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Butterfly ecology

In addition to analysing species communities in different habitats of the Taita Hills, studying the behavioural biology of selected organisms is essential to better understand and shape the ecology and conservation of the last cloud forests of the Taita Hills. The Taita Hills harbour a very large and diverse butterfly species community, with numerous species that exist exclusively in the cloud forests. A mark-release-recapture study was conducted for two typical forest species (parhassus, brezis). For this, individuals of these species were captured in the Chawia forest fragment, individually marked with a waterproof pen, measured with a GPS device, and other characteristics (such as condition of wings, sex, etc.) were recorded. Individuals were then released, and in some cases recaptured later (at a different location). Based on these data, population sizes can be estimated and movement patterns analysed. The study was conducted by Juliet Chari Mwamkuu, Amos, and supervised by Prof. Jan Christian Habel (PLUS) and Prof. Thomas Schmitt (Senckenberg Germany).