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Dry season assemblage sampling (Feb. 2022)

Sampling effort encompassed the period from 11/2 to 20/2 which included one day to set the traps. Banana bait had already been produced and left to ferment for 48 hours prior to our arrival so sampling took place on 12/2 for nine days.The two transects used for the PhD (Kirumya and Red Monkey trails) were once again the preferred locations for this period of dry season butterfly sampling, with a view to their utilisation for a long-term monitoring project which had already been proposed to UWA. 14 traps were placed at each transect with a 50m distance between traps and one fermented banana was used per trap and replaced every 48 hours. Total sampling time of both transects usually took between 4 to 5 hours of travelling and sampling combined.

A remarkable 72 species were recorded, just under 50% of the total recorded species of the fruit-feeding butterfly assemblage of Semuliki National Park. Just under 25% of the species recorded were from the genus Bicyclus (19 species). It was noted that a predominant number of individuals that made up the sampling each day were freshly hatched and either one or two days old, where scale loss and wing damage were minimal.

A detailed report was submitted to the department of Research and Monitoring at UWA HQ in Kampala.

Website development

Image upload of field images from the fruit-feeding assemblage and non fruit-feeders is now complete. Images from the field that are not available for  the few fruit-feeding species will be targeted when the long-term monitoring project is hopefully  initiated in the near future. Further park sampling during annual visits to the park will target species from the Families Lycaenidae and Hesperiidae are significantly under-represented.

Mobile app development

A mobile app has now been developed to allow identification of more than 85% of the fruit-feeding butterfly species in the field. With the most relevant butterfly id guide for Semuliki being 'Les Papillons du Zaire' by Lucien Berger, a new efficient and cheap alternative was considered necessary. A prototype (see video of functionality below) has been completed and this app functionality can be replicated to use for butterfly identification for other forests or protected areas in Africa.

App functionality takes three forms:

Identify a species
Identify a species from 6 genera: Euphaedra, Bebearia, Cymothoe, Bicyclus, Euriphene and Charaxes. Choosing a species by tapping on a species image will then show the selected species; male and female upper and underside: B. abesa here is the example. There is extra space if there are any species colour forms.

Upload an image
Images can be captured in the field and uploaded in real time if there is a network or an image can be taken in the field and then uploaded later from the cameras image gallery if there is no network in the field.

Connect to website
If further id clarification is required and there is a network then the app can connect to the semulikibutterflies website and a the relevant species search can bring up other examples of species images.

The app will also allow species images taken at Semuliki to be uploaded to a Semuliki National Park butterfly database to allow any new records or image records to be added to the website, assuming permission of the copyright holder.

I would like to thank Mr Taha Butt, an app developer from (tahabutt96) who contributed to its development, predominantly its backend functionality and optimisation. His commitment to producing fast and efficient functionality to what was initially created was a testament to his skill. A highly recommended app developer.

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