Diversity and community structure of butterflies in someshwara wildlife sanctuary, Karnataka, India
Manisha N Kulkarni, Swapnesh S Rangnekar
The present study was carried out with a view to generate quantitative data about the butterfly population across Someshwara wildlife sanctuary, thereby leading to their conservation. The sanctuary is a mixture of semi-evergreen and evergreen forest; is a part of Western Ghat located in Udupi district of Karnataka (between 13°29' to 13°37' N latitude and 74°50’ to 75°05’ E longitude). This 88.4 sq. km forest was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1974. A preliminary data collection was done for one year by frequently visiting the park in pre-monsoon (April - May) and post-monsoon seasons (November - December). Here we report a total count of 130 species of butterflies. They definitely are a significant contributor in local food chain. A few species have also been categorized under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The authors expect that the species richness would probably be around 150 - 200. The probable constrain has been very little information available on these creatures of the said less popular area and very few localized studies on their population and seasonal occurrence. The forest has a potential to serve as a butterfly diversity hotspot, on the grounds similar to North Eastern evergreen forests of India. The current baseline study certainly underlines the importance of the sanctuary as an important reserve for butterfly conservation. The study will work as a ground work for further research. It will certainly help the local policy makers to develop certain policies for conservation of these life forms and protect the whole environment.