Butterfly diversity and composition at Chemerong Amenity Forest, Terengganu, Malaysia

Main Article Content

Muhammad Hafiz Sulaiman
Abdul Munir Mohd Zaki
Geok Chin Yap
Nur Atiqa Aniruddin
Ju Lian Chong


A study of butterfly species diversity was conducted in Chemerong Amenity Forest, Terengganu, Malaysia. A total of 939 individuals from 198 butterfly species were obtained using fruit-baited sweep nets and modified VanSomeren-Rydon cylinder traps. The biodiversity of butterflies in the study area was considered high, with a Shannon index (H’) of 4.1, Simpson’s index (DSimpson) of 0.042, and Margalef index (IMargalef) of 28.78. Individuals within the community were not evenly distributed among the species (EShannon= 0776). Nymphalidae was found to be the most dominant family (48.5%), and Lexias dirtea merguia was the most abundant species recorded with 114 individuals (12%). From the total of eight species protected under Malaysia legislation, one species Trogonoptera brookiana was also listed under CITES Appendix II, while only one protected species Agatasa calydonia calydonia of the family Nymphalidae (the brush-footed or four-footed) was considered rare. Other rare species found in this study included Arhopala lucida, Curetis saronis sumatrana, Miletus nymphis fictus of the family Lycaenidae (the blues, coppers, & hairstreaks), Amathusia perakana perakana, Bassarona teuta goodrichi, Elymnias saueri saueri, Elymnias nesaea, Mycalesis horsfieldi hermana, Mycalesis distanti, Ypthima pandocus tahanensis of the family Nymphalidae (the brush-footed or four-footed), Celaenorrhinus ladanaErionota sybirita, Matapa aria, Matapa cresta, Matapa druna, Pseudokerana fulger, Taractrocera ardonia, Taractrocera luzonensis, Telicota linna, and Unkana mytheca mytheca of the family Hesperiidae (the skippers). The dominance of family Nymphalidae may be due to several factors, including high species diversity, widespread distribution and occurrence, as well as the type of bait used in this study. Besides the Genting Highlands and Taman Negara Johor Endau Rompin, butterfly species at Chemerong Amenity Forest are more diverse than other study sites in Malaysia such as Gunung Serambu, Ulu Gombak Forest Reserve, Setiu Wetlands, Kuala Lompat, Bukit Hampuan Forest Reserve, Sungai Imbak Forest Reserve, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, and Ulu Senagang Substation. Further investigation of aspects such as stratification distribution patterns, host plants and forest dwelling species are recommended for better understanding of butterfly communities in the Chemerong Amenity Forest.

Article Details

How to Cite
Sulaiman, M.H., Mohd Zaki, A.M., Yap, G.C., Aniruddin, N.A. and Chong, J.L. 2022. Butterfly diversity and composition at Chemerong Amenity Forest, Terengganu, Malaysia. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 14, 2 (Feb. 2022), 20584–20596. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.7021.14.2.20584-20596.
Author Biography

Ju Lian Chong, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

Biodiversity Program, Senior Lecturer School of Marine & Environmental Sciences,


Akinori, N., S. Toyohei, H. Yoshiaki, M. Maryati & J.M. Fairus (2001). The butterflies (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) of Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia, II. Nature and Human Activities 6: 67–73. https://www.hitohaku.jp/publication/r-bulletin/Nature%20and%20Human%20Activities%20No.06%202001%20067-073%20optimized.pdf

Asmah, S., A. Ghazali, M. Syafiq, M.S. Yahya, L.P. Tan, A.R. Norhisham, C.L. Puan, B. Azhar, D.B. Lindenmayer (2016). Effects of polyculture and monoculture farming in oil palm smallholdings on tropical fruit-feeding butterfly diversity. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 19(1): 70–80. https://doi.org/10.1111/afe.12182

Ballesteros‐Mejia, L., I.J. Kitching, W. Jetz, P. Nagel & J. Beck (2013). Mapping the biodiversity of tropical insects: species richness and inventory completeness of African sphingid moths. Global Ecology and Biogeography 22(5): 586–595. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12039

Barlow, J., W.L. Overal, I.S. Araujo, T.A. Gardner & C.A. Peres (2007). Quantifying the biodiversity value of tropical primary secondary and plantation forests. Journal of Applied Ecology 44: 1001–1012. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0703333104

Beck, J. (2007). The importance of amino acids in the adult diet of male tropical rainforest butterflies. Oecologia 151: 741–747. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-006-0613-y

Bonebrake, T.C. & R. Sorto (2009). Butterfly (Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea) rapid assessment of a coastal countryside in El Salvador. Tropical Conservation Science 2(1): 34–51. https://doi.org/10.1177/194008290900200106

