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Haying and grazing effects on the butterfly communities of two Mediterranean-area grasslands

  • Biagio D’AnielloEmail author
  • Irene Stanislao
  • Simona Bonelli
  • Emilio Balletto
Original Paper

Abstract

Grasslands are usually the most suitable environment for butterflies, but have been also traditionally used for productive activities. This paper compares the impact of mowing and grazing on butterfly biodiversity in two S Italian (Campania) grasslands, at Campo Somma (CS) and Pianoro di Prada (PP) located at an identical altitude of 850 m. These grasslands have an area of approximately 6 ha each and are at a 3 km distance from each other. They share similar climate and are both surrounded by woods, mainly of sweet chestnut. CS is managed for haying and is mown once a year, in June. PP is used for sheep and cattle grazing. Weekly transects were made from April to September in 2008 and 2009, during the butterfly flight activity. We analysed data from eight monthly transects by Kruskal–Wallis and Mann–Whitney tests. We observed 45 butterfly species at PP, and 28 at CS. Diversity indexes were significantly higher at PP, whereas evenness was similar. The monthly comparisons of species richness showed that, except for April, PP values were always significantly higher. Species abundance was significantly higher at PP in June, July and August. In all months, except in April, the Shannon–Wiener index was also significantly higher at PP, as was Simpson’s index in May, June and September. Dominance index differed significantly only in May, June and September, whereas evenness was never significantly different between the two grasslands. These data show that, as concerns butterflies, the impact of mowing was much stronger than that of grazing.

Keywords

Biodiversity Grassland habitats Insects Land use Lepidoptera Species diversity Species richness 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Biagio D’Aniello
    • 1
    Email author
  • Irene Stanislao
    • 1
  • Simona Bonelli
    • 2
  • Emilio Balletto
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Structural and Functional BiologyUniversity of Naples “Federico II”NaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of Animal and Human BiologyUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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