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Studies on diversity, Distribution and Relative Abundance of Insect Pollinators on Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (Linneaus) in Shimla Hills, Himalaya

Article Information

Mahender Singh Thakur, Aruna Katoch*

Department of Biosciences, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla- 171 005 (HP), India

*Corresponding Author: Aruna Katoch, Department of Biosciences, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla- 171 005 (HP), India

Received: 23 September 2022; Accepted: 11 October 2022; Published: 07 November 2022

Citation: Thakur MS, Katoch A. Studies on diversity, Distribution and Relative Abundance of Insect Pollinators on Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (Linneaus) in Shimla Hills, Himalaya. International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences. 12 (2022): 154-163.

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Abstract

Medicinal plants are highly valuable and most of them depend on insect pollinators for their reproduction. Therefore, it is important to study the insect pollinators of medicinal plants. The present study on diversity and distribution reveals a total of 29 insect pollinators collected on two medicinal plants i.e. Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (Linnaeus) in different localities of Shimla Hills, Himachal Pradesh, India. Of these 29 insect pollinator’s species, 8 species has been collected on Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. belongs to 3 orders i.e. Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Diptera. Whereas 24 species has been recorded and collected on Vinca major (L.) under four orders i.e. Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera and Diptera. Beside diversity and distribution study has also been conducted on the relative abundance studies of insect pollinators on these two medicinal plants. During this study period it has been observed that dipterans were the most abundant insect pollinators of Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. in all the four localities i.e. Dhalli (80%), Kufri (63.41%), IGMC (60.86%) and Fagu (64%), whereas lepidopterans were the most abundant insect pollinators of Vinca major (Linnaeus) at Dhalli (60.76%), Summerhill (58.46%), Chauda Maidan (58.95%), IGMC (57.42%), Kasumpti (63.20%) and Chotta Shimla (63.06%).

Keywords

Diversity; Distribution; Relative abundance; Insect pollinators; Bergenia ciliate; Vinca major

Diversity articles; Distribution articles; Relative abundance articles; Insect pollinators articles; Bergenia ciliate articles; Vinca major articles

Article Details

1. Introduction

Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. (Saxifragaceae) is a high value medicinal plant of the Himalaya. It is a perennial herb with thick, stout, creeping rhizomes. B.ciliata is a threatened species in Nepal due to commercial harvest [1]. Bergenia (Haw.) Sternb. is mainly distributed in Asia, involved in East Asia, the southeastern regions of Central Asia and northern regions of South Asia [2,3]. B.ciliata is commonly known as Pashanabheda (Pashan means rock and bheda means piercing) or Patharchat and is found in Sirmour, Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba and Kinnaur districts of Himachal Pradesh. Bergenia is one of the most important folk medicinal herbs, in China, it is often used for treating cough, stop bleeding, increasing immunity and so on [4]. In India, the rhizomes of Bergenia have been used for centuries in the Ayurvedic formulations to dissolve kidney and bladder stones, abnormal leucorrhea, piles and pulmonary affections [5,6]. Flowering time of Bergenia ciliata is March to April, this provides a valuable alternative to foraging pollinators, when resources start declining and become scare successively in winter.

Another most important medicinal plant of Himachal Pradesh is Vinca major (L.) the big periwinkle which is an evergreen shrub found in lower Himalayan ranges in Asia. In India, V. major (L.) is found in Himalayas near Mussoorie and Shimla, West Bengal and palni hills in Tamil Nadu. V. major is commonly grown ornamental plant in temperate gardens for its evergreen foliage, spring flowers and groundcover or vine use. V. major belongs to the family Apocynaceae (dogbane family) which is an important family of flowering plants that comprises a number of medicinally useful plants. All periwinkles have many medicinal uses and are used for bleeding, diarrhoea, to heal wounds and as an anti-dote to bites by poisonous animals [7]. Flowers of Vinca blooms from April to May. They are purple in colour and attract large number of insect pollinators.

