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Research Article

Interrelation Between Some Butterflies and Plant Associations (Turkey)

M. Ozdemir and S. Seven
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The butterfly fauna in Ordu province (N-Turkey) was determined in this study. Their relations with the phytosociological associations found in the zone were evaluated and the Lepidoptera taxa in these units were presented. The numbers of determined taxa in each plant association are Castanea-Carpinus-Corylus (23), Fagus orientalis, Carpinus betulus and Picea orientalis Mixed Forest Zone (23), Subalpine Zone (Rhododendron luteum-Vaccinium myrtillus) (25), Lower Alpine Zone (Festuca lazistanica ssp. giresunica) (20), Mid-alpine Zone (Festuca lazistanica ssp. giresunica) (13). Fifteen taxa are new for Ordu province.

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  How to cite this article:

M. Ozdemir and S. Seven, 2007. Interrelation Between Some Butterflies and Plant Associations (Turkey). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 10: 112-116.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2007.112.116



Ordu lies in Eastern Black Sea region in the north of Turkey. This territory takes place in the North Anatolian orogenic belt. A great part of it is covered with volcanic and sedimentary series, which belong to the Upper Cretacean (Atalay et al., 1985). This territory is generally exposed to the Oceanic climate because it is on the north slopes of the East Black Sea Mountains. On the other hand, on the south slopes, the effects of mid-dry climate and cold transition period are seen (Quezel et al., 1980)..

Diurnal Lepidoptera have previously been known as two species from the vicinity of Ordu; Pararge aegeria (Satyridae) and Lycaena dispar (Lycaenidae) (Rebel, 1908); from Gölköy and Perşembe Gonepteryx rhamni ssp. miljanovski (Pieridae) (Freina, 1983). Higgins (1966) has mentioned all provinces where these species have been determined in connection with his list about the butterflies of Turkey, not giving any kind of record about Ordu. Hesselbarth et al. (1995) have increased this number by 59. The number of the species in this region has reached to 74 with our study. Koçak and Seven (1994) includes all references on the butterflies fauna of Ordu province.

As a result of a phytosociological study in the region, Kılınç and Karakaya (1992) defined the herbal communities in Çambaşı high-plateau and it’s around as follows;

Rhododendro-Vaccinetum myrtilli (Rhododendron luteum-Vaccinium myrtillus community): This community is generally widespread between 1550-1800 m in the research area; Thymetum jankaei (Thymus praecox subsp. jankae community): This community is generally widespread between 1500-2000 m in the southern slopes in the research area; Festucetum giresunicae (Festuca lazistanica-subsp. giresunica community): This community is generally widespread between 1800-2600 m in the research field.

The aim of this study is to determine which plant units the butterflies prefer in their habitat and by this way to reveal which phytosociological plant associations are richer for butterfly fauna. For this reason, on land of the Çambaşı plateau of Ordu province in 1994 and 1995 between May and August, 364 samples of diurnal Lepidoptera have been collected and examined.


The material for examining has been collected from Ordu (Çambaşı yaylası, Yokuşdibi), Perşembe (Çaytepe), Mesudiye (Güzele, Güvenli) with a trap by day and has been killed in the jars with ethyl acetate. All the data about the collection process and the properties of the habitat where the species are collected have been recorded as well as the dominant plant species and the samples have been put into triangular envelopes. After that, they have been prepared in accordance with the methods of museum material by being softened in the pots for softening in the laboratory and their locality labels have been pinned. For the classification and nomenclature of taxa, Hesselbarth et al. (1995) have been followed. Natural areas where the butterflies were collected are divided into five groups and evaluated. The localities, vertical distributions, host plants and plant associations of the examined taxa are given in Table 1. Larval food plants are given according to Hesselbarth et al. (1995) and Koch (1991). First records for Ordu province are shown with * asteriks sign.


Vegetation of the region: Lower mountain zone (0-500 m) is covered by degraded Castanea sativa-Carpinus orientalis Forest. Among them, Corylus avellana plantations are seen frequently. Between the elevations 500 and 1500 m, remarkable plant formations are the remnant forests of Fagus orientalis, Carpinus betulus and Picea orientalis together with sporadic Rhododendron, Ulmus and Alnus glutinosa.

This region covers the Çambaşı high-plateau forest border and subalpine and alpine meadows lying in the upper part of the forest border. Upper border of the forest generally ends in 1550 m in the region, however, it is understood that the forest border is going up to 1700-1800 m even to 1900 m as a result of the topographical structure of the many parts in the region. Depending on the height in the studying area, subalpine, alpine, lower alpine and mid-alpine regions can be distinguished.

Subalpine region (1550-1800 m): These are generally composed of distorted forest, shrubs and meadows. This region is characterized by the small forest communities, formed with Picea orientalis and Pinus sylvestris and shrubs named particularly Rhododentrum luteum, Daphne pontica and Vaccicium myrtillus. There are wide area of meadows among these local forests and shrubs. Particularly Thymus praecox subsp. jankae, Brachypodium pinnatum, Carlina vulgaris, Astragalus fragrans and Deschampsia flexuosa are the characteristics of the region.

