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Verovnik R.,University of Ljubljana | Popovic M.,HabiProt | Sasic M.,Croatian Natural History Museum | Cuvelier S.,Vlaamse Vereniging voor Entomologie | Maes D.,Research Institute for Nature and Forest INBO
Journal of Insect Conservation | Year: 2014

The Brown's Grayling (Pseudochazara amymone) is one of the most enigmatic and sought after species among European butterflies. Hiding its exact distribution for almost 40 years with the idea of protecting it, resulted in an increasing collector's interest, with market prices reaching up to 1,000 euro for a single female after its discovery in Albania. Aiming to demystify this butterfly and enable entomologists and conservationists to see the species in its natural environment, we provide detailed information on its distribution in south-eastern Albania. In addition, we modelled the potential species distribution to facilitate further surveys within its potential range. The modelled range of P. amymone is highly fragmented stretching from the central part of eastern Albania to northern Greece and is strongly bound to ophiolite geological strata. The species was re-assessed as Endangered according to the IUCN criteria, with a predicted population decline due to construction of hydroelectric power plants in one of the locations. We argue that hiding valuable information regarding threatened insect species may have negative effects and we advocate publishing available distribution data so that conservation measures may be undertaken where and when necessary. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Source

Sasic M.,Croatian Natural History Museum | Popovic M.,HabiProt | Cuvelier S.,Vlaamse Vereniging voor Entomologie | Duric M.,HabiProt | And 11 more authors.
Nota Lepidopterologica | Year: 2015

Albanian insect fauna is one of the least studied in Europe. In 2012 and 2013 surveys were undertaken with the aim of improving the knowledge of the distribution of butterflies, particularly in the southern part of the country. This research has resulted in the publication of three new species records for Albania. Here we add two new species to the list of native butterflies of Albania, Melitaea ornata Christoph, 1893 and Cupido alcetas (Hoffmannsegg, 1804). We recorded a total of 143 species including several confirmations of historical published records. The total number of species has consequently increased to 198, which is comparable with butterfly diversity in neighbouring countries. Unlike its neighbours, Albania has preserved many of its traditional agricultural practices and consequently its rich fauna has been well protected during the last decades. However, with the opening up of the country to outside influences this will undoubtedly change as the process of intensification has already started in more populated coastal areas. It is therefore imperative to identify important butterfly areas in need of conservation and to take decisive measures to preserve traditional agricultural practices. Source

Cuvelier S.,Vlaamse Vereniging voor Entomologie | Molgaard M.,Gertrud Rasks Vej 86
Nota Lepidopterologica | Year: 2015

For the first time a comparison of variable external characters of a series of males and females of Pseudochazara amymone (Brown, 1976) from southern Albania is conducted. Pseudochazara amymone, flying together with P. mniszechii tisiphone (Brown, 1980), was local and quite common in steep valleys on ophiolite substrate on two separate mountains, one of which is a recently discovered locality by Eckweiler (2012), while the other one is a new locality. An analysis of external characters of all specimens from the two localities suggests no statistically significant differences. In the field, patrolling P. amymone males are easily distinguished from P. mniszechii tisiphone males but this is not the case for females, and therefore we provide determination keys for males and females of these two species. These are based on a statistical analysis of a specimen series from one Albanian P. mniszechii tisiphone population compared with all P. amymone in this study. Photographs of androconia, copula and some extreme forms of P. amymone are presented. To encourage further research in this poorly explored country a map is included, showing all historical records of Papilionoidea from literature, including our own observations. Source

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