability. (Butterflies, mainly Macroheterocera) - Case Study “The effects of global climate change on Hungary’s fauna” c. issue]

Smetacek, P. (2016). A Naturalist’s Guide to the Butterflies of India. Prakash Books India Private Limited, 176pp.

Sarkar, V.K., D.D. Sukumar, V.C. Balakrishnan & K. Kunte (2011). Validation of the reported occurrence of Tajuria maculata, the spotted royal butterfly (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), in the Western Ghats, southwestern India, on the basis of two new records. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(3): 1629–1632. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2645.1629-32

Schulze, C.H., I. Steffan-Dewenter & T. Tsharntke (2004). effects of land use on butterfly communities at the rain forest margin: a case study from Central Sulawesi, pp. 281–297. In: Gerold, G., M. Fremerey & E. Guhardja (eds.). Land Use, Nature Conservation and The Stability of Rainforest Margins in Southeast Asia. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, XXXI533pp.

Singh, A.P. (2008). Butterflies of Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary, Sirmaur District, Himachal Pradesh, India. Indian Forester 134(10): 1326–1338.

Sparks, T.H., R.L. Dennis, P.J. Croxton & M. Cade (2007). Increased migration of Lepidoptera linked to climate change. European Journal of Entomology 104(1): 139.

Stange, E.E. & M.P. Ayres ( 2010). Climate Change Impacts: Insects, pp. 1–7. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (ELS). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470015902.a0022555

Sutton, S.L. & P.J. Collins (1991). Insects and tropical forest conservation, pp. 405–424. In: Collins, N.M. & J.A. Thomas (eds.). The Conservation of Insects and Their Habitats. Academic Press, London, 450pp.

Thomas, C.D. & H.C. Mallorie (1985). Rarity, species richness and conservation: butterflies of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Biological Conservation 33: 95–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(85)90098-9

Uniyal, V.P. & P.K. Mathur (1998). Diversity of butterflies in the Great Himalayan National Park, Western Himalaya. Indian Journal of Forestry 21(2): 150–155.

Viejo, J.L. (1989). The importance of woodlands in the classification of butterflies (Lep.: Papilionoidea and Hesperoidea) in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. Biological Conservation 48: 101–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(89)90029-3

Vu, L.V. (2009). Diversity and similarity of butterfly communities in five different habitat types at Tam Dao National Park, Vietnam. Journal of Zoology 277(1): 15–22. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2008.00498.x

Vu, V.L. (2008). Biodiversity of butterflies (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) and ecological indicator role of some butterfly species in Tam Dao National Park, Vinh Phuc. PhD Thesis. Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Woiwod, I.P (1997). Detecting the effects of climate change on Lepidoptera. Journal of Insect Conservation 1: 149–158.