Butterflies of Satpura Tiger Reserve & Their Ecological Values


Butterflies belong to the order Lepidoptera, which is the second largest order in the class insecta of the phylum Arthropoda meaning jointed-legs. The class of insects has over 8 lakh species out of which around 1 lakh 80 thousand species are in the order Lepidoptera which comprises of moths and butterflies. Lepidoptera are scaly winged insects. Butterflies are classified under suborder Rhopalocera. Worldwide around 17,200 species of butterflies are found (Kunte 2000) and around 1,500 species are found in India (Kehimkar 2008). Butterflies are divided into two super families: Hesperioidea and Papilionoidea. Hesperiodea consists of a single family Hesperiidae (Skippers) and Papilionoidea has four families, namely, Papilionidae (Swallowtails), Pieridae (Whites and Yellows), Nymphalidae (Brushfooted) and Lycaenidae (Blues).

Conservation Values of Butterflies

  • Butterflies form an important component of the nature’s food web for birds, reptiles, spiders and predatory insects.

  • As a result around 95% of individuals from egg to adult stages are destroyed

  • Butterfly populations have experienced major declines over the past few decades as a result of

    • habitat loss and fragmentation
    • loss of native host and nectar plants
    • use of insecticides
    • grazing
    • fires