Bonebrake, T.C., L.C. Ponisio, C.L. Boggs & P.R. Ehrlich (2010). More than just indicators: A review of tropical butterfly ecology and conservation. Biological Conservation 143: 1831–1841. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2010.04.044

Brook, B.W., N.S. Sodhi & P.K.L. Ng (2003). Catastrophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapore. Nature 424: 420–423. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01795

Castelletta, M., N.S. Sodhi & R. Subaraj (2000). Heavy extinctions of forest avifauna in Singapore: lessons for biodiversity conservation in Southeast Asia. Conservation Biology 14: 1870–1880. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.99285.x

Checa, M.F., A. Barragán, J. Rodríguez & M. Christman (2009). Temporal abundance patterns of butterfly communities (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in the Ecuadorian Amazonia and their relationship with climate. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France (Nouvelle série) 45(4): 470–486. https://doi.org/10.1080/00379271.2009.10697630

Chung, A.Y.C., S.K.F. Chew, R. Majapun & R. Nilus (2013). Insect diversity of Bukit Hampuan Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(10): 4461–4473. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3243.4461-73

Corbet, A.S. & H.M. Pendlebury (1992). The Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula. 4th ed. Malayan Nature Society, Malaysia, 595 pp.

DeVries, P.J. (1987). The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA, 288 pp.

Eliot, J. & L. Kirton (2000). Revisional notes and nomenclatural changes of some Peninsular Malaysia butterflies. Malayan Nature Journal 54(2): 131–145.

DeVries, P.J. (1988). Stratification of fruit-feeding nymphalid butterflies in a Costa Rican rainforest. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 26(1–4): 98–108.

Faridah-Hanum, I., S. Khamis, T.A. Manap, S.E. Suterisno, Z.A Latifah, M.N. Mohamad, A.Z. Ibrahim & A. Latiff (2006). An annotated checklist of seed plants at Pasir Raja Forest Reserve. Siri Kepelbagaian Biologi Hutan: Gunung Mandi Angin, Terengganu – Pengurusan, Persekitaran Fizikal, Kepelbagaian Biologi dan Pelancongan Ekologi. (ed. by Muda, A., Jaafar, N., Sabran, M.R., Md.-Som, J., Nizam, M.S. & Latiff, A.), pp. 114–154. Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia, Malaysia.

Fermon, H., M. Waltert, T.B. Larsen, U. Dall’ Asta & M. Mühlenberg (2000). Effects of forest management on diversity and abundance of fruit-feeding nymphalid butterflies in south-eastern Côte d’Ivoire. Journal of Insect Conservation 4: 173–189. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009638808635

Fleming, W.A. (1975). Butterflies of West Malaysia & Singapore. Classey Publications, Berkshire, England, 180 pp.

Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia (2022). Hutan Lipur Chemerong. Accessed on 9 February 2022. https://www.forestry.gov.my/en/terengganu/hutan-lipur-chemerong

Green, E.R., A. Balmford, P.R. Crane, G.M. Mace, J.D. Reynolds & R.K. Turner (2003). A framework for improved monitoring of biodiversity: response to the world summit on sustainable development. Conservation Biology 19: 56–65. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00289.x

Hamer, K.C., J.K. Hill, S. Benedick, N. Mustaffa, V.K. Chey & M. Maryati (2006). Diversity and ecology of carrion- and fruit-feeding butterflies in Bornean rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 22: 25–33. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266467405002750

Haruo, T., S. Haruka, A. Naomi, K. Tomomi & M. Nazirah (2012). Butterfly collections from Ulu Senagang Substation area, Crocker Range Park, Tenom, Sabah, Malaysia (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 9(2): 184–191.

Hau, B.C.H., D. Dudgeon & R. T. Corlett (2005). Beyond Singapore: Hong Kong and Asian biodiversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20: 281–282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2005.04.002

Jalil, M.F., H.H. Mahsol, N. Wahid & A.H. Ahmad (2008). A preliminary survey on the butterfly fauna of Sungai Imbak Forest Reserve, a remote area at the centre of Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 4(1): 115–120.

Koh, L.P. (2007). Impacts of land use change on South-east Asian forest butterflies: a review. Journal of Applied Ecology 44: 703–713. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.01324.x

McKee, J.K., P.W. Sciulli, C.D. Fooce & T.A. Waite (2003). Forecasting global biodiversity threats associated with human population growth. Biological Conservation 115: 161–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00099-5

Min, K.C.H. (2014). Exploring the diversity of butterflies (Lepidoptera) at different elevations at Genting Highlands and the validity of Graphium species in Peninsular Malaysia. M.Sc. dissertation. University of Malaya, viii+77 pp.

