Butterfly diversity in human-modified ecosystems of southern Sikkim, the eastern Himalaya, India

Main Article Content

Prem Kumar Chettri
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6331-3002
Kishor Sharma
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5650-0483
Sailendra Dewan
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2730-6910
Bhoj Kumar Acharya
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3936-1682

Abstract

Understanding wild biodiversity of agroecosystems and other human dominated landscapes are crucial for the management and conservation of biological resources.  Here, we studied the diversity, abundance, similarity and functionality of butterflies in different human modified ecosystems in southern Sikkim, the Eastern Himalaya.  The study was conducted from January 2015 to May 2015 by covering three habitat types namely, farm-based agroforestry, large cardamom-based agroforestry and adjacent natural forest ecosystem.  We followed point count method along the transect to collect data on butterflies in the study area.  A total of 911 individual butterflies representing six families and 44 species were recorded during the present study in southern Sikkim.  Species richness and abundances of butterflies were significantly different among the systems.  While diversity and abundance were higher in forest patches, each system harbored unique species assemblages with low similarity between habitats.  The information on larval host plants were available for 41 butterfly species which depended on 128 plant species belonging to 27 families.  The butterfly community was dominated by oligophagous II (19 species) followed by polyphagous (11 species), monophagous (8 species) and oligophagous I (3 species). Similarly, generalist feeders had higher species and abundance compared to specialist feeders. Specialist species were confined to forest habitat, whereas generalist species were mostly restricted to cultivated systems.  The findings of the study highlighted the need for conservation of traditionally managed agroecosystems in order to conserve butterflies and other associated biodiversity.

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Chettri, P.K., Sharma, K., Dewan, S. and Acharya, B.K. 2018. Butterfly diversity in human-modified ecosystems of southern Sikkim, the eastern Himalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 10, 5 (Apr. 2018), 11551–11565. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3641.10.5.11551-11565.
Section
Articles
Author Biographies

Prem Kumar Chettri, Department of Zoology, School of Life Sciences, Sikkim University, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim 737102, India Present address: Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim, Deorali, Sikkim 737102, India

Prem K.Chettri holds M.Sc. (Zoology) from Sikkim University and currently works at the Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim. He has a keen interest on biodiversity of Sikkim Himalaya with special focus on butterflies and plants.

Kishor Sharma, Department of Zoology, School of Life Sciences, Sikkim University, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim 737102, India

Kishor Sharma is a Ph.D. Scholar at the Department of Zoology, Sikkim University. His research interests are to understand the diversity and distribution patterns of birds and butterflies in the agroecosystem-forest gradient of Sikkim Himalaya.

Sailendra Dewan, Department of Zoology, School of Life Sciences, Sikkim University, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim 737102, India

Sailendra Dewan is a Ph.D. Scholar at the Department of Zoology, Sikkim University. His research focuses on distribution pattern and phylogeny of butterflies along elevation gradients in the Sikkim Himalaya.

Bhoj Kumar Acharya, Department of Zoology, School of Life Sciences, Sikkim University, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim 737102, India

Bhoj Kumar Acharya is a faculty in the Department of Zoology, Sikkim University, Gangtok. His research interests are to understand the large-scale ecological patterns with particular emphasis on species richness, abundance and distribution patterns along ecological gradients in the Himalayas.

References

Acharya, B.K., N. Sanders, L. Vijayan & B. Chettri (2011). Elevational gradients in bird diversity in the eastern Himalaya: an evaluation of distribution patterns and their underlying mechanisms. PLoS ONE 6:e29097;

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0029097

Acharya, B.K. & G. Sharma (2013). Forests and biodiversity in Sikkim, pp. 42–70. In: Kharel, S. & J. Bhutia (eds.). Gazetteer of Sikkim. Home Department, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok.

Acharya, B.K. & L. Vijayan (2015). Butterfly diversity along the elevation gradient of eastern Himalaya, India. Ecological Research 30(5): 909–919; http://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-015-1292-0

Altieri, M.A. (1999). The ecological role of biodiversity in agroecosystems. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 74(1): 19–31; http://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-8809(99)00028-6

Barlow, J., T.A. Gardner, I.S. Araujo, T.C. Ãvila-Pires, A.B. Bonaldo, J.E. Costa, M.C. Esposito, L.V. Ferreira, J. Hawes, M.I.M. Hernandez, M.S. Hoogmoed, R.N. Leite, N.F. Lo-Man-Hung, J.R. Malcolm, M.B. Martins, L.A.M. Mestre, R. Miranda-Santos, A.L. Nunes-Gutjahr, W.L. Overal, L. Parry, S.L. Peters, M.A. Ribeiro-Junior, M.N.F. da Silva, C. da Silva Motta & C.A. Peres (2007). Quantifying the biodiversity value of tropical primary, secondary, and plantation forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(47): 18555–18560;

http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0703333104

Barua, K.K. (2007). Diversity and habitat selection of Papilionidae in a protected forest reserve in Assam, Northeast India. Doctoral thesis. University of Gottingen, Gottingen, Germany, 273pp.

Barua, K.K., J. Slowik, K.S. Bobo & M. Muehlenberg (2010). Correlations of rainfall and forest type with papilionid assemblages in Assam in northeast India. Psyche 2010: 1–10; http://doi.org/10.1155/2010/560396

Bhardwaj, M., V.P. Uniyal, A.K. Sanyal & A.P Singh (2012). Butterfly communities along an elevational gradient in the Tons valley, Western Himalayas: Implications of rapid assessment for insect conservation. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology 15(2): 207–217; http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aspen.2011.12.003

Bhutia, D.T. (2015). Sikkim Organic Mission “Journey of a fully organic stateâ€. Department of Food Security & Agriculture Development and Horticulture and Cash Crops Development, Government of Sikkim, 287pp.

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; http://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(96)00056-0

Bobo, K.S., M.Waltert, H. Fermon, J. Njokagbor & M. Mühlenberg (2006). From forest to farmland: Butterfly diversity and habitat associations along a gradient of forest conversion in Southwestern Cameroon. Journal of Insect Conservation 10(1): 29–42;

http://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-005-8564-x

Bora, A. & L.R. Meitei (2014). Butterfly fauna (Order: Lepidoptera) in five major tea gardens of Sivasagar District, Assam, India. Biological Forum - An International Journal 6(2): 7–15.

Börschig, C., A.M Klein, H. von Wehrden & J. Krauss (2013). Traits of butterfly communities change from specialist to generalist characteristics with increasing land-use intensity. Basic and Applied Ecology 14(7): 547–554;

http://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2013.09.002

Chettri, N. (2010). Cross-taxon congruence in a trekking corridor of Sikkim Himalaya: Surrogate analysis for conservation planning. Journal for Nature Conservation 18: 75–88; http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2009.03.003

Chettri, N. (2015). Distribution of butterflies along a trekking corridor in the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Sikkim, Eastern Himalayas. Conservation Science 3(1): 1–10; http://doi.org/10.3126/cs.v3i1.13767

Chettri, N., B. Shakya, R. Thapa & E. Sharma (2008). Status of a protected area system in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas: An analysis of PA coverage. The International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 4(3): 164–178; http://doi.org/10.3843/Biodiv.4.3:4

Colwell, R.K. (2013). EstimateS: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from sample (Version 9.1.0). User guide and application available at http://viceroy.eeb.uconn.edu/estimates/

Colwell, R.K. & J.A. Coddington (1994). Estimating terrestrial biodiversity through extrapolation. Philosophical transactions of Royal Society London B: Biological Sciences 345: 101–118.

Conservation International (2017). Hotspots. Targeted investment in nature’s most important places. Conservation International. Downloaded from http://www.conservation.org Accessed on 15 September 2017.

Das, M., H. Mishra & J. Saikia (2016). Diversity and species richness of butterfly in an Agri-Horti habitat in Assam, India. The Bioscan 11(2): 801–805.

