HYMENOPTERAN DIVERSITY OF CHANDERTAL WILDLIFE SANCTUARY IN HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA.
Keywords:Chandertal, diversity, apidae, sphecidae, formicidae, ichneumonidae
The Chandertal Wildlife Sanctuary occupy high altitude wetland area designated as an internationally known Ramsar site situated near little below the Kunzam Pass (4520 m above mean sea level) in Lahaul & Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. Chandertal Lake alongwith few semi permanent land locked water reservoirs interspersed among grassy meadows help in wetland formation. The hymenopterans exhibit instinctive behaviour with perfection along with ecological, medicinal and economic significance. Various sites of Chandertal Wildlife Sanctuary were explored for collection and observations of its inhabitant nival fauna. The air density, atmospheric pressure, concentration of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapours are quite low. Due to high altitude along with high atmospheric transparency the insolation of high intensity during morning to noon make area warmer but rapid radiation loss during evening and night hours along with high wind velocity result in to excessive cold nights. Many such other factors make this area intolerable so that very less biodiversity is present. From this studied area, during July to October months of the survey years, seven hymenopteran species belonging to seven genera of four families have been collected and described. Bombus rufofasciatus Smith, Sphecodes iridipennis Smith, Megachile Latrielle of family Apidae; Larra Fabricius, Podalonia Fernald of family Sphecidae; Formica gagates Latreille of family Formicidae and one species of family Ichneumonidae are reported. The colonies of Formica gagates found to be most abundant in grassy vegetation and underneath stone crevices. Among aerial hymenopterans, Sphecodes iridipennis being small in size were second most abundant and collected via sweeping the grassy vegetations. The relative abundance of other described hymenopterans found to be comparatively less.
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