Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220

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Published online December 9, 2021
https://doi.org/10.1186/s41610-021-00211-z

Journal of Ecology and Environment (2021) 45:32

© The Ecological Society of Korea.

Morphological variables restrict flower choice of Lycaenid butterfly species: implication for pollination and conservation

Subha Shankar Mukherjee1,2 and Asif Hossain2

Department of Zoology, SKB University, Purulia, India; Department of Zoology, The University of Burdwan, Burdwan, India

Correspondence to:Asif Hossain

Received: October 30, 2021; Accepted: November 19, 2021

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Abstract

Background

Butterflies make an important part for plant-pollinator guild. These are nectar feeder or occasionally pollen feeder and thus proboscis of the butterfly species are considered as one of the most important variable in relation to the collection of food from plants. In butterfly-plant association, nectar source is principally determined by quality of nectar, corolla length, and nectar quantity. For the butterfly, nectar uptake is determined by proboscis length because flowers with long corolla restrict butterfly species containing shorter proboscis. Empirical studies proved that butterfly species with high wing loading visit clustered flowers and species with low wing loading confined their visit to solitary or less nectar rich flowers. The present study tries to investigate the flower preference of butterfly species from Lycaenidae family having very short proboscis, lower body length, lower body weight and wing span than the most species belonging from Nymphalidae, Pieridae, Papilionidae, and Hesperiidae.

Results

Butterflies with shorter proboscis cannot access nectar from deeper flower. Although they mainly visit on less deeper flower to sucking nectar, butterflies with high wing loading visits clustered flowers to fulfill their energy requirements. In this study, we demonstrated flower choice of seven butterfly species belonging to Lycanidiae family. The proboscis length maintains a positive relationship with body length and body weight. Body length maintains a positive relationship with body weight and wing span. Wing span indicate a strong positive relationship with body weight. This study proved that these seven butterfly species namely Castalius rosimon (CRN), Taracus nara (TNA), Zizinia otis (ZOT), Zizula hylax (ZHY), Jamides celeno (JCE), Chilades laius (CLA), and Psuedozizeeria maha (PMA) visit frequently in Tridax procumbens (TPR), Ocimum americanum (OAM) and Syndrella nodiflora (SNO). The species do not visit Lantana camara (LCA) and Catharanthus roseus (CRO) plants.

Conclusion

The present study proved that butterfly species visits frequently in Tridax procumbens (TPR), Ocimum americanum (OAM) but less frequently in Syndrella nodiflora (SNO). So, that study determined the butterfly species helps in pollination of these herbs that in turn helps the conservation of these butterfly species.

Keywords: Morphological variables, Butterflies, Conservation, Pollination

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Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220