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Effects of fires on butterfly assemblages in lowland dipterocarp forest in East Kalimantan

Authors


Toshiya Hirowatari, Entomological Laboratory, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University, Sakai, Osaka, 599-8531 Japan. Email: hirowat_t@envi.osakafu-u.ac.jp

Abstract

The post-fire butterfly fauna in lowland dipterocarp forest of the Bukit Soeharto Education Forest (BSEF), East Kalimantan, Indonesia, was assessed during the period November 1998–April 2000 by means of consecutive Malaise trap samples, with supplementary field observations for March–April 1999. A total of 514 butterflies belonging to 61 species and representing six families were caught in the traps. Melanitis leda (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae), Charaxes bernardus (Nymphalidae: Charaxinae), and Danaus genutia (Nymphalidae: Danainae) were the species most frequently caught (60, 52 and 47 individuals, respectively), representing 31% of the total. These three species are generalists and “disturbance indicators” for tropical rainforest, being characteristic of disturbed or secondary forests, being distributed widely, and having larvae that feed on a wide range of host plants. In contrast, other species, such as Trogonoptera brookiana and Troides amphrysus, were recorded before the fires but were not recorded again afterwards. The pre- and post-fire butterfly fauna of East Kalimantan were compared on the basis of butterfly specimens deposited in the Tropical Rain Forest Research Center that were collected in and around the Bukit Soeharto Education Forest before the fires (1988–1995). On the basis of the post-fire survey, based on Malaise trap samples and field observations, only 43% of the butterfly species (not including Lycaenidae and Hesperiidae) were confirmed to have persisted. The data suggest that refugia that are not affected by fire are necessary for the conservation of specialist butterflies, as well as many other forms of wildlife.

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