Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 September 2020 | 12(13): 16868–16878

 

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

doi: https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4882.12.13.16868-16878

#4882 | Received 11 February 2019 | Final received 29 July 2020 | Finally accepted 28 August 2020

 

 

A checklist of butterfly fauna of Bankura Town, West Bengal, India

 

Ananya Nayak

 

Department of Zoology, Bankura Sammilani College, Kenduadihi, Bankura, West Bengal 722102, India.

ananya0001@gmail.com

 

 

 

Editor: Monsoon J. Gogoi, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.        Date of publication: 26 September 2020 (online & print)

 

Citation: Nayak, A. (2020). A checklist of butterfly fauna of Bankura Town, West Bengal, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 12(13): 16868–16878. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4882.12.13.16868-16878

 

Copyright: © Nayak 2020. 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: Self-funded.

 

Competing interests: The author declares no competing interests.

 

Acknowledgements: The author would like to express his sincere thanks to Anupran Nayak, sargeant of Indian Air Force, Barrackpore Air Force Station and Debabrata Mukherjee and Sourav Bhattacharyya, students of Department of Zoology, Bankura Sammilani College for their immense help during the fieldwork in the study area.

 

 

 

Abstract: The present study on butterflies was conducted in different habitat types in Bankura Town along the banks of Gandheswari and Dwarakeswar rivers for 24 months from January 2017 to December 2018.  The results of the study recorded the presence of 1,273 individuals of butterflies belonging to 57 species and 42 genera in six families.  The study recorded 20 species of butterflies under Nymphalidae, 14 species under Lycaenidae, 10 species under Pieridae, eight species under Hesperiidae, six species under Papilionidae, and only one species under Riodinidae. The present study provides a preliminary report on the butterfly diversity of Bankura Town which in turn may generate awareness among the local people and government about the importance of these essential pollinators and their conservation.

 

Keywords: Diversity, Dwarakeswar, Gandheswari River, Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, pollinator, riverside vegetation.

 

 

 

Bankura, the fourth largest district of West Bengal is located in the western part of the state.  It covers an area of 6,882km2 and is bounded by Paschim Medinipur and Hooghly districts in the east, Purulia District in the west, and Bardhaman District in the north and east.  The town is well-connected with its surrounding districts by two state (SH-2, SH-9) and two national highways (NH-14 and NH-314).  Two rivers, Gandheswari and Dwarakeswar flow from the north-east to the south-west in courses roughly parallel to one another.

Being very frequent visitors of a wide variety of flowers, butterflies constitute an effective and potential pollinator group along with other insect pollinators of the world.  These beautiful floral visitors contribute to the pollination of more than 75% of the leading global food crops and thereby saving US$235577 billion per year (Breeze et al. 2016; Grooten & Almond 2018).

In recent times several authors have reported on the diversity of butterfly population in different ecosystems under many districts of West Bengal (Chowdhury 2014; Mandal 2016; Samanta et al. 2017).  No comprehensive report on butterfly diversity from any part of Bankura District, however, has been reported to date.  The present study was conducted in the municipality areas of Bankura Town and several villages located near the river banks Gandheswari and Dwarakeswar of Bankura I community development block (Fig.1).

 

Study area

Bankura Town (23.25N & 87.07E) with an average elevation of 78m, is located in Bankura District and has a narrow alluvial strip along the lateritic and red soils (Ghosh & Guchhait 2015).  Bankura District belongs to a tropical savannah climate that represents a hot summer (AprilMay), monsoon (JuneSeptember) and winter (NovemberFebruary).  The town experiences a hot and humid weather except during the three months of winter.  In summer the temperature rises to a maximum of 48°C and in winter the temperature barely goes below 7°C.  Relative humidity is generally high throughout the year.

The study area encompasses a heterogeneous landscape characterized by diverse patches of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems including riverside vegetations of the two rivers, roadside plantations, habitats on railway embankments, grasslands, barren lands, bushes of weeds, gardens, agricultural lands, ponds, two rivers, and different forms of human habitation which ranges from a single settlement to densely populated city areas (Image 1 and 2).

