Diversity of butterflies in Victoria Park Reserve Forest, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India
Documentation of biodiversity is crucial for examining the health of ecosystems. Many species act as an ecological indicator due to their susceptibility to changes in a particular environment. Butterflies, providing vital ecosystem services, respond uniquely to urbanization and can be a good tool for the assessment of the well-being of the habitat. The present study, one of its first kind in the particular habitat, provides a comprehensive outlook on the species diversity and abundance of butterflies at Victoria Park Reserve Forest, an urban forest area in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India. The survey was conducted from March 2018 to February 2019 across all seasons. A total of 69 species belonging to 45 genera and five different families were recorded. The most diverse family was Lycaenidae (33.33%), followed by Nymphalidae (31.88%), Pieridae (21.74%), Papilionidae (7.25%), and Hesperiidae (5.80%). Junonia , was the dominant genus with six species. Out of the total recorded species,12 species are listed under the Least Concern category of the IUCN red list and 57 species are Not Evaluated. Seasonal variation in the number of species was observed, which shows the highest number of species in September (n=63) and the lowest in May (n=22). The abundance of the butterfly community was found to be highest during August (26.37%) and the lowest during February (1.85%). This study provided an understanding of the butterfly community in the habitat and would encourage further research for habitat restoration in the reserve forest.
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