Journal of Insects

Journal of Insects / 2014 / Article

Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2014 |Article ID 254972 |

Sprih Harsh, "Butterfly Diversity of Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India", Journal of Insects, vol. 2014, Article ID 254972, 4 pages, 2014.

Butterfly Diversity of Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Academic Editor: Rostislav Zemek
Received17 Jul 2014
Revised12 Oct 2014
Accepted16 Nov 2014
Published25 Nov 2014


A study to find out the diversity of butterflies at the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, was carried out over a period of six months from October 2013 to March 2014. A total of 55 butterfly species belonging to 5 families, namely, Hesperiidae (7 species), Papilionidae (4 species), Pieridae (10 species), Lycaenidae (13 species), and Nymphalidae (21 species), were recorded (with photographic record) during the study from three different habitats of campus: open scrub, dry deciduous, and urbanized habitat. Shannon diversity indices and Pielou’s evenness index were calculated for all the habitats. Shannon index was found to be highest for open scrub (3.76). Out of 54 species, Eurema brigitta was the most dominant species followed by Eurema hecabe, Junonia lemonias, and Phalanta phalantha. Dominance of these species can be explained by the presence of their larval and host plants in the campus.

1. Introduction

Butterflies are one of the most conspicuous species of Earth’s biodiversity. Being extremely responsive to any changes in their environment, namely, temperature, humidity, light, and rainfall patterns [14], these insects are identified as useful bioindicators. They have different requirements for different habitat types for mating, breeding, and nectaring and are, thus, in sync with the diversity and quality of their habitats.

The present study aims to examine the diversity and distribution of butterflies across three different habitats, namely, dry deciduous, open scrub, and urbanized habitat. A checklist of butterfly species is also provided.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Study Area

The study was done in Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal (23.208371°N and 77.384417°E), from July 2012 to March 2013. The location of campus, built on a hill at an elevation of about 556 m and surrounded by water on three sides, along with the wide range of climatic conditions that it passes through brings in diverse structure of habitats. The major types of vegetation included grasslands, open scrub forest, and dry deciduous forest and bamboo groves. The study was conducted in 12 transects (each approximately 300 to 500 m long) covering an area of 93-hectare campus.

For our study, transects were divided into three habitats according to general landscape attributes and vegetation present there. The chief habitat types were as follows: (1) open scrub, (2) dry deciduous, and (3) urbanized habitat.

2.2. Butterfly Survey

The survey of butterfly was done using Pollard walk method [5, 6] from 8 am to 10 am. The butterflies were observed within 2.5 meters to the left and right side and five meters in front of the observer. Butterflies were observed, captured, identified, and released immediately at the spot of capture. A butterfly net was used for this purpose. Many of the species were photographed in the wild. The dead specimens, many of them not in very good condition, were kept in butterfly collection boxes. Collecting live specimens was avoided during the study.

2.3. Data Analysis

(A) Shannon Index . Species diversity was calculated using the Shannon Index [8]: Here, is the proportion of the th species in the total sample. The number of species (species richness) in the community and their evenness in abundance (or equitability) are the two parameters that define .

(B) Pielou’s Evenness Index (Equitability) or . The species evenness is the proportion of individuals among the species. Evenness of species indicates their relative abundance on site [8, 9]: Here, is the number of species present in the site.

3. Results

A total of 55 butterfly species with a total of 815 individuals belonging to 5 families were recorded (with photographic record) during the study. The butterfly list along with their abundance in different habitats is given in Table 1. There are 8 species with lowest individual number having abundance less than 5 in all the three habitats. The three most abundant species are Eurema brigitta (with 48 individuals) followed by Eurema hecabe (with 45 individuals) and Junonia lemonias (with 34 individuals). The greatest number of all these three species occurred in open scrub. Out of 55 species, 52 were found in open scrub followed by 49 species in dry deciduous habitat and then 44 species in urbanized habitat. A total of 815 individuals were recorded from the campus with highest abundance in open scrub () followed by dry deciduous habitat () and urbanized habitat (). Out of the five families of butterflies, Nymphalidae were the most commonly recorded, accounting for 38% () of total species recorded followed by Lycaenidae 23% (), Pieridae 10% (), and Hesperiidae 12% () of total species and minimum was recorded for Papilionidae 7% ().

Serial numberNameScientific nameAuthor name of speciesFamilyAbundance

1Common Banded AwlHasora chromus Pieter CramerHesperiidae12
2Malabar Spotted FlatCelaenorrhinus ambareesa Frederic Moore10
3Indian SkipperSpialia galba Johan Christian Fabricius1
4Spotted Small FlatSarangesa purendra Frederic Moore3
5Tricolored Pied FlatColadenia indrani Frederic Moore9
6Bevan’s SwiftPseudobordo bevani Frederic Moore11
7Small Branded SwiftPelopidas mathias Johan Christian Fabricius9

8Common MimeChilasa clytia Carolus LinnaeusPapilionidae10
9Common MormonPapilio polytes Carolus Linnaeus18
10Lime ButterflyPapilio demoleus Carl Linnaeus16
11Crimson RoseAtrophaneura hector Carl Linnaeus9

