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Abstract

Butterflies represent one of the most popular and readily identifiable insect taxa. The annual migration of Appias spp. (Albatross butterflies) is common in the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary (AWS), India. During migration, the butterflies moving along the stream course often settle down in masses across a mud-puddling site. This study sheds light on the multifaceted interplay between soil parameters and the mud-puddling aggregation behavior observed in Albatross butterflies within the AWS. The results revealed no significant differences in most soil nutrients between the mud-puddling sites (MS) and control sites (CS). However, the moisture content and available sodium content were significantly greater in the MS treatment (p = 0.0003 and p = 0.002, respectively). Hence, more moisture (avg_35.95% in MS than avg_0.99% in CS) and more sodium (avg_34 mg/kg in MS than avg_15.11 mg/kg in CS) were found to play significant roles in the behavior of certain species, such as A. albina, A. wardii, and A. lyncida. The majority of the tested soil parameters exhibited weak correlations with the density of butterflies (the r values of pH, moisture, N, C, S, Cu, Cd, Zn and Mn were -0.48, -0.59, -0.35, -0.30, -0.36, +0.16, -0.18, -0.18 and -0.005, respectively). Notably, sodium and potassium were the sole minerals exhibiting a strong positive correlation with the density of mud-puddling Appias spp. (r = +0.78 and r = +0.77, respectively), emphasizing the significance of sodium and potassium in shaping the density of Albatrosses engaged in mud-puddling behavior. Many butterflies employ visual cues to locate these resources. Hence, this study also explored the preference of Appias spp. for conspecific paper decoys for directing butterflies to puddle sites. The presence of conspecific decoys noticeably drew butterflies, underscoring the significance of visual cues in butterfly behavior. Additional studies in this domain could enhance our understanding of butterfly ecology and the mechanisms governing their decision-making processes.

Keywords

Albatross butterflies Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Butterfly mud-puddling Mud-puddling aggregation Soil nutrient compositions Visual cues

Article Details

How to Cite
Athamanakath, J., Moorchilot , V. S., Raveendran, L., V.P., S., & Jayakumar, S. (2024). Preliminary investigation into mud-puddling behavior in Appias spp. (Albatross Butterflies) at Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, India. Environment Conservation Journal, 25(2), 500–508. https://doi.org/10.36953/ECJ.25752732

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