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Butterfly Diversity Of Parbhani, Maharashtra State, India

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Introduction

The vast majority of butterflies have a four-stage life cycle; egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and imago (adult). In the genera Colias, Erebia, Euchloe andParnassius, a small number of species are known that reproduce semi-parthenogenetically; when the female dies, a partially developed larva emerges from her abdomen (Capinera, J. L., 2008). Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations may take several years to pass through their whole life cycle. Nearly all butterflies are diurnal, have relatively bright colours, and hold their wings vertically above their bodies when at rest, unlike the majority of moths which fly by night, are often cryptically coloured (well camouflaged), and either hold their wings flat (touching the surface on which the moth is standing) or fold them closely over their bodies. Some day-flying moths, such as the hummingbird hawk-moth are exceptions to these rules (Herrera, C. M. 1992). Many butterflies are sexually dimorphic. Most butterflies have the ZW sex-determination system where females are the heterogametic sex (ZW) and males homogametic (ZZ).

Parbhani is located at 19.27°N & 76.78°E and about 347 metres above MSL in Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Shri Shivaji College, Parbhani is located near about in the heart of the city and contains rich floral diversity and hence, survey was done to observe the butterfly diversity as the butterfly diversity survey of the college campus has not made yet. This data may become fruitful for the upcoming researchers of this field.

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Materials and Methods

Parbhani is the 4th largest city in Marathwada region of the Maharashtra after Aurangabad, Nanded and Latur. The city is located at 19.27°N & 76.78°E and about 347 metres above MSL. With the establishment in the year 1961, Shri Shivaji College, is one of the oldest college of swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Nanded. College is located near about in the heart of the city. Butterfly diversity survey of Shri Shivaji College, Parbhani was done for the period of one year i.e. from October 2017 to September 2018 by regular keen observation with the help of field binocular 8 x 40 and identified by using keys and monographs given by Mani, M. S. (1995) and Kehimkar, I (2014).

Results and Discussion

Butterfly biodiversity survey of Shri Shivaji College Campus, Parbhani was carried out during the study period i.e., from October 2017 to September 2018 and the results are depicted in Table 1. Butterflies are distributed worldwide except Antarctica, totalling some 18,500 species. Of these, 775 are Nearctic; 7,700 Neotropical; 1,575 Palearctic; 3,650 Afrotropical and 4,800 are distributed across the combined Oriental and Australian regions (Williams, et. al., 2015). Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters (Powell, J. A., 1987). The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism (Timothy D. S., 2011).

Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers. Some also derive nourishment from pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, decaying flesh, and dissolved minerals in wet sand or dirt (Gilbert, L. E., 1972). Butterflies are important as pollinators for some species of plants. In general, they do not carry as much pollen load as bees, but they are capable of moving pollen over greater distances (Herrera, C. M., 1987). Flower constancy has been observed for at least one species of butterfly (Goulson, D. et. al., 1997).

Adult butterflies consume only liquids, ingested through the proboscis. They sip water from damp patches for hydration and feed on nectar from flowers, from which they obtain sugars for energy, and sodium and other minerals vital for reproduction. Several species of butterflies need more sodium than that provided by nectar and are attracted by sodium in salt; they sometimes land on people, attracted by the salt in human sweat. Some butterflies also visit dung, rotting fruit or carcasses to obtain minerals and nutrients. In many species, this mud-puddling behaviour is restricted to the males, and studies have suggested that the nutrients collected may be provided as a nuptial gift, along with the spermatophore, during mating (Molleman, F. et. al., 2005).

During the period of investigation total 15 species of butterflies were recorded which are belonging to four different families viz., Hasperiidae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Papilionidae and Pieridae. Out of which the family Nymphalidae was proved itself a most dominant family with five species namely Danus chrysippu, Danus genutia, Euploea core, Melanitis leda and Tirumala limniace. Second position was taken up by Lycaenidae, Papilionidae and Pieridae each is represented by three species. Family Lycaenidae is represented by Neopithecops zalmora, Zizula hylax and Zizina otis; family Papilionidae is represented by Chilasa clytia, Graphium macareus and Papilio polytes whereas family Pieridae is represented by other three species namely Catopsilia pomona, Eurema hecabe and Gandaca harina. Family Hasperiidae was recorded as least dominant and represented by a single species only i.e., Caprona agama (Table 1). Such satisfied butterfly diversity may be due to rich flora of Shri Shivaji College Campus, Parbhani.

References

  1. Capinera, John L. (2008): Encyclopedia of Entomology. Springer Science & Business Media.
  2. Gilbert, L. E. (1972): ‘Pollen Feeding and Reproductive Biology of HeliconiusButterflies’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 69 (6): 1402 – 1407.
  3. Goulson, D.; Ollerton, J.; Sluman, C. (1997): ‘Foraging strategies in the small skipper butterfly, Thymelicus flavus: when to switch?’. Animal Behavior 53 (5): 1009–1016.
  4. Herrera, C. M. (1987): ‘Components of Pollinator ‘Quality’: Comparative Analysis of a Diverse Insect Assemblage’ (PDF). Oikos (Oikos) 50 (1): 79 – 90.
  5. Herrera, Carlos M. (1992): ‘Activity Pattern and Thermal Biology of a Day-Flying
  6. Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) under Mediterranean summer conditions’. Ecological Entomology 17: 52 – 56.
  7. Kehimkar, I. (2014): The Book of Indian Butterflies. BNHS, Oxford University Press, Mumbai. pp 497.
  8. Mani, Ms. S. (1995): Insects. National Book Trust, India. pp 162
  9. Molleman, Freerk; Grunsven, Roy H. A.; Liefting, Maartje; Zwaan, Bas J.; Brakefield, Paul M. (2005): ‘Is Male Puddling Behaviour of Tropical Butterflies Targeted at Sodium for Nuptial Gifts or Activity?’. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 86 (3): 345 – 361
  10. Powell, J. A. (1987): ‘Records of Prolonged Diapause in Lepidoptera’. J. Res. Lepid. 25: 83–109.
  11. Timothy Duane Schowalter (2011): Insect Ecology: An Ecosystem Approach. Academic Press. p. 159.
  12. Williams, Ernest; Adams, James; Snyder, John. (2015): ‘Frequently Asked Questions’. The Lepidopterists’ Society. Retrieved 9 September 2015.

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