Our survey is to update the old distribution dataset of Sikkim Himalayan Butterflies. As since one decade the region is experiencing unsustainable developments such as damming, road extension with other various anthropogenic activities.
Which is the best method to survey butterfly in the Himalayan landscape?
Familiarize yourself with the species known from the locality to be surveyed. The Pollard Walk is largely irrelevant, since species level identification requires specimens in many cases. When you know the community inhabiting the area, then you know which difficult groups require examination of specimens and which can be indisputably identified from photos.
A lot of work has already been done on Sikkimese butterflies in the recent past, find out seasonality and habitat of the various species. You are welcome to ask me if you have further questions dealing with specific species.
The method worked out in the papers are possible in an environment of limited landscapes such as grassland/plain forest land/coastal area with definite numbers of ecological and land variables. In complicated environments of complex landscapes with wide variations in climatic, ecological and land use pattern, it will require an elaborate and time-taking procedure to record all the possible variables for optimisation of sampling. It requires ample time, money and energy before actual work is conducted.
Any good survey for flying insect in a mountainous state like Sikkim would be to unitize the area of a survey based on variations in habitat type (agriculture vs forests; successional stages of forests, altitudinal gradients, climatic differences etc). A ratio of the state’s geographical area to landscape variations would give a tentative idea of a number of potential exploration sites for butterflies. These should be carefully identified on a physical map. Modified Pollard transect walks and direct observation methods can be applied at all those sites in at least two seasons, one season when the butterfly incidence is maximum and the second when the incidence is minimum. Think on these lines. It may enable to enrich the already known butterfly fauna from Sikkim. Many of the species reported earlier have already undergone changes in their nomenclature. This can be also taken care of. best.