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Diversity of Butterflies from Different Agroecosystem with Their Host Plants in Namakkal District, Tamil Nadu, India

Kanimozhi C., V. Ramesh. , P.C. Pathania, A. Rameshkumar
Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2020, 8(5), 315-318. DOI: 10.12691/aees-8-5-19
Received June 23, 2020; Revised July 24, 2020; Accepted August 04, 2020

Abstract

Butterflies are the most fascinating group of insects which belong to the insect order Lepidoptera, under the phylum Arthropoda. In India, 1501 butterfly species, from 5 different families, viz., Papilionidae, Pieridae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae and Hesperiidae which include nearly 100 endemic species. The main objective of the present study is to document the butterfly species diversity in Namakkal district and also record how the agroecosystem plays a major role to complete butterflies lifecycle. The Diversity of butterflies in different agricultural field is observed during the period between October 2016 and November 2017. A total of 60 species under 40 genera and 5 families were recorded. During the course of investigation, surveys have been carried out to study the various groups of butterflies with their abundance and distribution and also to assess the preferred host-plants in agricultural lands of surrounding areas in Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu, India.

1. Introduction

Biodiversity describes the diversity of living beings on earth recounting the number or plenty of different species living within a particular region. Butterflies are the best biological indicator. Butterflies and moths are belonging to the order Lepidoptera which means scaled- winged. Butterflies are often polymorphic and make use of camouflage, mimicry and aposematism to evade their predators. Butterflies, birds and vascular plants represent the most frequently monitored taxonomic groups 1.

The butterfly fauna of India is rich with over 1500 species because of their vivid colors, amazing shapes and elegant flight give bliss to everyone 2. Nearly fifty economically important crops are pollinating with the help of butterflies 3. Butterfly’s lifecycle consists of four stages namely egg, larva, pupa and adult. Butterflies require specific food and habit at different stages of their life cycle. The larvae of butterflies cause only little damage to host plants. The larva as well as adults is food for many predators like lizards and birds. Monitoring the changes in the diversity of butterflies is a potential tool for assessing the environmental changes in a particular area.

Butterflies can be identified even on the wings and they show the symbiotic relationships with flowering plants where flowers provide nectar for adult butterflies and plant tissues such as leaves and soft stems for caterpillars and also provide shelter. Biological diversity is a vital parameter for assess the global and environmental changes.

The main objective of the present study is to document the diversity of butterflies in Namakkal district and also record the seasonal changes. During the course of investigation, surveys have been carried out to study the various groups of butterflies and their abundance and distribution to assess the preferred host-food plants in agricultural lands of surrounding areas in Namakkal district.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Study Area

Survey for collection and population assessment of insects was carried out in different agricultural fields of Namakkal district in the state of Tamil Nadu. Namakkal district is bounded by Salem district on the north, on the east by Attur taluk of Salem district, Perambalur and Tiruchirapalli district, by Karur district on the south and on the west by Erode district. Namakkal district is situated in the north western and western agro climatic zones. Minimum temperature is 22°C and maximum temperature is 38°C. The average rainfall is 764mm. The main occupation in the district is agriculture. The cultivation is generally depends on monsoon rains, wells and tanks. The major crops of this district are paddy, sorgum, greengram, blackgram, maize, cholam, cumbu, ragi, pulses, groundnut, castor, sugarcane, cotton and tapioca.

2.2. Survey and Identification

Preliminary survey was carried out during the day from 7a.m to 12p.m for a period of 12 months extending from October 2016 to November 2017 with weekly intervals. Different agricultural fields of this district was surveyed by using line transect method. In this method five permanent 300m line transects was setup in different agricultural fields. The transect walk was done once in a month as Pollard walk method 4, 5 for recording the butterflies. Most of the butterfly species were identified on sight, whereas, some species could not be identified in that manner, those were collected with the help of a sweep net and identified through the handbook by Kehimkar 6 and standard references such as Evans 7 and Wynter Blyth 8. Wherever possible, the recorded species were photographed for verification and authentication.

2.3. Statistical Analysis

Species diversity was calculated using Shannon diversity index (H' = - ∑Pi ln Pi) and Shannon evenness was calculated using the formula; E = H' / ln S, where, H' = Shannon diversity index, and Pi = Proportional abundance of the ith species, E = Shannon evenness and S = Total number of species in habitat (species richness).

3. Results & Discussion

The study revealed the presence of 60 species of butterflies from all agricultural fields belonging to five families during 2016 October to November 2017. Nymphalidae shows the maximum species richness of 17 species followed by Lycaenidae and Pieridae with 15 species, Papilionidae with 7 species, Hesperiidae with 6 species (Table 1).

