Butterflies and moths are among the most common insect groups in tropical environments, but not much is known about their diversity and ecology in forest habitats such as in Nigeria. This study was, therefore, done to produce a checklist and assess the distribution of lepidopteran fauna as well as study some aspects of the ecology of some metamorphosing species in some parts of southeastern Nigeria. Adult butterflies and moths were collected from different habitats in 15 locations within the study area using both invasive and noninvasive methods. Individuals encountered were photographed, identified, documented and some collected individuals preserved. Seven sites from key habitats within the area were selected and surveyed. Lepidopteran surveys were conducted in the selected sites during the wet and dry seasons. Surveys involved recording lepidopteran fauna in each site along10transects of 100 m each. Samples of larvae were collected from breeding species encountered during the study and reared in enclosures, to monitor their metamorphoses. Monitoring of some species was conducted in their natural habitats. A total of 126 adult butterfly species belonging to five families and 15 adult moth species belonging to seven families were recorded in various habitats in the study area. A comparison of the species richness among the selected sites showed that Site 1 (Eme River Forest Reserve) had the highest speciesrichness, with a record of 32 lepidopteran species. This was followed by Site 4 (FRINForest Outstation, Okwuta) with 28 species and Site 7 (MOUAU Relict Forest) with 25 species. Site3 (Umuahia-Ibeku Forest Reserve), Site 5 (Home Gardens, Omoba), Site 2 (MixedcropFarmland, Oguzoronweya) and Site 6 (Forest-Savannah Ecotone, Ishiagu) had 24, 20, 20and14 species respectively. Shannon and Simpson’s diversity indices showed that Site 1hadthehighest species diversity followed by Site 4 and Site 7, while species diversity was lowest inSite 6. A high level of species evenness (82%) and gamma diversity (98%) was recordedinthe distribution of lepidopteran species across the surveyed sites. Jaccard DissimilarityIndexalso revealed that the rate of dissimilarity in the lepidopteran species composition betweenpairs of sites was above 70%. Species richness and abundance appeared to be higher inthedry season compared to the wet season, though the differences were not statisticallysignificant (P
<0.05). Furthermore, seven moth species were successfully reared in enclosuresfrom larvae to adult stages; one moth species was observed in its natural habitat fromeggtoadult stage, while one adult butterfly species was encountered during emergence fromitspupal cocoon. Fourteen larval specimens of different species were unsuccessfully reared. Thefindings of this study suggest that at least 10% of the existing records of butterflies inNigeriamay be found within the southeast. The lepidopteran species’ composition in the surveyedsites was highly dissimilar, suggesting that differences in the vegetation makeup andhabitatsinfluences the lepidopteran species makeup. Further studies focusing on the life historiesofbutterflies and moths are encouraged to further elucidate their synecology, especiallypestilent species.>
ONYENWEAKU, N (2022). Distribution And Checklist Of Lepidopteran Fauna In Parts Of South-Eastern Nigeria And Observations On Aspects Of The Ecology Of Some Species. Repository.mouau.edu.ng: Retrieved Nov 26, 2022, from https://repository.mouau.edu.ng/work/view/distribution-and-checklist-of-lepidopteran-fauna-in-parts-of-south-eastern-nigeria-and-observations-on-aspects-of-the-ecology-of-some-species-7-2
NDUBUISI, ONYENWEAKU. "Distribution And Checklist Of Lepidopteran Fauna In Parts Of South-Eastern Nigeria And Observations On Aspects Of The Ecology Of Some Species" Repository.mouau.edu.ng. Repository.mouau.edu.ng, 22 Mar. 2022, https://repository.mouau.edu.ng/work/view/distribution-and-checklist-of-lepidopteran-fauna-in-parts-of-south-eastern-nigeria-and-observations-on-aspects-of-the-ecology-of-some-species-7-2. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.
NDUBUISI, ONYENWEAKU. "Distribution And Checklist Of Lepidopteran Fauna In Parts Of South-Eastern Nigeria And Observations On Aspects Of The Ecology Of Some Species". Repository.mouau.edu.ng, Repository.mouau.edu.ng, 22 Mar. 2022. Web. 26 Nov. 2022. < https://repository.mouau.edu.ng/work/view/distribution-and-checklist-of-lepidopteran-fauna-in-parts-of-south-eastern-nigeria-and-observations-on-aspects-of-the-ecology-of-some-species-7-2 >.
NDUBUISI, ONYENWEAKU. "Distribution And Checklist Of Lepidopteran Fauna In Parts Of South-Eastern Nigeria And Observations On Aspects Of The Ecology Of Some Species" Repository.mouau.edu.ng (2022). Accessed 26 Nov. 2022. https://repository.mouau.edu.ng/work/view/distribution-and-checklist-of-lepidopteran-fauna-in-parts-of-south-eastern-nigeria-and-observations-on-aspects-of-the-ecology-of-some-species-7-2