Butterfly communities in South Australian urban reserves : estimating abundance and diversity using the Pollard walk

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Collier, N, Mackay, DA, Benkendorff, K, Austin, AD & Carthew, SM 2006, 'Butterfly communities in South Australian urban reserves: estimating abundance and diversity using the Pollard walk', Austral Ecology, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 282-290.

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Remnant habitats within and surrounding urbanized areas are becoming increasingly important for maintaining butterfly diversity. The ‘Pollard walk’ protocol has been used widely overseas to estimate and monitor species diversity and abundance of butterflies. However, there has been limited use of this technique in Australia. Here, we used the Pollard walk method to estimate the diversity of butterflies at three urban sites around Adelaide, South Australia: Belair National Park (BNP), Shepherds Hill Recreation Park (SHRP) and Brownhill Creek Recreation Park (BCRP). In total, 21 species of butterfly were detected across the three sites. Pollard walks detected butterfly species from five families, including rare and highly localized lycaenid and hesperiid species. The highest diversity of species was found at BCRP (16) followed by BNP (14) and SHRP (14). Multivariate analysis on the data revealed a distinct and temporally variable butterfly community at BNP when compared with the SHRP and BCRP. The results of this study show that the Pollard walk can be effectively used to distinguish communities and detect a wide variety of butterflies, including cryptic and rare species, within urban habitats of Adelaide.

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