Commonly known for tigers amongst wildlife enthusiasts, the Bor Tiger Reserve in the Wardha district, has now earned a new identity. As per the latest reports of a seven-year research, the reserve is now home to 114 species of butterflies of 6 families.
The survey carried out by Ashish Tiple, head of department of zoology with Vidyabharti College, Selu, during 2011-2017 is unique on its own.
Study made on an area of 138.12 sq. km of the Bor reserve states, that the 9 species of the identified 114 are listed under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Taxonomist Tiple said, “Earlier, such studies have been conducted for Tadoba and Pench but record of species has not been updated for a long time. Presence of so many butterfly species (Lepidoptera Rhopalocera) indicate that Bor is a good habitat for these insects.”
Of the 114 species, 35 belong to the Nymphalidae family, 34 to Lycaenidae, 18 each to Hesperiidae and Pieridae, 8 to Papilionidae and 1 to Riodinidae. These observation will help the value of reserve forest areas in providing valuable resources for butterflies. The research was also published by an international biodiversity journal from Italy last month.
Tiple said it was necessary that the research gets recognition.
“Butterflies are important for pollination as they tend to visit different flowers for the nectar feeding, which make them an important unit of environment. These insects are sensitive to environment and are directly affected by changes in habitat, atmospheric temperature, and weather conditions. Their presence is a good indicator of environment,” said Tiple.
Tiple explains that the research was made near the water bodies of the reserve and their neighbouring areas. The species were identified directly in the field, while use of hand-held aerial sweep nets was done, only when necessary and the specimens were released after identification. Butterflies were categorised on the basis of number of sightings.
The research reveals that, majority of the species are not found in places of human influence including gardens, plantations and grasslands. The research also says that occurrence of butterfly species was high from monsoon to early winter but went down on arrival of the summer. The reason was stated as non-availability of nectar and larval host plants and scarcity of water.
The research also advises plantation of indigenous nectar and larval host plants, which are a source of proteins and salts, to increase a healthy and genetically diverse butterfly population.
Information Source: TOI
Title Image Source: treenymph