A STUDY ON THE MUD PUDDLING ACTIVITY OF BUTTERFLIES IN ALAGARKOVIL HILLS, MADURAI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA | ¬†UTTAR PRADESH JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY

Butterflies are one of nature’s most amazing species, with an intriguing activity known as puddling. The phrase puddling refers to the supplementation of minerals and salts from mud puddles, faeces, and carrion. The mud puddling activity of lepidopterans has a significant impact on the insects’ nutritional and reproductive health. The purpose of this study is to record the mud puddling activity of butterflies in Alagarkovil Hills, a reserve forest area with rich biodiversity and high anthropogenic activity, and to test soil samples for various minerals and salts to better understand the role of mud puddling in butterfly reproduction. From July 2017 to January 2018, six sites in the Alagarkovil hills were surveyed for butterflies using the transect approach on sunny days between 0800-1600 hrs, three times a week. During the study period, 111 species from six families were documented, with the Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, and Pieridae families being the most likely to display mud puddling. Male butterflies were observed to participate in mud puddling in greater numbers than female butterflies, confirming prior findings. Among the six study sites, the one with the most puddles had the most mud puddling activity. The soil examination of the mud puddling sites revealed the presence of salts such as sodium and potassium, metal ions such as manganese, iron, and copper, and macro elements such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon. The salt and potassium percentages were discovered to be increased, which were stated to be the main elements eaten during mud puddling. The puddling activity was shown to be aided by the soil’s alkaline pH. All of these abiotic elements have an impact on the nutritional and reproductive biology of butterflies, which may be tracked to determine the community state and diversity of butterflies in a given location. The preservation of mud puddling areas may aid in the restoration of the butterfly’s biodiversity index.

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