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Type: Article
Published: 2021-09-16
Page range: 1–12
Abstract views: 529
PDF downloaded: 9

Using occurrence data to evaluate extinction reveals a strong resilience of butterflies in a National Park of Southern Europe (Alta Murgia National Park)

World Biodiversity Association onlus, c/o Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Lungadige Porta Vittoria, 9 37129 Verona, Italy
Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Oncologia Umana, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, piazza Giulio Cesare, 70124 Bari, Italy
ZEN Lab, Dipartimento di Biologia dell’Università di Firenze, via Madonna del Piano 6 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Fondazione per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile, via Garigliano 61a, Roma, Italy
ZEN Lab, Dipartimento di Biologia dell’Università di Firenze, via Madonna del Piano 6 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Via Di Corticella n. 85 - 40128 Bologna, Italy
Fondazione per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile, via Garigliano 61a, Roma, Italy
Parco Nazionale dell’Alta Murgia, via Firenze 10 70024 Gravina in Puglia, Italy
ZOOLAB, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Via Accademia Albertina 13, 10123 Turin, Italy
ZEN Lab, Dipartimento di Biologia dell’Università di Firenze, via Madonna del Piano 6 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
butterflies Parco Nazionale dell’Alta Murgia Occurrence data extinction Rarity


Butterflies from southernmost European regions encompass a large fraction of faunistic and genetic diversity but are also at the forefront of extinction risk for climate change. Nevertheless, monitoring schemes aimed at detecting their population trends were only recently established. In this study, we gathered all occurrence records of the 81 species of butterflies recorded for the Alta Murgia National Park (Italy, Apulia), a prime conservation area for butterflies. By using literature, citizen science, and unpublished sample data, we traced potential extinctions since 1966. We also provided a dedicated index to evaluate the potential extinction at the whole community level. We found that among the 29 species recorded before 2009, three were not recovered from 2009 to 2021. Another group of nine species was not recorded in the last five years. However, given the not standardized sampling methodology and the possibility that apparently disappeared species were due to inaccurate identification, we conclude that the butterfly community of the Park is showing a strong resilience. We hypothesize that such resilience may be attributed to the existence of the protected area and the presence of heterogeneous environments, which allow to buffer climatic changes and any other negative anthropic effects. The objective recognition of rare species in the surrounding region of 200 km ray also allowed identifying which species should be considered as prime targets for the conservation of local and regional diversity.


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