Archive \ Volume.8 2019 Issue 2

The Importance of Nature (Length) of Proboscis in Hesperiidae Butterflies

Vitthalrao B. Khyade
Abstract

Different insects have adapted themselves to different modes of ingestion of food. The feeding in butterflies is analogous to inserting a straw into a drink to withdraw fluid. Modifications in the parts around mouth in butterflies appear to be the most significant feature in their life. Most of the butterflies feed on floral nectars. Butterflies, therefore may have a role as efficient pollinators for respective host plants. Development of long proboscis as modified mouth parts in butterflies has been regarded as an example of co-evolutionary line in animal kingdom. The Hesperiidae butterflies of Mayureshwar Wildlife sanctuary have shown variations in their length  of proboscis. The hesperiidae butterflies with longer proboscis visit plant species having flowers with long or deep-tube. Hesperiidae butterfly proboscis helps to take up nectar food from long or deep tubed as well as short tubed flowers. The hesperiidae butterflies with extremely long proboscis in present attempt were observed to obtain the nectar from their preferred host plants. The Calathea species have been reported as nectar host plants for the Hesperiidae butterflies of Mayureshwar Wildlife sanctuary. The Hesperiidae butterflies of Mayureshwar Wildlife sanctuary have shown not to be contributed for pollination. Species of skipper butterflies (family: Hesperiidae) with long proboscis could potentially utilize short flowers in addition to long flowers. It was expected that, the number of flowering species visited by skipper butterflies (family: Hesperiidae) would be greater than that of species skipper butterflies (family: Hesperiidae) with short proboscis. The data in the present attempt supported the hypothesis. The skipper butterflies (family: Hesperiidae) with extremely long-proboscis, generally did not visit flowers with short nectar spurs.  Both Lantana camera (L) (Family: Verbenaceae) and Stachytarpheta frantzii (L) (Family: Verbenaceae) attracted many different flower-visiting insects. This was because, the flowers of Lantana camera (L) (Family: Verbenaceae) and Stachytarpheta frantzii (L) (Family: Verbenaceae) were easily accessible. These flowers have been continuously exploited by a great variety of butterfly species possessing rather short proboscis. The skipper butterflies (family: Hesperiidae) with long-proboscis were crowded out to deep-tubed flowers.


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