Information on butterflies in the Niger Delta Region is relatively scanty because monitoring of their activities and distribution has not been fully documented and these are paramount to establish their conservation protocols. The study therefore aimed at evaluating the species richness distribution pattern, and relative abundance of butterflies in the University of Port Harcourt. The University Park was purposively selected for this study. The park was stratified into three different habitat types (secondary forest, farmland, and residential/garden). A sampling of each stratum was done three times; twice in the morning between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm as well as once in the evening between 4:00 pm and 6: 00 pm along a 100 m line transects for 16 months (May 2017- August 2018). Data collected were analyzed for species diversity indices, evenness and similarity index. A total of 1932 individual butterflies belonging to 28 species, 18 genera, and five 5 families were identified in the study area. Species diversity and evenness were higher on farmland (1-D = 0.909; H’ = 2.615; E = 0.833,) and least in the residential area/gardens (1-D = 0.744; H’ = 1.975; E = 0.659). The family Nymphalidae (39.0%) had the highest number of species occurrence while Hesperidae (0.4%) had the lowest composition. Anthene larydas (24.12%) had the highest relative abundance in the entire study area, followed by Acraea serena (17.49%). The study, therefore, recommends continuous monitoring of butterfly species diversity and composition also in other regions.
Keywords: Lepidoptera, Butterfly, Diversity, Ecology, Forest.