Why Calabria and Basilicata?
Basilicata and Calabria are located in a key position inside the Mediterranean since they link two of the genetically richest areas of Europe. Preliminary results of Italian Barcoding indicated that southern Apennines represent a keystone where, following a complex climatic evolution in the last millennia, lineages belonging to different regions (Sicily, Alpes, Balkans) met. Describing this diversity is the starting point to plan specific conservation actions based on strict biogeographic and genetic analyses.
The researches belonging to different countries will meet in Rome to reach the first study area.
1st area: Monte Vulture
The lepidopteran fauna of Monte Vulture comprises species of great biogeographic interest. The most interesting elements are Melitaea diamina ssp. nigrovulturis and Ephydryas aurinia ssp. lucana, described as endemic italian subspecies in 1968 by Hartig. The taxonomic and conservation status of this populations need to be clarified. Moreover, the peculiar characteristics of the Vulture area could have favoured the existence of other typical species and lineages.
2nd area: Murgia Materana
This area is dominated by a typical xeric mediterranean vegetations. Collections in this area will allow to survey also this kind of environment during the Butterfly Week. Moreover, this area is almost unexplored for butterflies and surprises can emerge.
3rd area: Pollino National Park
The Pollino area hosts a highly interesting butterfly fauna. There can be found several species linked to high altitude environments like Erebia cassioides and E. gorge, together with many species with high conservation value (Melanargia arge, Parnassius mnemosyne, Maculinea arion, etc). The local population of the Lycaenid Polyommatus ripartii is strongly differentiated and is considered as a separated species Polyommatus galloi (Balletto & Toso, 1979) by several authors. Some species like Chazara briseis and Erebia gorge have not been recorded in the last decades, thus suggesting the potential for local extintion. Many other species show in this area their southern distribution limit in Italy.
4th area: Sila Greca
Several interesting butterflies can be found at different altitudes in this area, like Melitaea aetherie showing for the low altitude sector of this area the only known population in the Italian peninsula. Other interesting species occur in the warm environments of Sila Greca (Hyponephele lupina, Zerynthia cassandra, Cupido argiades and Melanargia arge).
5th area: Sila National Park
The Sila highland hosts the only apenninic population of Brenthis ino. Other interesting species can be found here, like Anthocaris damone, Parnassius mnemosyne, Zerynthia cassandra, Maculinea arion e Melanargia arge. Moreover, Parnassius apollo was recorded by Stauder (1915-1916) and its presence still requires confirmation.
Some fast collections on Monte Sirino before the return trip to Rome.