Riverside vegetation: It includes a wide variety of natural flora of the river basin (e.g., wild sugarcane, Acacaia sp., Solanum xanthocarpum, Calotropis gigantea), scrubland (e.g., Calotropis gigantea, Datura metel, Justicia adhatoda) and trees (e.g., Alstonia scholaris, Azadirachta indica, Terminalia arjuna, Ficus benghalensis) along the riverbanks, agro-ecosystems (e.g., paddy field and other crop plants) and plantations by human habitations (e.g., Carica papaya, Cocos nucifera, Moringa oleifera, Psidium guajava).

Roadside plantations: These are characterized by distinct vegetation assemblages dominated by weedy plant species (e.g., Argemone mexicana, Cuscuta reflexa, Lantana camara, Parthenium hysterophorus) and other trees like Albizia lebbeck, Azadirachta indica, Bombax ceiba, Borassus flabellifer, Butea monosperma, Cassia fistula, Phoenix sylvestris, Tamarindus indica, Acacia auriculiformis, and Eucalyptus tereticornis.

Railway embankments: These artificial habitats around the railway tracks harbour species-rich plant communities including various flowering plants and invasive plant species (e.g., Parthenium hysterophorus, Lantana camara, Hyptis suaveolens) that constitute an important part of biodiversity in the urban landscape.

Home garden: These habitats are represented by several ornamental plants (e.g., Catharanthus roseus, Chrysanthemum indicum, Clitoria ternatea, Combretum indicum, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Ixora coccinea, Rosa sp., Tagetes erecta, T. patula) and a number of common ethnomedicinal and fruit plants (e.g., Aloe barbadensis, Ocimum sanctum, Mentha spicata, Annona squamosa, Mangifera indica, Punica granatum, Psidium guajava)

Open grassland: These are naturally occurring areas where the vegetation is dominated by different types of grasses along with sedges and other herbaceous plants.  Most of the abandoned agricultural lands near Bankura Town are examples of this type of habitat.

Some of the places that were visited for data collection are Palastola, Bhairabsthan, Krishi Vaban, Machantala, Satighat, Kenduadihi, Junbedia, Arabindanagar, Nutanchati, Lalbazar, Lokepur, Gobindanagar, Katjuridanga, Keranibandh, Kesiakole, Pratapbagan, Kamrarmath, Doltala, Dhaldanga, Heavy More, Sanbandha, Railway station and five kilometres along the railroad that traverse the town.  Besides these several villages in the suburban areas of the town and the river banks were also visited.

 

Methods

Bankura Town was surveyed for 24 months between January 2017 and December 2018.  In order to estimate the number of individuals of each butterfly species and to record all the species each study site was visited twice a month and more than four hours were spent at each site from dawn to dusk.

Butterfly counts were done from 10.00h to 15.00h, using binoculars (Olympus 10×50) and species were identified and counted.  Most of them were photographed using DSLR Camera with zoom lens to support further identification.  Butterflies were identified based on physical features with the help of field guides and reference books viz. (Kehimkar 2016; Shihan 2016; Kasambe 2018) and previously published works (viz., Sondhi et al. 2013; Chowdhury 2014; Mandal 2016; Samanta et al. 2017) and website on Indian butterflies (ifoundbuterfies.org).  Surveys were conducted in all possible types of butterfly habitats mentioned in the study area.  The study has classified the encounter rates of each species in four groups- Very Common (number observed >30), Common (15–30), Uncommon (8–14), and Rare (1–7).  We analysed our data with Microsoft Office Excel, 2010.  None of the species was captured or killed during the entire period of the study.