Of the multiple roles that insects play, pollinating flowering plants is a process that is of the utmost importance in terrestrial environments and one which provides vital ecosystem services for human well-being. Diversity of pollinators reduces the risk of lack of pollination in absence of one insect species during critical period of crop flowering. Therefore, the present study was carried out on the diversity, distribution and relative abundance of insect pollinators of medicinal plants (Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (Linnaeus)).

2. Materials and Methods

The present investigation was carried out on diversity, distribution and relative abundance of various insect pollinators of Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (L.) in different localities of Shimla Hills, Himachal Pradesh, India. Shimla is a hilly place situated at an altitude of 2,206 meters and extends between 31°-6° N latitude and 77°-10° E longitude on a transverse spur of northwestern Himalayas. This town has average rainfall of 137.5 to 162.5 cm. In Shimla, during summer season, maximum temperature ranges from 31°C to 33°C and minimum varies between 10°C to 11°C, whereas, in winters maximum temperature lies between 15°C to 18°C and minimum between 0.5°C to 5°. The present studies were conducted during flowering season i.e. from April to May, 2019 and experimental sites where these were conducted are Kufri (2,437 m), Fagu (2,374 m), Dhalli (1,979 m), Kasumpti (1,892 m), Chotta Shimla (2,161 m), Chauda maidan (2,092 m), IGMC (1,877 m) and Summerhill (1,984 m). For collection of different insect pollinators aerial netting method was used. Captured insects were killed by using benzene and preserved as dried specimen into air tight wooden insect cabinets containing powdered naphthalene. Identification of insect pollinators was done with the help of different experts from different parts of country. The relative abundance of different insect pollinators on Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (Linnaeus) were determined in terms of their visit per 500 flowers/10 minutes [8]. The observation was recorded during 0900-1000, 1200-1300 and 1500-1600 hours of a day and average count at these hours give abundance of insect pollinators for that particular day [9]. The relative abundance of different species of pollinators was worked out by using the following formula and expressed in percent.

Relative abundance =

of species

Total number of individual of species A

x 100

Total number of individuals of all species

Similarly family number, family percentage, order number and order percentage were calculated for collected sites under study and the results were interpreted.

3. Results and Discussion

The present insect pollinator’s diversity and distribution studies which were conducted on two medicinal plants revealed that, Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (L.) were visited by 29 species during entire flowering period, which belongs to 4 order and 10 families. Among these 29 species, 8 species has been collected on Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb., belongs to 3 families and 3 orders. Among these 29 species one species of Coleoptera i.e. Coccinella septempunctata of family Coccinellidae, 2 species of Hymenoptera i.e. Apis cerana and Ceratina sp. of family Apidae and 5 species of Diptera i.e. Episyrphus balteatus, Episyrphus viridaureus, Eristalis tenax, Melanostoma orientale and Rhingia laticincta of family Syrphidae were observed (Table 1, Figure 1).

S.NO.

Insect species

Dhalli

Kufri

IGMC

Fagu

1

Coccinella septempunctata (Linnaeus)

-

-

+

+

2

Apis cerana (Fabricius)

+

+

-

+

3

Ceratina sp.

+

+

+

+

4

Episyrphus balteatus (De Geer)

+

+

+

+

5

Episyrphus viridaureus (Wiedemann)

+

+

+

+

6

 Eristalis tenax (Linnaeus)

+

+

+

+

7

Melanostoma orientale (Wiedemann)

+

+

+

+

8

Rhingia laticincta (Brunetti)

-

+

-

-

Table 1: Diversity and distribution of different insect pollinators visiting Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. flowers at different localities of Shimla hills, Himachal Pradesh.

fortune-biomass-feedstock

Figure 1: Insect pollinators foraging on Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. flowers.