Molleman, F., M.E. Alphen, P.M. Brakefield & B.J. Zwaan (2005). Preferences and food quality of fruit-feeding butterflies in Kibale Forest, Uganda. Biotropica 37(4): 657–663.

Molleman, F., J. Ding, J.L. Wang, B.J. Zwaan, J.R. Carey & P.M. Brakefield (2008). Adult diet affects lifespan and reproduction of the fruit-feeding butterfly Charaxes fulvescens. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 129: 54–65. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2008.00752.x

Nur Afny Syazwani, A.Z. & A. Amirrudin (2014). Checklist of butterfly fauna at Kuala Lompat, Krau Wildlife Reserve, Pahang, Malaysia. Journal of Wildlife and Parks 28: 63–72.

Otsuka, K. (2001). A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Borneo and South East Asia. Borneo Book, Malaysia, 224 pp.

Owen, D.F. (1975). Estimating the abundance and diversity of butterflies. Biological Conservation 8: 173–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(75)90061-0

Pang, S.T., A. Sayok & M. Jenang (2016). Diversity of butterflies on Gunung Serambu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Naturalists, Explorers and Field Scientists in South-East Asia and Australasia (ed. by Das, I. & Tuen, A.A), pp. 197–213. Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Phon, C.K. & L.G. Kirton (2010). Conservation of the Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing, one of Malaysia’s natural wonders. Conservation Malaysia 10: 2–3.

Pollard, E. & T.J. Yates (1993). Monitoring butterflies for ecology and conservation. The British Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Chapman & Hall, London, 274 pp.

Rydon, A. (1964). Notes on the use of butterfly traps in East Africa. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 18(1): 51–58.

Sáfián, S., G. Csontos & D. Winkler (2010). Butterfly community recovery in degraded rainforest habitats in the Upper Guinean Forest Zone (Kakum forest, Ghana). Journal of Insect Conservation 15: 351–359. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-010-9343-x

Sekimura, T. & F.H. Nijhout (2019). Diversity and Evolution of Butterfly Wing Patterns: An Integrative Approach. Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd, Singapore, XII+312pp. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-4956-9

Shields, O. (1989). World numbers of butterflies. Journal of Lepidopterists’ Society 43: 178–183.

Sodhi, N.S., L.P. Koh, B.W. Brook & N.P.L. Ng (2004). Southeast Asian biodiversity: an impending disaster. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19: 654–660. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2004.09.006

Sodhi, N.S., M.R.C. Posa, M.L. Tien, D. Bickford, L.P. Koh & B.W. Brook (2010). The state and conservation of Southeast Asian biodiversity. Biodiversity Conservation 19: 317–328. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-009-9607-5

Tamblyn, A., C. Turner & P. Raines (2006). Invertebrates-Butterflies. Malaysia Tropical Forest Conservation Project Report of the Setiu Wetlands Phase: a collaborative project between the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Malaysia (PERHILITAN) and Coral Cay Conservation (ed. by Tamblyn, A., Turner, C. & Raines, P), pp. 80–85. Coral Cay Conservation Ltd, London.

Toivonen, M., A. Peltonen, I. Herzon, J. Heliölä, N. Leikola & M. Kuussaari (2017). High cover of forest increases the abundance of most grassland butterflies in boreal farmland. Insect Conservation and Diversity 10: 321–330. https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12226

Van der Poorten, G. & N. van der Poorten (2020). Corbet, A & Pendlebury, H.’s The Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula

th edition (2020), revised by George Michael van der Poorten & Nancy van der Poorten. Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 492 pp.

Van Lien, V. & D. Yuan (2003). The differences of butterfly (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea) communities in habitats with various degrees of disturbance and altitudes in tropical forests of Vietnam. Biodiversity and Conservation 12(6): 1099–1111. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023038923000

Wilson, J., S. Jisming-See, G. Brandon-Mong, A. Lim, V. Lim, P. Lee & K. Sing (2015). Citizen Science: The First Peninsular Malaysia Butterfly Count. Biodiversity Data Journal 3: e7159. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.3.e7159.

Wittemyer, G., P. Elsen, W.T. Bean, A.C.O. Burton & J.S. Brashares (2008). Accelerated human population growth at protected area edges. Science 321: 123–126. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1158900

Yap, G.C., S.M. Hafiz & J.L. Chong (2018). A preliminary butterfly (Lepidoptera) checklist of the Terengganu National Park, Peninsular Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal 70(1): 67–70.

Zaidi, M.I. & S. Abin (1991). Fauna kupu-kupu: Kesan pembalakan dan penenggelaman. The Fourth National Biology Symposium. Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia.