Host plant based ecobiological attributes of a mimetic set of Nymphalids from Taki, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal: A comparative documentation
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Nymphalids, the largest lepidopteran family, is represented by altogether 19 species (37% of the total species abundance) from the present study site Taki, West Bengal, India, with multiple habitat profiles exposed to different anthropogenic interventions. Nymphalidae is reported to be with highest occurrence of mimicry, a naturally selected survival tool for lepidopterans. A nymphalid set, including a model [Plain Tiger: Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758)] and a mimic component [Danaid Eggfly ♀: Hypolimnus misippus (Linnaeus, 1764)] is selected for studying the specific ecological and functional correlation among them in their natural habitat. Their comparative seasonal and habitat wise distribution shows co-existence, the unpalatable model species outnumbering the mimic, the vulnerable target, corresponding to the Batesian mimicry. The wing morphology pattern is significantly shared, though the larval and adult host plants are exclusive and species specific. The year long field observation indicates the existence of considerable degree of similarity with respect to the ecobiological details, like flight pattern, mudpuddling, resting, basking and alternative resource utilisation activities. Species specific unique foraging attributes is observed. Being potential pollinators, they play key role to maintain the wild floral diversity at landscape level. The study bears conservation value towards these nature’s artwork, acting as the biotope indicator.
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