Dolia, J., M.S. Devy, N.A. Aravind & A. Kumar (2008). Adult butterfly communities in coffee plantations around a protected area in the Western Ghats, India. Animal Conservation 11(1): 26–34; http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2007.00143.x

Ekroos, J., J. Heliölä & M. Kuussaari (2010). Homogenization of Lepidopteran communities in intensively cultivated agricultural landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology 47(2): 459–467; http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01767.x

Fitzherbert, E., T. Gardner, T.R.B. Davenport & T. Caro (2006). Butterfly species richness and abundance in the Katavi ecosystem of western Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology 44(3): 353–362; http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2028.2006.00655.x

Francesconi, W., P.K.R. Nair, D.J. Levey, J. Daniels & L. Cullen (2013). Butterfly distribution in fragmented landscapes containing agroforestry practices in Southeastern Brazil. Agroforestry Systems 87(6): 1321–1338; http://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-013-9640-y

Haribal, M. (1992). The Butterflies of Sikkim Himalaya and their natural history. Sikkim Nature Conservation Foundation, Gangtok, 217pp.

Herrando, S., L. Brotons, M. Anton, F. Páramo, D. Villero, N. Titeux, Q. Javier & C. Stefanescu (2016). Assessing impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean biodiversity using indicators based on bird and butterfly monitoring data. Environmental Conservation 43(1): 69–78; http://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-8809(99)00028-6

Hooper, D.U., F.S. Chapin III, J.J. Ewel, A. Hector, P. Inchausti, S. Lavorel, J.H. Lawton, D.M Lodge, M. Loreau, S. Naeem, B. Schmid, H. Setälä, A.J. Symstad, J. Vandermeer & D.A. Wardle (2005). Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: A Consensus of current knowledge. Ecological Monographs 75(1): 3-35; http://doi.org/10.1890/04-0922

Horner-Devine, M.C., G.C. Daily, P.R. Ehrlich & C.L. Boggs (2003). Countryside biogeography of tropical butterflies. Conservation Biology 17(1): 168-177; http://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.01310.x

Kehimkar, I. (2008). The Book of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, Mumbai, 497pp.

Kitahara, M. (2004). Butterfly community composition and conservation in and around a primary woodland of Mount Fuji, central Japan. Biodiversity and Conservation 13(5): 917–942; http://doi.org/10.1023/B:BIOC.0000014462.83594.58

Kitahara, M., M. Yumoto & T. Kobayashi (2008). Relationship of butterfly diversity with nectar plant species richness in and around the Aokigahara primary woodland of Mount Fuji, central Japan. Biodiversity and Conservation 17(11): 2713–2734; http://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-007-9265-4

Kollmair, M., G.S. Gurung, K. Hurni & D. Maselli (2005). Mountains: Special places to be protected? An analysis of worldwide nature conservation efforts in mountains. International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 1: 1–9; http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2007.00143.x

Kremen, C., N.M. Williams & R.W. Thorp (2002). Crop pollination from native bees at risk from agricultural intensification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99(26): 16812–16816; http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.262413599

Kunte, K.J. (1997). Seasonal patterns in butterfly abundance and species diversity in four tropical habitats in northern Western Ghats. Journal of Biosciences 22(5): 593–603; http://doi.org/10.1007/BF02703397

Kunte, K. (2000). Butterflies of Peninsular India. Universities Press (Hyderabad) and Indian Academy of Sciences (Bangalore), 272pp.

Kunte, K., A. Joglekar, U. Ghate & P. Pramod (1999). Patterns of butterfly, birds and tree diversity in the Western Ghats. Current Science 77(4): 577–586.

Kunte, K., S. Sondhi & P. Roy (2017). Butterflies of India, version 2.28. Indian Foundation for Butterflies, http://www.ifoundbutterflies.org/ Accessed on 5 July 2017.

Lal, R. (2004). Agricultural activities and the global carbon cycle. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 70(2): 103–116; http://doi.org/10.1023/B:FRES.0000048480.24274.0f

Lien, V.V. & D. Yuan (2003). The differences of butterfly (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea) communities in habitats with various degrees of disturbance and altitudes in tropical forests of Vietnam. Biodiversity and Conservation 12(6): 1099–1111; http://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023038923000

Magurran, A.E. & B.J. McGill (2011). Biological Diversity: Frontiers in Measurement and Assessment. Oxford University Press, 368pp.

