Lien Vu Van. 2013. The effect of habitat disturbance and altitudes on the diversity of butterflies (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) in a tropical forest of Vietnam: results of a long-term and large-scale study // Russian Entomol. J. Vol.22. No.1: 51–65 [in English].
Vietnam National Museum of Nature, 18 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay, Hanoi, Vietnam. E-mail: email@example.com
KEY WORDS: butterfly, fauna, composition, similarity, disturbance, distribution, altitude, Vietnam.
ABSTRACT: The effect of habitat disturbance and altitudes on the diversity of butterflies was assessed in different habitat types and at different altitudes in a long-term and large-scale study of butterfly diversity in the tropical to subtropical forest of Tam Dao National Park, northern Vietnam from 2002 to 2009. Lowlands yielded more butterfly species than highlands. Species diversity increased along with forest disturbance rates, yet dropping both when the forest was heavily disturbed or transformed into agricultural land. The rarity of butterflies (the proportion of rare species) was the highest in natural closed forest, the lowest in agricultural lands. The rarity of butterflies decreased while the commonness (the proportion of common species) increased with growing forest habitat disturbance. The rarity of butterflies was also higher at higher altitudes. Species composition (363 species) varied between different habitat disturbance levels and altitudes; the highest faunal similarity being between agricultural lands at both altitudes considered, the lowest between the natural closed forest at high altitudes and agricultural lands at low altitudes. Species with small geographical ranges were most often found in forested habitats while species with wide geographical distributions occurred in non-forest biotopes.