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Type: Article
Published: 2024-05-23
Page range: 31-48
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Filling the gaps: surveys in extreme habitats within an underexplored territory rapidly increase the knowledge on the distribution of nocturnal Lepidoptera in South Italy

Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, Rende, Italy. Via Settimio Severo 85, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, Rende, Italy. Via Settimio Severo 85, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, Rende, Italy. Via Settimio Severo 85, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
moths biodiversity species range monitoring Calabria region


The availability of data regarding local and regional biodiversity inventories are gaining an increasing importance because of the lack of basic knowledge makes difficult to study ecological dynamics promoted by environmental and climatic changes. In this paper we demonstrate that to prioritize the exploration of extreme habitats within underexplored territories accelerate the filling of faunistic gaps. We investigated the fauna of Lepidoptera of two areas in southern Italy characterized by extreme habitats: the Calanchi del Marchesato and the mouth of the Neto River, both located in the Calabria region, Crotone province, a territory with scarce and occasional faunistic investigations. After only one year of monthly surveys, we found 22 species of biogeographical interest at both national and regional levels. Eupithecia lentiscata was discovered in the Italian peninsula for the first time, previously recorded only in Sardinia so far, and E. phoeniceata was found for the first time in southern part of continental territory, being known in Italy only for Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, Abruzzo, and Sicily. Seven more species are new for the regional fauna. Furthermore, we also found seven abundant populations of usually rare species, and six more species were confirmed as rare at regional level. For any of these species we provided a measure of filled gaps. These results, also improved the knowledge concerning two Natura 2000 sites, providing insights on their management. To maximise results minimising field efforts and costs, it is very important to carefully select the study areas.


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