Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?Natural canopied forest patches and grasslands are different vegetation types that are dominated by different plant species. Due to butterfly composition is highly related with plant species in vegetation, there is a variation in butterfly diversity within these habitats. In this study, a butterfly survey was conducted in Lower Hanthana, Sri Lanka, to evaluate the importance of natural forest and grassland habitats on butterfly diversity.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?During the study, five natural forest patches and five grassland areas at Lower Hanthana were selected. In each natural forest patch and grassland, two(15m x 15m) quadrats were randomly established (total 20). Number of butterfly species and number of their individuals were recorded since February 2013, two days per week for 5 months. For each habitat, Species richness was calculated using Margalef index and Species diversity using Shannon diversity index.
Results: What are your most important results?In the survey, forty six butterfly species belonging to seven families were recorded. Thirty four species were found in natural forest patches, whereas forty one species were found in grasslands. Some species were recorded only in natural forest patches, some were recorded only in grasslands and some were found in both habitats. Within both habitat types, butterfly species that are endemic to the island and threatened according to the IUCN 2012 were recorded.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?Results clearly show the existence of high species diversity and richness of butterflies in natural forest patches and grasslands at Lower Hanthana area. Although, relatively high species diversity and species richness of butterflies identified in grasslands, some species were confined to natural forest habitats. Thus, in order to conserve butterfly community in Lower Hanthana – Sri Lanka, the habitat where they are occupied should be taken into consideration.