University of Oulu

Bonifacino, M., Pasquali, L., Sistri, G. et al. Climate change may cause the extinction of the butterfly Lasiommata petropolitana in the Apennines. J Insect Conserv 26, 959–972 (2022).

Climate change may cause the extinction of the butterfly Lasiommata petropolitana in the Apennines

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Author: Bonifacino, Marco1; Pasquali, Lorenzo1; Sistri, Ginevra1;
Organizations: 1ZEN Lab, Department of Biology, University of Florence, 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
4ZOOLAB, Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
5Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 6.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-04-26


Climate change represents a threat to narrow-ranged mountain species living in low-altitude massifs. We studied the disjunct Apennine population of Lasiommata petropolitana (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae) in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. We quantified the altitudinal shifts undergone in the last decades (1964–2021) in the Alps and Apennines and estimated the local extinction risk due to climate change. We also sequenced the COI mitochondrial marker of seven Apennine specimens, comparing them with those available across the Palearctic. We projected the probability of presence for the species under a future climatic scenario using an ensemble forecasting approach. We found that, despite geographical isolation, the Apennine population of L. petropolitana displays a single widespread COI haplotype also occurring in most European populations. In the Alps and Apennines, this species has shifted uphill an average of 6.3 m per year since 1964. Accordingly, our model predicted a likely extinction in the Apennines by about 2060, due to a reduction of the climatic suitability in this region.

Implications for insect conservation: Implications for insect conservation Despite its potential loss in the Apennines would not erode mitochondrial diversity, L. petropolitana characterises the butterfly community of the Gran Sasso massif as an alpine enclave. The loss of the Apennine population, together with those of other orophilous butterflies, could trigger a homogenization of alpha and beta diversity and induce a loss of functional diversity in the impoverished high-altitude biotas. As habitat heterogeneity is a key aspect for populations to endure climate change, the maintenance of varied microhabitats, mainly through grazing management, could address the decline of this population.

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Series: Journal of insect conservation
ISSN: 1366-638X
ISSN-E: 1572-9753
ISSN-L: 1366-638X
Volume: 26
Issue: 6
Pages: 959 - 972
DOI: 10.1007/s10841-022-00441-z
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was funded by the Ministero Italiano della Transizione Ecologica within the project “Ricerca e conservazione sui lepidotteri diurni di sei Parchi Nazionali dell’Appennino Centro-Settentrionale”. Support was also provided by the Academy of Finland (Academy Research Fellow, decision no. 328895) to VD. RV is supported by Grant PID2019-107078 GB-I00 funded by Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and Agencia Estatal de Investigación (MCIN/AEI/
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 328895
Detailed Information: 328895 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022, The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.