During this study period 24 species of insect pollinators has been recorded and collected on Vinca major (L.), belongs to 10 families and 4 orders. Out of these 24 species of insect pollinators, 2 species belongs to Coleoptera

(Coccinella septumpunctata, Oenopia sexareata) of family Coccinellidae, 2 species of Hymenoptera (Bombus haemorrhoidalis, Xylocopa sp.) of family Apidae, 13 species of Lepidoptera (Celastrina huegelii, Celastrina lavendularis, Celastrina sp., Lampides boeticus, Dodona durga, Vanessa indica, Aglais cashmirensis, Pieris brassicae, Pieris canidia, Gonepteryx rhamni neplensis, Celaenorrhinus leucocera, Hyarotis adrastus and Macroglossum pyrrhosticta) of families Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Pieridae, Hesperidae and Sphingidae respectively and 7 species of Diptera (Neoitamus graham, Episyrphus balteatus, Eristalis himalayensis, Eristalis tenax, Melanostoma scalare, Eumerus aurifrons and Tachina ursina) of families Asilidae, Syrphidae and Tachinidae respectively (Table 2, Figure 2).

S.No.

Insect species

Dhalli

Summer Hill

Chauda Maidan

IGMC

Kasumpti

Chotta Shimla

1

Coccinella septumpunctata (Linnaeus)

+

+

+

+

+

+

2

Oenopia sexareata (Mulsant)

+

+

+

-

-

-

3

Bombus haemorrhoidalis (Smith)

+

+

+

+

+

+

4

Xylocopa sp.

+

+

+

+

+

+

5

Celastrina huegelii (Moore)

+

+

+

+

+

+

6

Celastrina lavendularis (Moore)

+

+

+

+

+

+

7

Celastrina sp.

+

+

+

+

+

+

8

Lampides boeticus (Linnaeus)

+

+

+

+

+

+

9

Dodona durga (Kollar)

+

+

+

+

+

+

10

Vanessa indica (Herbst)

+

+

+

+

+

+

11

Aglais cashmirensis (Kollar)

+

+

+

+

+

+

12

Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus)

+

+

+

+

+

+

13

Pieris canidia (Sparrman)

+

+

+

+

+

+

14

Gonepteryx rhamni neplensis (Doubleday)

+

+

+

+

+

+

15

Celaenorrhinus leucocera (Kollar)

+

+

+

+

+

+

16

Hyarotis adrastus (Cramer)

-

-

-

-

-

+

17

Macroglossum pyrrhosticta (Butler)

+

+

+

+

+

+

18

Neoitamus graham (Joseph and Parui)

-

+

+

+

+

-

19

Episyrphus balteatus (De Geer)

+

+

+

+

+

+

20

Eristalis tenax (Linnaeus)

+

+

+

+

+

+

21

Eristalis himalayensis (Brunetti)

-

-

+

-

-

-

22

Melanostoma scalare (Fabricius)

+

+

+

+

+

+

23

Eumerus aurifrons (Wiedemann)

+

-

-

-

-

-

24

Tachina ursina (Meigen)

-

+

-

-

-

-

Table 2: Diversity and distribution of different insect pollinators visiting Vinca major (Linnaeus) flowers at different localities of Shimla hills, Himachal Pradesh.

Present results on pollinator diversity and distribution are in accordance with the earlier observations. For example, Knuth [10] observed many pollinators on genus Vinca i.e. Bombylius discolor, B.major, Anthophora pilipes, Apis mellifica, Bombus agrorum, B. hortorum, B. hypnorum, B. pratorum, B. terrester, B. vestalis, Osmia fusca, O. rufa and thrips. Apis sp., Bombus sp., Andrena sp., Aglais urticae and various dipteran species were recorded on Bergenia flowers in England by Yeo [11]. Pandey et al. [12] reported 3 species of Hymenoptera i.e. Apis cerana, Bombus sp., Vespula sp., 3 species of Diptera i.e. Eristalis tenax, hoverfly, Musca domestica and 2 species of Lepidoptera i.e. Cynthia cardui, Aglais cashmiriensis on Bergenia flowers in East Sikkim. Stevens [13]; Stone [14]; More [15] also observed bees, hawkmoths and other insects pollinators on V. major because of their paired nectaries.

fortune-biomass-feedstock

Figure 2: Insect pollinators foraging on Vinca major (Linnaeus) flowers.

