Monitoring butterflies using counts of puddling males: A case study of the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana albescens)

Phon, C.K. and Kirton, L.G. and Norma-Rashid, Y. (2017) Monitoring butterflies using counts of puddling males: A case study of the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana albescens). PLoS ONE, 12 (12). e0189450. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189450

Abstract

The Rajah Brooke's Birdwing, Trogonoptera brookiana, is a large, iconic butterfly that is facing heavy commercial exploitation and habitat loss. Males of some subspecies exhibit puddling behavior. A method of conservation monitoring was developed for subspecies albescens in Ulu Geroh, Peninsular Malaysia, where the males consistently puddle in single-species aggregations at stable geothermal springs, reaching well over 300 individuals when the population is at its highest. Digital photography was used to conduct counts of numbers of males puddling. The numbers of birdwings puddling were significantly correlated with counts of birdwings in flight, but were much higher. The numbers puddling during the peak hour were correlated with numbers puddling throughout the day and could be predicted using the numbers puddling at an alternative hour, enabling flexibility in the time of counts. Average counts for three images taken at each puddle at three peak hours between 1400-1600 hours over 2-3 days were used as a monthly population index. The numbers puddling were positively associated with higher relative humidity and brightness during monitoring hours. Monthly counts of birdwings from monitoring of puddles over a period of two years are presented. The minimum effort required for a monitoring program using counts of puddling males is discussed, as well as the potential of using the method to monitor other species of puddling butterflies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals; Butterflies; Conservation of Natural Resources; Malaysia; Male; Population Density
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Institute of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 04:57
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2018 04:57
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/18996

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