Articles

NEW RECORDS OF MOTHS ELUCIDATE THE IMPORTANCE OF FORESTSAS BIODIVERSITY HOT-SPOTS IN CENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN LANDSCAPES(LEPIDOPTERA)


Abstract


In this paper we report new faunistic findings concerning 15 moth species collected in forested habitats ofCalabria and Sicily regions, South Italy. Most interesting records concerned Eupithecia trisignariaand Orectisproboscidata,both recorded for the first time in southern Italy. Species with larval biology linked to the forest coverwere locally common, whilst species linked to herbaceous plants and shrubs were often collected as singletons or in onelocality, showing smaller populations. A study of a 658bp long sequence of the mitochondrial 5’ cytochrome oxidasegene, subunit 1 (COI) (barcoding analysis) was performed for five species, two of them showing a divergence fromclosest populations near to 1%, one a 2% divergence from northern populations, and two other species a perfect identitywith European populations. This study reinforced the role of forest habitats as biodiversity hot-spots in theMediterranean Basin and the importance of the Italian peninsula for biodiversity conservation at European scale as anincreased number of endemic or sub-endemic taxa and populations with endemic genetic lineages are recognized,underlining the existence of ongoing evolutionary processes. In the light of these results, faunistic surveys in forestecosystems are strongly needed to define sustainable management strategies.

Keywords

barcoding, faunistic inventories, forest management, protected areas, Italy

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