The data pertaining to number of insects visiting Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. and Vinca major (L.) flowers were recorded at regular intervals from 9:00 hour in the morning to 17:00 hour in the evening and average counts at these hours gave abundance of an insect pollinator for that particular day and particular site. Using standard statistical tests their family percentage and order percentage was also determined.

The relative abundance studies which were conducted on insect pollinators of Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. revealed that Episyrphus balteatus was the most abundant insect visitor in four localities i.e. Dhalli (35%), Kufri (17.07%), IGMC (21.73%) and Fagu (24%). Other important dipterans at Dhalli, Kufri, IGMC and Fagu were Eristalis tenax (0.75 ± 0.43, 15%, 1 ± 0.7, 9.75%, 0.5 ± 0.5, 8.69% and 1.25 ± 0.82, 20%), Episyrphus viridaureus (0.5 ± 0.5, 10%, 1.5 ± 0.86, 14.63%, 0.75 ± 0.82, 13.04% and 0.5 ± 0.5, 8%) and Melanostoma orientale (1 ± 0.7, 20%, 1.25 ± 0.82, 12.19%, 1 ± 0.7, 17.39% and 0.75 ± 0.43, 12%) respectively. Rhingia laticincta a dipteran (1 ± 0.7, 9.75%) was also found at Kufri. Among hymenopterans, Apis cerana (0.25 ± 0.43, 5%, 1.5 ± 0.86, 14.63%, 1 ± 0.7, 17.39 and 0.5 ± 0.5, 8%) and Ceratina sp. (0.5 ± 0.5, 10%, 2 ± 0.7, 19.51%, 0.25 ± 0.43, 4.34% and 0.75 ± 0.43, 12%) were also the important pollinators at Dhalli, Kufri, IGMC and Fagu respectively. Coccinella septumpunctata (0.25 ± 0.43, 5%, 0.25 ± 0.43, 2.43%, 1 ± 0.7, 17.39% and 1 ± 0.7, 16%) was the only coleopteran pollinator at Dhalli, Kufri, IGMC and Fagu respectively. Based on present studies it is suggested that dipterans were the most abundant insect pollinators of Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. at Dhalli (80%), IGMC (60.86%), Kufri (63.41%) and Fagu (64%) (Table 1,3).

Table icon

Table 3: Relative abundance of different insect pollinators visiting Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb. flowers from different localities of Shimla hills.

Table icon

Table 4: Relative abundance of different insect pollinators visiting Vinca major (Linnaeus) flowers from different localities of Shimla hills.

While studying the relative abundance of insect pollinators on Vinca major (L.) it has been reported that Coccinella septumpunctata, Episyrphus balteatus and Gonepteryx rhamni neplensis were the most abundant pollinators of Vinca major (Linnaeus) at 6 localities i.e. Dhalli (2.25 ± 0.82, 6.61%, 2.25 ± 0.43, 6.61% and 2.25 ± 0.43, 6.61%), Summerhill (2.5 ± 0.86, 7.69%, 2.5 ± 0.86, 7.69% and 3 ± 1.08, 9.23%), Chauda Maidan (2.25 ± 0.82, 6.71%, 2.75 ± 0.55, 8.20% and 2.5 ± 0.5, 7.46%), IGMC (2.25 ± 0.82, 8.91%, 2.75 ± 0.55, 10.89% and 2.5 ± 0.5, 9.90%), Kasumpti (2 ± 0.7, 7.54%, 2.5 ± 1.11, 9.43% and 1.75 ± 0.82, 6.60%) and Chotta Shimla (2 ± 0.7, 7.20%, 2.5 ± 0.86, 9.00% and 2.75 ± 0.55, 9.90%) respectively. Among them other important insect pollinators i.e. Celastrina huegelii (1.75 ± 0.43, 5.14%, 2.25 ± 0.82, 6.92%, 1.75 ± 0.82, 5.22%, 1.5 ± 0.5, 5.94%, 2.25 ± 0.86, 8.49% and 1.25 ± 0.43, 4.50%), Lampides boeticus (2 ± 0.7, 5.88%, 1.75 ± 0.82, 5.38%, 2 ± 0.7, 5.97%, 1 ± 0.7, 3.96%, 1.5 ± 0.86, 5.66% and 1.75 ± 0.75, 6.30%) Dodona durga (2.25 ± 0.86, 6.61%, 1.75 ± 0.82, 5.38%, 2.25 ± 0.86, 6.71%, 1.25 ± 0.43, 4.95%, 1.25 ± 0.43, 4.71% and 1.5 ± 0.86, 5.40%) and Pieris brassicae (1.25 ± 0.82, 3.67%, 1.5 ± 0.5, 4.61%, 2.25 ± 0.82, 6.71%, 1.75 ± 0.43, 6.93%, 1.5 ± 0.86, 8.49% and 1.75 ± 0.43, 6.30%) were also recorded at Dhalli, Summerhill, Chauda maidan, IGMC, Kasumpti and Chotta Shimla respectively. Based on these studies it is suggested that lepidopterans, dipterans and coleopterans were the most abundant insect pollinators of Vinca major) (Linnaeus) at Dhalli (60.76%, 26.15% and 8.46%), Summerhill (58.46%, 27.69% and 9.23%), Chauda Maidan (58.95%, 25.37% and 8.95%), IGMC (57.42%, 26.73% and 10.89%), Kasumpti (63.20%, 22.64% and 9.43%) and Chotta Shimla (63.06%, 22.52% and 9.00%) respectively. Whereas hymenopterans were the least abundant pollinator on this medicinal plant in all six localities i.e. Dhalli (4.61%), Summerhill (4.61%), Chauda Maidan (6.71%), IGMC (4.95%), Kasumpti (4.71%) and Chotta Shimla (5.40%) (Table 2,4,5).

