Original Research

Importance of vegetation analysis in the conservation management of the endangered butterfly Aloeides dentatis dentatis (Swierstra) (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae)

M.S. Deutschlander, G.J. Bredenkamp
Koedoe | Vol 42, No 2 | a229 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v42i2.229 | © 1999 M.S. Deutschlander, G.J. Bredenkamp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 1999 | Published: 31 July 1999

About the author(s)

M.S. Deutschlander, University of Pretoria, South Africa
G.J. Bredenkamp, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

The study of the vegetation of the Ruimsig Entomological Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa revealed four plant communities one of which could be subdivided into two subcommunities and variants. The extensive climax stage of the vegetation represented by the Themeda triandra - Trachypogon spicatus grassland was found to be too dense and tall to support the butterfly Aloeides dentatis dentatis and the host ant Lepisiota capensis (Mayr). A degraded phase caused by succession in an area where pipes have been laid was found to be ideal habitat for both ant and butterfly. This vegetation also contained adequate numbers of the food plant Hermannia depressa. A serai community with tall- growing Hyparrhenia hirta was also found to be an unsuitable habitat for the butterfly. The identification of the preferred ideal habitat for the host ant and butterfly resulted in the compilation of a conservation management strategy that ensured the survival of the rare and endangered butterfly.

Keywords

disturbance, fire, grassland, habitat, phytosociology, Aloeides dentatis dentatis.

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