University of Oulu

Sistri, G., Menchetti, M., Santini, L., Pasquali, L., Sapienti, S., Cini, A., Platania, L., Balletto, E., Barbero, F., Bonelli, S., Casacci, L.P., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Mantoni, C., Fattorini, S. and Dapporto, L. (2022), The isolated Erebia pandrose Apennine population is genetically unique and endangered by climate change. Insect Conserv Divers, 15: 136-148.

The isolated Erebia pandrose Apennine population is genetically unique and endangered by climate change

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Author: Sistri, Ginevra1; Menchetti, Mattia2; Santini, Luca3;
Organizations: 1ZEN Lab, Dipartimento di Biologia dell'Università di Firenze, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
2Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC - Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
3Department of Biology and Biotechnologies “Charles Darwin”, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
4Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, University College London, London, UK
5Institut Botànic de Barcelona (IBB, CSIC - Ajuntament de Barcelona), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
6Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy
7Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
8Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
9Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 6.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-03-08


1. Climate change is causing shifts in the distribution of many species and populations inhabiting mountain tops are particularly vulnerable to these threats because they are constrained in altitudinal shifts. Apennines are a relatively narrow and low mountain chain located in Southern Europe, which hosts many isolated populations of mountain species. The butterfly Erebia pandrose was recorded for the last time in the Apennines in 1977, on the top of a single massif (Monti della Laga).

2. We confirmed the presence of a small, isolated population of E. pandrose in the Apennines, at a distance of more than 400 km to any other known populations. Then, we examined the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 mitochondrial DNA marker of this species across the Palaearctic area and estimated the potential decline over the Alps and the Apennines due to future climatic changes.

3. The Apennine population represents an endemic lineage characterised by eight mutations over the 658 bp analysed (1.2%). In the Alps and Apennines, this species has shifted uphill more than 3 m per year since the end of the 19th century and more than 22 m per year since 1995. Species distribution models suggested that these mountain populations will experience a generalised loss of climatic suitability, which, according to our projections, could lead to the extinction of the Apennine population in a few decades.

4. Erebia pandrose has the potential to become a flagship species for advertising the risk of losing unique fractions of genetic diversity for mountain species.

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Series: Insect conservation and diversity
ISSN: 1752-458X
ISSN-E: 1752-4598
ISSN-L: 1752-458X
Volume: 15
Issue: 1
Pages: 136 - 148
DOI: 10.1111/icad.12538
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: This study has been carried out in collaboration with the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga and funded by the project: ‘Ricerca e conservazione sui lepidotteri diurni di sei Parchi Nazionali dell'Appennino centro-settentrionale’. Support for this research was also provided by ‘La Caixa’ Foundation (ID 100010434) to M.M. (grant LCF/BQ/DR20/11790020), by the Academy of Finland to V.D. (Academy Research Fellow, decision no. 328895) and by project PID2019-107078GB-I00/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 to R.V. V.D. acknowledges the Visiting Professor fellowship awarded by the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest. Open Access Funding provided by Universita degli Studi di Firenze within the CRUI-CARE Agreement.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 328895
Detailed Information: 328895 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.