An Assessment Of Butterfly Species Diversity In Relation To Plant Structure In Mt. Marsabit National Park, Kenya
Nyamweya, N. Humpden
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Forest-dependent animals, such as butterflies, can be useful indicators of forest disturbance or stability. Butterfly assemblages decrease in species richness after forest disturbance and fragmentation, but a few species may subsequently invade the forest fragment and hence increase species richness. However, it is not clear how plant community structure and changes in season affect the butterfly community. The purpose of this study was to determine how the butterfly community changed in different habitats, and how these changes were influenced by seasonality and human activities in Mt. Marsabit National Park ecosystem, Kenya. The study was carried out over a period of 24 weeks, covering the dry period (December 2004 to February 2005) and wet period (March - May 2005). Three belt transects were laid in the study area which were -,' stratified into four main habitats. 200m transect walks were some on randomly selected 400 X 400m quadrats. Within the base transects, P.C.Q. method was used in vegetation characterization. The rangeland habitat had the highest plant densities and diversities.