Very few studies on relative abundance of these two medicinal plants have been found but reports on other medicinal plants are available which are in accordance with the above studies. Gupta and Thakur [6] observed pollinators Apis mellifera and Apis cerana indica on the flowers of Rubus ellipticus at Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India. Apis mellifera constitue 73% of total insects during the day than Apis cerana indica, other hymenopterans, dipterans and lepidopterans. Ghazoul [5] recorded 2,952 visits of insect pollinators on Raphanus raphanistrum. The most common pollinators accounting for 61% of flower visitors were bees with the hoverflies accounting for about 38% of flower visitors. But occasional visits to flowers by butterflies (Pieris brassicae) and sphecid or eumenid wasps accounted for the remaining 1%. Sixteen species of solitary bees belonging to 4 families of order Hymenoptera visited Cassia fistula flowers was recorded by Mattu and Kumar [9]. Diversity and relative abundance data on Cassia bloom showed that Xylocopa fenestrata was the most dominant bee pollinator at both Nahan (31.65%) and Arki (27.05%). Apis sp. were maximum on Brassica juncea (L.), representing 74.52% of the total pollinators as founded by Das and Jha [3], whereas A. mellifera (35.18%) was also dominant sequentially followed by A. cerana indica (23.11%), A. dorsata (12.00%) and A. florea (4.23%). Considerably the dipteran flies also visited the crop (21.25%) of which, the Syrphids were most common.interpreted.

Table icon

Table 5:  Relative abundance of insect pollinators visiting Vinca major (Linnaeus) flowers from different localities of Shimla Hills.

4. Conclusion

From the above study it has been recorded that the Bergenia and Vinca flowers were highly attractive to wide variety of insects. Coleopterans, hymenopterans, dipterans and lepidopterans were the main insect orders which visit these medicinally important plants. Among all the insect pollinators, dipterans especially Episyrphus balteatus was the most abundant insect visitor on Bergenia. Whereas in Vinca, lepidopterans were the dominant flower visitors followed by dipterans, coleopterans and hymenopterans.

Acknowledgements:

We are grateful to Dr. Kailash Chandra Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata for his cooperation for providing the facilities for identification. Thanks are due to Scientists who are heading various division of Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata for confirming the status of few species. Thanks are also due to the other scientists of ZSI, Kolkata for their cooperation.

Conflicts of Interest:

The author declares no conflict of interest in the publication of this work.

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