The diversity index and evenness was calculated and furnished in the Table 3. The Shannon Wienner diversity index indicated the maximum in rice field (1.53) followed by pulses field and sugarcane field with 1.51, vegetable field and groundnut field with 1.50. The highest species evenness was shown in pulses field, sugarcane field with 0.38, followed by rice field and groundnut field with 0.37. The least evenness was shown in vegetable field with 0.36. The maximum number of species and individuals were found in rice field where the available of host plant is more and weeding also occur in less than other fields, whereas groundnut field and sugarcane field show less butterfly diversity because of less structural complexity and flowering plants. Each habitat has specific set of microhabitat for a species. Butterflies are depends on the different agricultural fields, due to the urbanization, these animals are under risk. Their diversity signs a good health of agricultural fields. Besides host plants, butterflies also requires specific eco- climatic conditions. Temperature ranging from 24-26°C and 85-95% relative humidity are suited for most butterflies. The maximum temperature was one of the most critical factors for insect’s development and activities. The development of insect also stops at a definite low temperature.

Acknowledgements

The first and second authors are grateful to The Principal, Nehru Memorial College and Head, Department of Zoology, Nehru Memorial College for their encouragement and support. Third and fourth authors are thankful to Dr Kailash Chandra, Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata for providing facilities.

References

[1]  Thomas JA., 1995. The ecology and conservation of Maculineaarion and other European species of large blue butterfly. In:A.S. Pullin (ed.) Ecology and Conservation of Butterflies.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Perveen F, Ahmad A.2012 Checklist of butterfly fauna of Kohat, Khyber Pakhtun khwa, Pakistan. Arthropods, 1(3): 112-117.
In article      
 
[3]  Borges RM, Gowda V, Zacharias M. 2003. Butterfly pollination and high contrast visual signals in a low density distylous plant. Oceologia, 136: 571-573.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[4]  Pollard E. 1977. A method for assessing changes in the abundance of butterflies. Biological Conservation. 12: 115-153.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Pollard E. and Yates TJ. 1993. Monitoring Butterflies for Ecology and Conservation. Chapman and Hall. London.
In article      
 
[6]  Kehimker I. 2008. Book of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford.
In article      
 
[7]  Evans WH. 1932. The Identification of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay. 454 pp.
In article      
 
[8]  Wynter Blyth MA. 1957. Butterflies of the Indian region. Bombay Natural History Society.
In article      
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2020 Kanimozhi C., V. Ramesh., P.C. Pathania and A. Rameshkumar

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite this article:

Normal Style
Kanimozhi C., V. Ramesh., P.C. Pathania, A. Rameshkumar. Diversity of Butterflies from Different Agroecosystem with Their Host Plants in Namakkal District, Tamil Nadu, India. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Vol. 8, No. 5, 2020, pp 315-318. http://pubs.sciepub.com/aees/8/5/19
MLA Style
C., Kanimozhi, et al. "Diversity of Butterflies from Different Agroecosystem with Their Host Plants in Namakkal District, Tamil Nadu, India." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 8.5 (2020): 315-318.
APA Style
C., K. , Ramesh., V. , Pathania, P. , & Rameshkumar, A. (2020). Diversity of Butterflies from Different Agroecosystem with Their Host Plants in Namakkal District, Tamil Nadu, India. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 8(5), 315-318.
Chicago Style
C., Kanimozhi, V. Ramesh., P.C. Pathania, and A. Rameshkumar. "Diversity of Butterflies from Different Agroecosystem with Their Host Plants in Namakkal District, Tamil Nadu, India." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 8, no. 5 (2020): 315-318.
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[1]  Thomas JA., 1995. The ecology and conservation of Maculineaarion and other European species of large blue butterfly. In:A.S. Pullin (ed.) Ecology and Conservation of Butterflies.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Perveen F, Ahmad A.2012 Checklist of butterfly fauna of Kohat, Khyber Pakhtun khwa, Pakistan. Arthropods, 1(3): 112-117.
In article      
 
[3]  Borges RM, Gowda V, Zacharias M. 2003. Butterfly pollination and high contrast visual signals in a low density distylous plant. Oceologia, 136: 571-573.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[4]  Pollard E. 1977. A method for assessing changes in the abundance of butterflies. Biological Conservation. 12: 115-153.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Pollard E. and Yates TJ. 1993. Monitoring Butterflies for Ecology and Conservation. Chapman and Hall. London.
In article      
 
[6]  Kehimker I. 2008. Book of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford.
In article      
 
[7]  Evans WH. 1932. The Identification of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay. 454 pp.
In article      
 
[8]  Wynter Blyth MA. 1957. Butterflies of the Indian region. Bombay Natural History Society.
In article