Diversity and abundance of butterfly species (Lepidoptera) fauna in Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi forestry nursery, Benue State, Nigeria
Butterflies belong to one of the most important taxa of insects. Understanding their significance in an ecosystem as an environmental health indicator and pollination of flowering plants is crucial to achieving sustainability and conservation of floral diversity. Owing to habitat destruction due to some anthropogenic activities, butterflies are fast disappearing and at present, their survival is under threat. The study assessed the diversity and abundance of butterfly species in the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi forestry nursery, Nigeria. Line transects were used to survey three habitats within and around the forestry nursery using handheld sweep nets in March and April, 2016. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and One-way analysis of variance. A total of 337 individuals representing 17 butterfly species belonging to 5 families were recorded across the three habitat types. Out of these, members belonging to the family Nymphalidae were the most common with 7 species being recorded accounting for 41.2% of the total species and 26.7% of total number of individuals collected. Species richness, evenness and diversity varied from habitat to habitat and decreased from dry land area to swampy area (D= 2.336 – 1.966), (J= 0.336 – 0.236), (H1= 1.394 – 0.955). There was no significant different in species composition/richness across habitat types at 0.05%. It was recommended that management effort towards conservation be put in place so as to ensure sustenance of butterflies and ecosystem services derived from them, and further exploration of butterfly species be done to update this checklist.
Keywords: Butterfly, Species, Forestry Nursery, Diversity, Abundance