Butterflies in riparian forests

Riparian forests provide important ecosystems for many endangered plant and animal species. To understand the ecological value of the remaining riparian forests in agricultural landscapes of the semiarid region of south-eastern Kenya, we performed a comparative study on butterfly communities, in (i) still intact riparian habitats and adjoining savannah, (ii) in semi-natural riparian habitats with adjoining savannah with moderate lifestock intensity, and (ii) in highly degraded riparian forest, dominated by Lantana camara, and surrounded by settlements, agricultural fields, fallow land and gardens. Students counted butterflies along line transects, and establish life-traps to attract fruit-loving butterflies.

This study was repeatedly conducted during dry and rainy season. The following students has been involved: Eva-Teresa Raphaela Szekeres, Julia Schuster, Michaela Maislinger, and Andjela Delic. This study is still in progress, and will be finished early 2020. Find below some impressions on the correct handling and marking of butterflies:

We repeated this butterfly assessment during the rainy season 2020. For this activity, six students and two Kenyan students of South Eastern Kenya created two groups, and worked in parallel for one month in the agricultural land (south of Wikililye), and in near-natural ecosystems (at the campus of the South Eastern Kenya University). The following people were involved: Lara Bauer, Andjela Delic, Kerstin Link, Anna Sommer, Daniel Stieringer, Marielle Schleifer, Jan Christian Habel, Thomas Schmitt, Mike Teucher and Magdalena Mayr.