Sacred groves in Africa have been widely adopted as an important strategy to assuage the loss of biodiversity. This has led to the protection of sacred groves (which are virgin forest with rich diversity) for their cultural, religious beliefs and taboos. This study represents the first butterfly survey of the Umuaja sacred grove and this was done with the aim of determining the diversity and abundance of butterflies in the grove as an estimate of the ecological status of the protected area. Sweep nets, fruit and rotten fish-baited traps were used to sample the butterflies from March – May, 2017. A total of 72 individuals, representing 14 species in 3 families (Nymphalidae Pieridae and Lyacenidae) were recorded in this study. Nymphalidae (92%) was the highest in terms of species richness (78.6%) and abundance (91.7) while Lycaenidae was the least (3%). Charaxes boueti (a typical bamboo forest species) was dominant with relative abundance of 30.6. Several forest indicator species such as the Melanitis leda, Bicyclus evadne elionas, Charaxes varanes, Melanitis libya, Eurema hecabe and Mylothris chloris were also recorded. Therefore, Umuaja sacred grove was considered to be in stable ecological condition based on the species composition, diversity and the species richness.
Key Words: Butterfly, Diversity, Sacred Grove, Forest, Ecological Status