Mas, A.H. & T.V. Dietsch (2003). An index of management intensity for coffee agroecosystems to evaluate butterfly species richness. Ecological Applications 13(5): 1491–1501; http://doi.org/10.1890/01-5229

Mayfield, M.M., M.E. Boni, G.C. Daily & D. Ackerly (2005). Species and functional diversity of native and human-dominated plant communities. Ecology 86(9): 2365–2372; http://doi.org/10.1890/05-0141

Meehan T.D., J. Glassberg & C. Gratton (2012). Butterfly community structure and landscape composition in agricultural landscapes of the central United States. Journal of Insect Conservation 17(2): 411–419; http://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-012-9523-y

Mone, S., K.M. Kusha, D. Jathanna, M. Ali & A. Goel (2014). Comparison of insect biodiversity between organic and conventional plantations in Kodagu, Karnataka, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(9): 6186–6194; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3778.6186-94

Montagnini, F. & P.K.R. Nair (2004). Carbon sequestration: An underexploited environmental benefit of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry Systems 61(1): 281–395; http://doi.org/10.1023/B:AGFO.0000029005.92691.79

Nandakumar, M.K., V.V Sivan, J.P Joseph, M.M Jithin & M.K.R. Narayanan (2015). Butterfly species diversity and abundance in Manikkunnumala forest of Western Ghats, India. International Journal of Advanced Research 3(1): 206–211.

Norris, K. (2008). Agriculture and biodiversity conservation: opportunity knocks. Conservation Letters 1(1): 2–11; http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00007.x

Pielou, E.C. (1969). An Introduction to Mathematical Ecology. Wiley, New York, 286pp.

Pimentel, D., U. Stachow, D.A. Takacs, H.W. Brubaker, A.R. Dumas, J.J. Meaney, J.A.S. O’Neil, D.E. Onsi & D.B. Corzilius (1992). Conserving biological diversity in agricultural/forestry systems. BioScience 42: 354–362; http://doi.org/10.2307/1311782

Posa, M.R.C. & N.S. Sodhi (2006). Effects of anthropogenic land use on forest birds and butterflies in Subic Bay, Philippines. Biological Conservation 129: 256–270; http://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2005.10.041

Perfecto, I., A. Mas, T. Dietsch & J. Vandermeer (2003). Conservation of biodiversity in coffee agroecosystems: a tri-taxa comparison in southern Mexico. Biodiversity and Conservation 12: 1239–1252; http://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023039921916

Pollard, E. (1977). A method for assessing changes in the abundance of butterflies. Biological Conservation 12: 116–134; http://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(77)90065-9

Primack, R.B. (2014). Essentials of Conservation Biology. Sinauer Asssociates, Inc., Publishers Sunderland, Massachusetts, USA, 603pp.

Rai, S., K.D. Bhutia & K. Kunte (2012). Recent sightings of two very rare butterflies, Lethe margaritae Elwes, 1882 and Neptis nycteus de Nicéville, 1890, from Sikkim, eastern Himalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4(14): 3319–3326; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2965.3319-26

Schulze, C.H., I. Steffan-Dewenter & T. Tscharntke (2004a). 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.

Schulze, C.H., M. Waltert, P.J.A. Kessler, R. Pitopang, D. Veddeler, M. Mühlenberg, S.R. Gradstein, C. Leuschner, I. Steffan-Dweneter & T. Tscharntke (2004b). Biodiversity indicator groups of tropical land-use systems: comparing plants, birds, and insects. Ecological Applications 14(5): 1321–1333; http://doi.org/10.1890/02-5409

Schulze, C.H., S. Schneeweihs & K. Fiedler (2010). The potential of land-use systems for maintaining tropical forest butterfly diversity, pp. 73–96. In: Tscharntke, T., C. Leuschner, E. Veldkamp, H. Faust, E. Guhardja, & A. Bidin (eds.). Tropical Rainforests and Agroforests under Global Change: Ecological and Socio-economic Valuations. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Sengupta, P. & N. Ghorai (2013). On the plant-butterfly interaction in the surroundings of the upper Neora Valley National Park, a sub-tropical broad leaved hill forest in the eastern Himalayan landscape of West Bengal, India. NEBIO 4(4): 21–30.