12Small Grass YellowEurema brigitta Pieter CramerPieridae48
13Common Grass YellowEurema hecabe Carl Linnaeus45
14Spotless Grass YellowEurema laeta Jean Baptise Boisduval32
15Common EmigrantCatopsilia pomona Johan Christian Fabricius11
16Mottled EmigrantCatopsilia pyranthe Carl Linnaeus13
17Plain Orange TipColotis eucharis Johan Christian Fabricius5
18Common WandererPareronia valeria Carl Linnaeus19
19Common GullCepora nerissa Johan Christian Fabricius3
20Common JezebelDelias eucharis Dru Drury2
21PioneerBelenois aurota Johan Christian Fabricius 10

22Guava BlueDeudorix isocrates Johan Christian FabriciusLycaenidae19
23Zebra BlueLeptotes plinius Johan Christian Fabricius7
24Common CeruleanJamides celeno Pieter Cramer27
25Forget Me NotCatochrysops strabo Johan Christian Fabricius22
26Rounded PierrotTarucus nara Arthur Gardiner Butler8
27Dark PierrotTarucus ananda Lionel De Nicéville7
28Dark Grass BlueZizeeria karsandra Frederic Moore21

29Pale Grass BluePseudozizeeria maha Vincenz Kollar11
30Lesser Grass BlueZizina otis Johan Christian Fabricius14
31Tiny Grass BlueZizula hylax Johan Christian Fabricius8
32Gram BlueEuchrysops cnejus Johan Christian Fabricius9
33Small CupidChilades parrhasius Johan Christian Fabricius8
34Lime BlueChilades lajus Pieter Cramer11

35Blue TigerTirumala limniace Pieter CramerNymphalidae22
36Striped TigerDanaus genutia Pieter Cramer21
37Plain TigerDanaus chrysippus Carl Linnaeus23
38Glassy TigerParantica aglea Caspar Stoll24
39Anomalous NawabPolyura agraria Dru Drury6
40Common Evening BrownMelanitis leda Carl Linnaeus29
41Common ThreeringYpthima asterope Klug3
42Common FourringYpthima huebneri Kirby4
43Tawny CosterAcraea violae Carl Linnaeus10

44Common LeopardPhalanta phalantha Dru Drury32
45Common SailerNeptis hylas Carl Linnaeus11
46BaronetEuthalia nais Forster21
47Blue PansyJunonia orithya Carl Linnaeus25
48Yellow PansyJunonia hierta Johan Christian Fabricius11
49Chocolate PansyJunonia iphita Pieter Cramer12
50Grey PansyJunonia atlites Carl Linnaeus9
51Lemon PansyJunonia lemonias Carl Linnaeus34
52Great EggflyHypolimnas bolina Carl Linnaeus19
53Danaid EggflyHypolimnas misippus Carl Linnaeus17
54Autumn LeafDoleschallia bisaltide Pieter Cramer2
55Common CrowEuploea core Pieter Cramer12

Figure 1 shows that proportion of rare species tends to increase from open scrub to dry deciduous to urbanized habitat. The proportion of uncommon species is similar in open scrub and dry deciduous environment while it tends to decrease in urbanized structure. The proportion of common species, on the other hand, indicates a decreasing trend from open scrub to dry deciduous to urbanized environment.

The diversity of butterfly species in three different habitat types in IIFM is presented in Table 2. The open scrub has the greatest species number with 52 species while urbanized habitat ranks lowest with 44 species. The same order follows for abundance and diversity index with highest diversity index for open scrub and least for urbanized habitat and greatest individual numbers for open scrub and least for urbanized environment. The greatest species number of open scrub habitat leads to the high diversity index although it has a lower evenness index than dry deciduous habitat. The evenness index is almost similar in the entire three habitats with the index being highest in dry deciduous habitat where there is not any dominating species with high individual number.

Ecological indicesOpen scrub Dry deciduous habitatUrbanized habitat

Evenness ()0.940.960.93
Species richness ()524944
Total abundance359277179
Shannon-Wiener diversity index ()3.763.743.53

4. Discussion

Fifty-five species of butterflies were documented during the survey. Open scrub, the least disturbed, was found to have the highest species richness followed by dry deciduous habitat and the lowest in urbanized habitat, the most disturbed. These results can be attributed to the presence of host and larval plant species, whose occurrence impacts distribution of butterflies [10]. There are many studies that have shown higher butterfly diversity in disturbed habitat or forest gaps than that in dense forest or closed canopy [1114]. This study, therefore, shows some sort of contradictory results which might be due to different levels of disturbance among these habitats, more in open scrub in terms of human interference in the form of fuel wood gathering, cattle grazing, forest fire, and so forth, but less in urbanized habitat where there are well maintained gardens. These human interferences result in more gaps, edges which provide more light and space, and diversity in plant structure to support more butterfly species than natural forest [3, 13, 15]. The correlation of disturbance and occurrence of butterflies is attributed to the emergence of secondary vegetation like Lantana camera, Eupatorium odoratum, and so forth, which are good food sources for many butterfly species [14].

One important aspect of study is the statistics of common species between different habitats which indicates the beta diversity and how different (or similar) these habitats are in terms of the variety and abundance of species found in them. The open scrub and dry deciduous habitat showed highest number of shared species (47 species), as these areas are relatively more rich in food resources in terms of nectars for butterflies. Species community structure was different among habitats, but rather similar in the open scrub and dry deciduous habitat. Many species of butterflies depend on remnant vegetation or secondary forest for survival, especially in urban areas [15, 16]. So for the conservation of species in human dominated landscape, any institutional campus maintaining high plant diversity and different types of habitats is a good option.

Conflict of Interests

The author declares that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


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Copyright © 2014 Sprih Harsh. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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