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Puddling Behaviour and Diversity of Butterflies in Barra Honda National Park in Costa Rica

Puddling Behaviour and Diversity of Butterflies in Barra Honda National Park in Costa Rica

By Marsha Jacobs

Butterflies feed themselves with flowers, pollen, mud, carrion, dung, fruit, fungi, tree sap, fruit juice, blood, sweat and tears. The main function of puddling is not to obtain energy but is a form of supplementary feeding for special micronutrients. This fact challenged me to investigate that in Barra Honda National Park in Costa Rica. I wasthere for my internship (February 2012 until June 2012) to study Applied Biology.

In the past, there has been some research focusing on butterflies in Barra Honda National in Costa Rica. The butterflies were captured by using traps and an attractant of rotten banana and pineapple. The main goal of these studies was to develop a theory about the composition of species and the distribution and characteristics of the butterflies in Barra Honda National Park. That is why the data collected is still being reviewed. Butterfly traps are used to investigate the puddling behavior of butterflies. For the research described in the paper the main research question is: With what attractant can you attract a particular butterfly species, and what is the distribution of butterfly species in Barra Honda National Park?

The research question is answered using butterfly traps. Two different types of attractant are used, namely fish combined with salt and dung from cows. Three different research areas were chosen; near the border of the park, near the public area, and into the forest. Comparisons are made between the research areas in order to see the different effects of research areas on the butterfly species. Four butterfly species and one moth species were captured when using the attractant fish combined with salt and dung of cows. The moth species originate from the Spingidae family. This is an important species for the National Park as it is a major pollinator. Nevertheless, the butterfly species (Smirna blomfilda datis, Hamadryas glauconome glauconome and Adelpha doxocopa) are also of great importance for the biodiversity in the National Park.

Based on prior research (attractant rotten banana and pineapple) it can be concluded that the dry season shows significantly less number of butterflies compared to the rainy season. Furthermore the research areas near the border of the park and near the public area, have significantly higher rates of butterflies incomparison with the research area into the forest. Moreover, the butterfly Smirna blomfilda datis has significantly more butterflies in all research areas than other butterfly species.