Sengupta, P., K.K. Banerjee & N. Ghorai (2014). Seasonal diversity of butterflies and their larval food plants in the surroundings of upper Neora Valley National Park, a sub-tropical broad leaved hill forest in the eastern Himalayan landscape, West Bengal, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(1): 5327–5342; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3446.5327-42

Sethy, J., S. Behera & N.S. Chauhan (2014). Species diversity of butterflies in south-eastern part of Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Asian Journal of Conservation Biology 3(1): 75–82.

Shahabuddin, G. & R. Ali (2001). Impacts of land use change on forest butterfly communities in the Western Ghats of Southern India. Journal of Tropical Forest Science 13(3): 434–449.

Shannon, C.E. & W. Weaver (1949). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. The University of Illinois Press, Illinois, 144pp.

Sharma, G. (2009). Agro-ecological diversity, ecosystem services and impacts of climate change in the Indigenous Farming Systems of the Sikkim Himalayas. Journal of Hill Research 22(2): 68–85.

Sharma, G. & B.K. Acharya (2013). Agriculture systems and management diversity, pp. 225–259. In: Kharel, S., & J. Bhutia (eds.). Gazetteer of Sikkim. Gangtok, Sikkim: Home Department, Government of Sikkim.

Sharma, G., U. Partap, E. Sharma, G. Rasul & R.K. Avasthe (2016). Agrobiodiversity in the Sikkim Himalaya: sociocultural significance, status, practices, and challenges. ICIMOD Working Paper. Kathmandu: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Shrestha, U. B., S. Shrestha, P. Chaudhary & R.P. Chaudhary (2010). How representative is the protected areas system of Nepal? Mountain Research and Development 30(3): 282–294; http://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-10-00019.1

Singh, A.P. (2010). Butterfly diversity in tropical moist deciduous Sal forests of Ankua Reserve Forest, Koina Range, Saranda Division, West Singhbhum District, Jharkhand, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2(9): 1130–1139; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2274.1130-9

Singh, A.P. (2017). Butterflies associated with major forest types in Arunachal Pradesh (Eastern Himalaya), India: Implications for ecotourism and conservation planning. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(4): 10047–10075; http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2765.9.4

Sondhi, S., K. Kunte, G. Agavekar, R. Lovalekar & K. Tokekar (2013). Butterflies of the Garo Hills. Samrakshan Trust, New Delhi, Titli Trust, Dehradun, and Indian Foundation for Butterflies, Bengaluru, 200pp.

Sondhi, S. & K. Kunte (2016). Butterflies (Lepidoptera) of the Kameng Protected Area Complex, western Arunachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(8): 9053–9124; http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2984.8.8.9053-9124

Steffan-Dewenter, I. & T. Tscharntke (1997). Early succession of butterfly and plant communities on set-aside fields. Oecologia 109: 294–302; http://doi.org/10.1007/s004420050087

Tiple, A.D. (2012). Butterfly species diversity, relative abundance and status in Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, Central India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4(7): 2713–2717; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2656.2713-7

Tscharntke, T., A.M. Klein, A. Kruess, I. Steffanâ€Dewenter & C. Thies (2005). Landscape perspectives on agricultural intensification and biodiversity - ecosystem service management. Ecology Letters 8(8): 857–874; http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00782.x

Uniyal, V.P. (2004). Butterflies of Nanda Devi National Park - a World heritage site. The Indian Forester 130(7): 800–804.

Uniyal, V.P. (2007). Butterflies in the Great Himalayan Conservation Landscape in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalaya. Entomon 32(2): 119–127.

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

Venter, O., R.A. Fuller, D.B. Segan, J. Carwardine, T. Brooks, S.H.M. Butchart & J.E.M. Watson (2014). Targeting global protected area expansion for imperiled biodiversity. PLoS Biology 12(6): e100189;

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001891

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: 15–22; http://doi/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2008.00498.x

Vu, L.V. (2013). The effect of habitat disturbance and altitudes on the diversity of butterflies (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) in a tropical forest of Vietnam: results of a long-term and large-scale study. Russian Entomological Journal 22(1): 51–65.

World Bank (2017). Agriculture land (% of land area). The World Bank, Washington, DC. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.AGRI.ZS accessed on 27 September 2017.

Wynter-Blyth, M.A (1957). Butterflies of the Indian Region. The Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay, India, 523pp.