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Species richness, diversity and composition of fruit-feeding Nymphalid butterflies in the three different flora communities (Celtis-Triplochiton forest, Cassia siamea plantation and Riverine forest) in Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary (OWS) were studied and subsequently compared. OWS has three distinct flora communities. Butterflies were trapped using rotten banana as baits on ‘edge to interior' transects. Species richness and diversity indices were computed using the EstimteS program. A total of 1105 fruit-feeding Nymphalid butterflies, belonging to 29 species were trapped during the survey. The Riverine forest presents the highest Nymphalid alpha species diversity. The overall species accumulation curve could not reach asymptote, suggesting that more species remained unsampled. Morisita-Horn index was used to measure complementarity between the different flora communities. The Cassia plantation and the Riverine forest zones showed the greatest similarity or complementarity (0.95) in terms of the Nymphalid composition than any other pair-wise comparison. Species turnover was highest in the Celtis-Triphochiton forest and lowest at the Riverine forest, suggesting a relatively low variation in the environmental factors in the latter. However, there were no significant differences (P>0.05) between the species abundance in the different vegetation types. Various factors such as the short temporal sampling period, the relatively small size and apparent isolation of the reserve could have accounted for the relatively low numbers of species recorded. The importance of fruit-feeding butterflies in the OWS and other conservation issues have been highlighted.
Keywords:Fruit-feeding butterflies, species diversity, Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary
Ghana Journal of Forestry Vol. 17 & 18 2005: pp. 9-19