Lower alpine region (1800-2000 m): Rhododendron luteum are seen in this region, even which can intensively be encountered in the northern slopes. Vaccinium myrtillus is generally widespread both in open areas and among Rhododendron luteums community. Some perennial herbs dominant on the Subalpine region have also the same situation in this region, in addition to this, some species such as Veratrum album, Oxalis acetosella, Pedicularis condensata and Lilium ciliatum are the characteristics of the region.

Mid-alpine region (2000-2600 m): The characteristic vegetation of this region is alpine meadows. Particularly Festuca lazistanica subsp. giresunica, Ballerdiochloa polycroa, Bunium microcarpum subsp. bourgei, Campanula tridentata and Minuartia recurva subsp. oreina can be counted as characteristics of the region.

Due to the fact that the field covered by alpine and subalpine meadows, possessing a number of different sized hills is utilized as a high-plateau at summers. There is a great biotical effect on the flora and vegetation in the region. Overgrazing in the region has caused a corruption in the natural balance. Human oriented destroying of the forests distorted the vegetation as one of the important biotical effects.

In addition to these; Festuca lazistanica subsp. giresunica mixed with Alchemilla mollis, Epibolium gemmascens, Saxifraga moschata, Caltha polypetala and Carex pallescens subsp. chalcodeta are widespread in the damp meadows and in the edges of the mountain streams. Vaccinium myrtillus has a wide distribution in the entire research area.

The butterfly species recorded in the studied area is listed in Table 1. Localities with their altitudes, classified natural areas and the number of the specimens used are also given in the Table 1.

As a result of the collection studies realized in Çambaşı high-plateau, it is understood that most of the butterfly species in subalpine and alpine zones prefer the places as their habitat, where Rhododendro-Vaccinetum myrtilli association. The reason of the preference of the butterflies is probably the presence of their larval foodplants within this plant formation.

As to the Rhododendro-Vaccinetum myrtilli community at Çambaşı, the following butterflies preferred this plant formation: Zerynthia caucasica, Pieris brassicae, P. bryoniae, P. pseudorapae, P. rapae, Colias crocea, Gonepteryx rhamni, Vanessaa cardui, Vanessa atalanta, lnachis io, Aglais urticae, Argynnis paphia, Argynnis aglaia, Boloria caucasica, Boloria euphrosyne, lssoria lathonia, Erebia aethiops, Erebia ottomana, Maniola jurtina, Coenonympha pamphilus, Lycaena phlaeas and Polyommatus icarus.

The species recorded in the studied area are listed according to the families, in the column under the title Taxon. Collecting localities and their elevations are given in the columns Locality and Altitude, respectively. The species are classified into five groups (A, B, C, D, E) under the Natural Areas. A: Roadside and openings in the degraded Castanea-Carpinus-Corylus forest (0-500 m). B: Damp meadows, streamside in the Mixed Forest Zone (1000-1550 m).

Table 1: The butterfly species distribution according to the natural ares

C: Subalpine Zone (1550-1800 m). Rhododendron luteum-Vaccinium myrtillus Kılınç and Karakaya (1992) association belongs to this zone. Thymus praecox subsp. jankae Kılınç and Karakaya (1992) association is partly represented in the southern slopes. D: Lower Alpine Zone (1800-2000 m). Festuca lazistanica ssp. giresunica Kılınç and Karakaya (1992) is well represented in this zone. E: Mid-alpine Zone (2000-2600 m). Festuca lazistanica ssp. giresunica Kılınç and Karakaya (1992) is well represented in this zone N. Number of the specimens collected.

1:  Atalay, I., M. Tetik and I. Ylmaz, 1985. Kuzeydou Anadolu'nun Ekosistemleri. Orman Aratrma Enstitusu, Ankara, Turkiye.

2:  Freina, J.J., 1983. Studien uber biologie, verbreitung, geographische variabilitat und morphologie von Gonepteryx farinosa (Zeller, 1847), nebst zusatzlicher erlauterung der verbreitung und geographischen variabilitat von Gonepteryx rhamni (Linn., 1759) in Kleinasien. Mitt. Munch. Ent. Ges., 72: 9-55.

3:  Higgins, L.G., 1966. Check-list of Turkish butterflies. Entomologist, 99: 209-222.

4:  Klnc, M. and H. Karakaya, 1992. Camba yaylas (Ordu)'nun suba1pin ve alpin vejetasyonu uzerinde fitososyolojik bir aratrma. Doa Tr. J. Bot., 16: 195-206.

5:  Koch, M., 1991. Wir Bestimmen Schmetterlinge. Neumann Verlag Radebeul, Germany.

6:  Kocak, A.O. and S. Seven, 1994. Turkiye lepidoptera bibliyografyas. Memoirs, 2: 1-141.

7:  Quezel, P., M. Barbero and Y. Akman, 1980. Contributional effide de la vegetation forestiere d'anatolie septentrionale. Phytocoenologia, 8: 365-519.

8:  Rebel, H., 1908. Uber eine lepidopterenausbeute, welche vom herrn karl v. Blumencron im Hochsommer des verflossenen Jahre in der umgebung trapezunts gemacht wurde. Verh. Zool. Bot. Ges. Wien, 58: 82-85.

9:  Hesselbarth, G., H. van Oorschot and S. Wagener, 1995. Die tagfalter der Turkei. Band 1-2: 1354, Band 3:1-747, pp: 141 Tafel, 342 Karte.

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