Effects of seasons on species composition, abundance and diversity of wildfauna brought for sale at Omagwa bushmeat market in Rivers State, Nigeria, was studied in 2018 for a period of seven months covering the Late Dry Season (January to February), Early Rainy Season (March to May) and the Peak Rainy Season (June to July). Enumerations of species of wildfauna brought for sale in the market were carried out twice in a month during this study. A total of 1888 individuals belonging to 15 species were enumerated during the period. Thryonomys swinderianus (Cane Rat) was the most abundant species in all the seasons while Herpestes ichneumon (Egyptian mongoose) was the second most abundant species during the Early and Peak Rainy Seasons, and Cricetomys emini (Emin's giant rat) the second most abundant during the Late Dry Season. The least abundant species was Python regius (Royal python) followed by Vulpas vulpas (Fox), and Crocodylus niloticus (Crocodile) respectively. The average monthly abundance of wildfauna was 5.19 % and 35.39 % higher during the Peak Rainy Season than during the Early Rainy Season and the Late Dry Season, respectively. Average monthly species diversity was generally low with the Late Dry Season having the highest index (Shannon H = 1.94) followed by Early Rainy Season (Shannon H = 1.87) and the Peak Rainy Season (Shannon H = 1.86). Average monthly species richness was 12, 12.67, and 13 species for the Late Dry Season, the Early Rainy Season, and the Peak Rainy Season, respectively. Similarity in species composition was high between months across seasons and ranged from 70% (February/June) to 96% (March/July & April/July). The seasonal effect on wildfauna brought to the market for sale was more distinct on species abundance than on species composition and diversity.
Keywords: Wildfauna trade, seasonal population dynamics, species richness, diversity, Omagwa