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The habitat preferences of the butterfly fauna were studied in the Bumbuna Forest Reserve in northern Sierra Leone. The intact forest reserve and a secondary forest regrowth, disturbed as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture, were compared to savanna habitats. Of the 290 specimens collected, 195 butterfly species were included, of which significant proportion were Nymphalidae. Of the 147 forest species, 111 (75.5%) showed preferences for the forest habitats, while 70 (47.6%) and 34 (23.1%) preferred disturbed and savannah habitats, respectively. Numerically, a comparable proportion of savannah species were recorded in the 18 disturbed (73.9%) and 16 savannah habitats (63.2%). Accumulated species richness and diversity indices were lower in the disturbed habitats compared to the forest reserve, but lowest in the savanna habitats. However, a large proportion of forest species, especially those with either a more restricted geographic range or species for which no information on geographic distribution was available, were exclusively captured in the forest patches. The survey indicated the presence of a rich butterfly fauna, which should be systematically collected for further research and study in order to build a good taxonomic database for Sierra Leone.
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