 

Results

The present study has observed a total of 1,273 butterflies belonging to 57 species and 42 genera in different habitats of Bankura Town and adjoining areas (Images 3–8).  The results showed that Nymphalidae was the most abundant family followed by Lycaenidae, Pieridae, Papilionidae, Hesperiidae and the least abundant family, Riodinidae (Fig. 2).  The study has observed 12 genera and 20 species under the family Nymphalidae, 14 genera and 14 species under the family Lycaenidae, six genera and 10 species under the family Pieridae, six genera and six species under the family Hesperiidae, three genera and six species under the family Papilionidae and only one species under the family Riodinidae (Table 1).  Depending on the occurrence of these species during the study period they can be grouped into four broad classes namely very common, common, uncommon, and rare.  The study found 12 very common, 31 common, eight uncommon and six rare species of butterflies in the study area (Table 2).  The most abundant species encountered in the study was Common Castor Ariadne merione (Cramer, 1777) followed by Common Evening Brown Melanitis leda (Linnaeus, 1758), Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758), Common Emigrant Catopsilia pomona (Fabricius, 1775), Psyche Leptosia nina (Fabricius, 1793), and Grey Pansy Junonia atlites (Linnaeus, 1763).  The study, however, has also been able to detect the presence of some of the rare butterfly species of southern Bengal like Purple Leaf Blue Amblypodia anita (Hewitson, 1862), Plum Judy Abisara echerius (Stoll, 1790), Apefly Spalgis epius (Westwood, 1851), Common Tit Hypolycaena erylus (Godart, 1824), Common Baron Euthalia aconthea (Cramer, 1777), and Slate Flash Rapala manea (Hewitson, 1863).  The study has also tried to assess the habitat-wise occurrence of these species in the total study area.  The highest number of species was observed in the riverside vegetations followed by roadside plantations, railway embankments, home gardens and open grasslands (Fig. 3).  A total of 45 species were recorded from different types of habitats near the river banks of Gandheswari and Dwarakeswar rivers (data not shown).  These rivers are rain-fed followed by the drying up to a perennial stream throughout the cold and hot seasons.  The maximum habitat diversity of the riverine landscape encompassing the town, may be a key factor behind the existence of a large number of butterfly species in these regions.  The study has observed a large number of species in different habitats along roadsides.  A number of main roads including national and state highways have passed through the town with a wide range of habitats harbouring these species.  A large number of species besides the railway track were recorded.  Railway embankments, built of crushed stone or different sized gravel, are linear habitats that are warmer at the top of the embankment and colder and wetter at the bottom (Moroń et al. 2014).  The study also noticed that the density of some of the species was much more in these man–made altered ecosystems having a higher number of natural vegetations that serve as host plants for these species.  This observational evidence is also consistent with some of the studies reported earlier (Moroń et al. 2014; Kalarus & Bąkowski 2015).  This can be explained by the fact that the railway track encompasses an area containing numerous nectar plants that thrive there in an undisturbed landscape without human intervention for a long time.

 

Discussion

Bankura District like some other southern Bengal districts has an almost entirely tropical climate.  Most of the flowering plants essential for human nutrition and survival are pollinated by insects and other animals.  Studies have shown that the proportion of animal–pollinated wild plant species rises from an average of 78% in temperate–zone communities to 94% in tropical communities (Ollerton et al. 2011; Grooten & Almond 2018).  The role of butterflies as a pollinator is more important in a drought prone district like Bankura where chances of pollination may make the difference between a good and poor production of some of the principal crops of the area.

In the process of rapid urbanization several species have lost their habitats.  For example, this study has revealed that a number of butterflies prefer their host plants as bushy weeds which are annihilated during the course of building construction or other processes of urbanization.  The study has noticed similar destruction of the host plants during the process of trenching and widening of shallow Gandheswari River near Satighat of Bankura Town.  In recent times several unauthorized constructions on Gandheswari river banks have also resulted in a rapid decline of a number of native flora, essential for the survival of some butterfly species.  Rapid urbanization of both the river bank areas is a leading cause for the production of massive amounts of household and industrial wastes which in turn causes pollution of the riverbank soil and vegetations.

Another matter of concern regarding loss of butterfly diversity was observed in Dwarakeswar River.  Unauthorized excessive instream sand mining has resulted in the partial or complete destruction of the river bed which in turn causes the erosion of the river banks leading to increased flooding and causing a severe threat to butterfly host plants and affect riverine ecology.

