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A comparative study on the abundance and diversity of butterflies in disturbed and undisturbed habitats in a tertiary institution in central Nigeria

MOJ Ecology & Environmental Sciences
Ombugadu A,1 Ugwu AR,1 Ibrahim JI,2 Dawam NN,3 Pam VA,1 Okoi PN,1 Ahmed HO,1 Deme GG,4 Njila HL,5 Echor BO,5 Aimankhu PO,1 Mafuyai MJ,6 Maikenti JI,1 Nkup CD,7 Uzoigwe NR,1 Oke OC8

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Butterflies are among the most widely spread taxa, their distribution cut across all the continent of the world except the Antarctica. Many butterfly species are comparatively easy to sample and recognized both as individuals and as species than many other insect groups. They are extremely sensitive to changes in vegetation composition and structure in the environment. As the result of this; butterflies have widely been used as a model species to evaluate the health of the environment and changes in the environment. We investigated and compared the butterfly abundance and diversity within a newly established tertiary institution in Central Nigeria in April, 2016 using transects with the aid of sweep nets. Four transects were laid in each of the disturbed and undisturbed habitats of Federal University of Lafia (FULafia). Transects were visited in the morning and evening. An overall total of three hundred and one butterflies were seen. However, only 160 were caught which spread across 5 families, 21 genera and 25 species. The most abundant family of butterflies caught was Pieridae 49 (30.63%) followed by Lycaenidae 42 (26.25%), Nymphalidae 34 (21.25%), Papilionidae 34 (21.25%), while Hesperiidae 1 (0.63%) was the least and scarce in the study area. The most abundant genera of butterflies recorded were Eurema 29 (18.13%), Papilio 27 (16.88%) and Hypolycaena 23 (14.38%). The mean abundance of butterflies seen in relation to disturbed and undisturbed habitats showed a very high significant difference (t = -4.1952, df = 94.682, P < 0.0001). Time of day showed a very high significant difference (t = 6.2208, df = 82.469, P < 0.0001) in the mean abundance of butterflies. The undisturbed habitat was more diversified (H´ = 2.6) in butterfly diversity than the disturbed habitat (H´ = 2.5). This study being the first effort in exploring the butterfly wealth of FULafia clearly shows that the ongoing building construction in the Permanent Site of the University may have some impact on the abundance and diversity of butterflies. Hence, the Management of the Institution shouldensure that the area designated for Zoological Garden is well safe guarded for biodiversity conservation amidst ongoing sustainable development.


butterflies, abundance, diversity, disturbed and undisturbed habitats, time of day