Mosaic landscapes provide conservation pockets for an endangered species: Colias myrmidone in Romania

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


  • Jacqueline Loos
  • Cindy Schröer
  • Thomas Becker
  • Agnes Kastal
  • Elena Kortmann
  • Matthias Dolek

Biodiversity in European agricultural landscapes is at stake, with many once widespread species now being endangered, extinct or confined to few areas. So is the Danube Clouded Yellow butterfly, Colias myrmidone, with few populations left in three Eastern European countries, namely Poland, Slovakia and Romania. However, ecological understanding of its relationship to environmental conditions and land-use practises is piecemeal. Here, we quantify the environmental conditions determining the distribution of C. myrmidone for some of its last known strongholds in Romania. We performed random stratified searches for the butterfly and its hostplant Chamaecytisus sp. in and around three Natura 2000 sites in Transylvania, which we have subdivided into 100 × 100 m grid cells. During 2016–2019, we observed C. myrmidone in 1765 grid cells. Logistic regression modelling related the presence of C. myrmidone and its hostplant to temperature, precipitation, slope, distance to forest, land cover and aspect. The butterfly was more likely to occur with higher temperatures and higher precipitation and was associated with flat and slightly inclined slopes near forests. Furthermore, the probability was higher on grasslands, pastures and in agricultural mosaic landscapes compared to arable land and forests, with a preference for an Eastern and north-western aspect. We extrapolated these findings to predict potential other areas of occurrences with a precision of 91%. Our resulting map may be useful for conservationists to prioritise assessments and area-based conservation strategies for safeguarding this highly endangered species also outside the designated Natura 2000 sites.

ZeitschriftInsect Conservation and Diversity
Seiten (von - bis)359-369
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 05.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for financial support by G?ttingen University (2017?2018) with support from the agroecology lab by Teja Tscharntke. The study benefited from results from the project ?Conservation of the Danube Clouded Yellow Colias myrmidone in Romania?, which was funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry's Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) and supervised by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the German Environment Agency. The authors are grateful to the European Butterfly Group for their financial contributions and their volunteer engagement. The authors acknowledge the field support by Amy Newhouse, Juliane Gallersd?rfer, Katrin Bogner, Michael Hemauer, Hans Hedrich and Andreia Sidor and the authors appreciate the thoughtful advice by Peter Lengyel, L?szl? R?kosy, Florin Pacurar, Mareike Vischer-Leopold, Katharina Lenz, Marcin Sielezniew and Izabela Dzieka?ska. For their contribution of field observations, we thank Rudi Verovnik, Chris van Swaay, Irma Wynhoff and Toni Koschuh. Jonas B?rsch kindly supported the compilation of the predicted suitable habitat map. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society.