Although known for its dry and drought areas, in the past few years several places of Bankura have experienced a tremendous flood situation and the flood season occurs during the months of June, July, August and September.  Generally, it happens during the months of July and August.  Sudden cloudbursts and shallow riverbeds of Dwarakeswar and Gandheswari are the two major causes of this flood situation.  In most of the places including Bankura town it does not last long.  But when the flood comes, it destroys a large part of the biodiversity particularly in the ecosystems of the river banks leading to an annihilation of a large number of flora and fauna.

 

Conclusion

The investigations presented in this study address several significant and previously unreported aspects of butterfly population and their diversity in the study area.  The present study also identified a number of anthropogenic factors which directly or indirectly cause destruction or alteration of the natural habitat.  The study was conducted in a very small area in comparison to the whole district.  More surveys and research are needed to unveil the actual status of butterfly diversity in other parts of the district with a vast range of landscapes.  This in turn will deepen our understanding of their conservation status and will help us to stop and reverse the decline of many insect species and create a healthier environment.

 

Table 1. Subfamily-wise diversity of the butterflies of Bankura town and adjoining areas.

Family

Subfamily

Number of
Genera

Number of
Species

Hesperiidae

Hesperiinae

6

6

Papilionidae

Papilioninae

3

6

Pieridae

Coliadinae

2

6

Pierinae

4

4

Lycaenidae

Theclinae

4

4

Polyommatinae

9

9

Miletinae

1

1

Nymphalidae

Danainae

2

3

Satyrinae

3

5

Heliconiinae

2

2

Limenitnae

2

2

Biblidinae

1

2

Nymphalinae

2

6

Riodinidae

Nemeobiinae

1

1

 

Total: 6

14

42

57

 

Table 2. Detailed checklist of the butterflies of Bankura Town and adjoining areas.

 

Scientific name

English name

 

Relative Abundance

 

Number of individuals Observed

Schedule

Species

-WPA, 1972

Family: Hesperiidae

 

 

 

Subfamily: Hesperiinae

 

 

 

1

Parnara sp.

 

Common

18

 

2

Telicota bambusae (Moore, 1878)

Dark Palm Dart

Very Common

39

 

3

Udaspes folus (Cramer, 1775)

Grass Demon

Common

19

 

4

Suastus gremius (Fabricius, 1798)

Indian Palm Bob

Common

24

 

5

Borbo cinnara (Wallace, 1866)

Rice Swift

Common

21

 

6

Pelopidas mathias (Fabricius, 1798)

Small Branded Swift

Common

28

 

Family: Papilionidae

 

 

 

Subfamily: Papilioninae

 

 

 

7

Graphium doson (Felder & Felder, 1864)

Common Jay

Uncommon

14

 

8

Papilio demoleus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Lime

Common

28

 

9

Papilio clytia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Mime

Common

13

 

10

Papilio polytes (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Mormon

Common

23

 

11

Graphium agamemnon (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tailed Jay

Common

17

 

12

Pachliopta aristolochiae (Fabricius, 1775)

Common Rose

Common

19

 

Family: Pieridae

 

 

 

Subfamily: Coliadinae

 

 

 

13

Catopsilia pomona (Fabricius, 1775)

Common Emigrant

Very Common

44

 

14

Eurema hecabe (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Grass Yellow

Very Common

32

 

15

Catopsilia pyranthe (Linnaeus, 1758)

Mottled Emigrant

Common

29

 

16

Eurema andersonii (Moore, 1886)

One-spot Grass Yellow

Uncommon

14

 

17

Eurema brigitta (Stoll, 1780)

Small Grass Yellow

Common

16

 

18

Eurema blanda (Boisduval, 1836)

Three-Spot Grass Yellow

Uncommon

12

 

Subfamily: Pierinae

 

 

 

19

Cepora nerissa (Fabricius, 1775)

Common Gull 

Very Common

31

 

20

Pareronia hippia (Fabricius, 1787)

Common Wanderer 

Common

27

 

