Biodiversity Science ›› 2006, Vol. 14 ›› Issue (6): 517-524.doi: 10.1360/biodiv.050244

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Butterfly diversity in different habitat types at the Huzhu Northern Mountain National Forest Park, Qinghai

Zhenning Chen*, Yang Zeng, Min Bao, Jixiong Ma, Jun Ke   

  1. College of Life and Geographical Sciences, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008
  • Received:2006-05-21 Revised:2006-10-19 Online:2006-11-20
  • Zhenning Chen

In order to probe into the dynamics of butterfly species and quantities in different habitats at high elevation, from 1993 to 1997, we surveyed butterfly diversity in four habitat types at the Huzhu Northern Mountain National Forest Park, Qinghai. We selected a plain among valleys, a temperate steppe, a mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest, and an alpine shrub meadow as our study sites. We trapped 4,745 butterflies, belonging to eight families, 57 genera and 86 species. The genera with the most abundant species included Colias (6 species), Pieris (5 species), Aporia (4 species), Pontia (3 species), and Melitaea (3 species). The most individual number occurred in the families Pieridae and Lycaenidae. In terms of butterfly species composition and quantities, significant differences existed among different habitats. The number of butterfly species was the largest in the mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest, while the individual number peaked in the plain among valleys. The species diversity of butterflies was highest in the mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest and the lowest in alpine shrub meadow, while the evenness index was highest in mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest and lowest in the plain among valleys. Dominance was the highest in the alpine shrub meadow. The mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest had the most endemic genera/species (20 genera, 24 species), followed by the alpine shrub meadow (8 genera, 8 species), the plain among valleys (6 genera, 7 species), and the temperate steppe (5 genera, 6 species). The similarity coefficients of butterfly species among different habitats ranged from 0 to 0.4259. Using cluster analysis to identify the species composition of butterflies, we discovered that the plain among valleys had the highest similarity with the temper-ate steppe, and secondarily with the mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest, and third with the alpine shrub meadow. In order to protect the butterfly diversity of this area, we suggest establishing a natural protected zone to better balance tourism and biodiversity protection.

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