21

Leptosia nina (Fabricius, 1793)

Psyche

Very Common

41

 

22

Appias libythea (Fabricius, 1775)

Striped Albatross

Common

23

Sch IV

Family: Lycaenidae

 

 

 

Subfamily: Theclinae

 

 

 

23

Spindasis vulcanus (Fabricius, 1775)

Common Silverline

Uncommon

8

 

24

Hypolycaena erylus (Godart, 1824)

Common Tit

Rare

6

 

25

Amblypodia anita (Hewitson, 1862)

Purple Leaf Blue

Rare

5

 

26

Rapala manea (Hewitson, 1863)

Slate Flash 

Rare

7

 

Subfamily: Polyommatinae

 

 

 

27

Jamides celeno (Cramer, 1775)

Common Cerulean

Uncommon

11

 

28

Castalius rosimon (Fabricius, 1775)

Common Pierrot

Very Common

31

 

29

Zizeeria karsandra (Moore, 1865)

Dark Grass Blue

Common

27

 

30

Catochrysops strabo (Fabricius, 1793)

Forget-Me-Not

Common

24

 

31

Zizina otis (Fabricius, 1787)

Lesser Grass Blue 

Common

27

 

32

Chilades lajus (Stoll, 1780)

Lime Blue

Common

26

 

33

Tarucus balkanicus (Freyer, 1844)

Little Tiger Pierrot

Uncommon

12

 

34

Pseudozizeeria maha (Kollar, 1844)

Pale Grass Blue

Uncommon

14

 

35

Tarucus nara (Kollar, 1848)

Striped Pierrot

Uncommon

12

 

Subfamily: Miletinae

 

 

 

36

Spalgis epius (Westwood, 1851)

Apefly

Rare

6

 

Family: Nymphalidae

 

 

 

Subfamily: Danainae

 

 

 

37

Euploea core (Cramer, 1780)

Common Crow

Common

25

 

38

Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Plain Tiger

Very Common

44

 

39

Danaus genutia (Cramer 1779)

Striped Tiger

Common

21

 

Subfamily: Satyrinae

 

 

 

40

Mycalesis perseus (Fabricius, 1775)

Common Bushbrown

Very Common

33

 

41

Melanitis leda (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Evening Brown

Very Common

48

 

42

Elymnias hypermnestra (Linnaeus, 1763)

Common Palmfly

Common

15

 

43

Melanitis phedima (Cramer, 1780)

Dark Evening Brown

Common

19

 

44

Mycalesis mineus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Dark–branded Bushbrown

Common

17

 

Subfamily: Heliconiinae

 

 

 

45

Phalanta phalantha (Drury, 1773)

Common Leopard

Common

19

 

46

Acraea terpsicore (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tawny Coster

Common

18

 

Subfamily: Limenitidinae

 

 

 

47

Euthalia aconthea (Cramer, 1777)

Common Baron

Rare

6

 

48

Neptis hylas (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Sailer

Common

20

 

Subfamily: Biblidinae

 

 

 

49

Ariadne ariadne (Linnaeus, 1763)

Angled Castor

Very Common

33

 

50

Ariadne merione (Cramer, 1777)

Common Castor

Very Common

55

 

Subfamily: Nymphalinae

 

 

 

51

Junonia orithya (Linnaeus, 1758)

Blue Pansy

Common

15

 

52

Junonia iphita (Cramer, 1779)

Chocolate Pansy

Common

17

 

53

Hypolimnas bolina (Linnaeus, 1758)

Great Eggfly

Common

20

 

54

Junonia atlites (Linnaeus, 1763)

Grey Pansy

Very Common

40

 

55

Junonia lemonias (Linnaeus, 1758)

Lemon Pansy

Common

28

 

56

Junonia almana (Linnaeus, 1758)

Peacock Pansy

Common

27

 

Family: Riodinidae

 

 

 

Subfamily: Nemeobiinae

 

 

 

57

Abisara echerius (Stoll, 1790)

Plum Judy

Rare

5

 

WPA, 1972—Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

For figures & images - - click here

 

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