The importance of beech forests as reservoirs of moth diversity in Mediterranean Basin (Lepidoptera)

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Marco Infusino *
Stefano Scalercio
(*) Corresponding Author:
Marco Infusino |


Study analyzes the macrolepidoptera assemblages in beech woodlands of the Orsomarso Mountains (Pollino National Park, Southern Italy) to assess the role of beech forests in preserving diversity in Mediterranean Basin. Research was run between 2015 and 2016 in 15 stands representative of the main successional stages of forest maturation, placed between 990 and 1,475 meters of elevation. Monthlybased sampling was performed using UV-LED light traps. A total of 33,957 individuals belonging to 410 species was collected. The community is rich and the most abundant and characteristic species (Eilema lurideola, Operophtera fagata, Campaea margaritata) are almost all trophically linked to broadleaves or lichens. The community structure appears fairly constant and recognizable in all stands over the two years of sampling. Young beech forests hosted the greatest number of species compared to other forest maturation stages, though the difference is small. The greatest differences in the community structure are found in the clearings, where generalist and/or related to the herbaceous layer species are mostly represented. Biogeographically widely distributed species prevail, 87% of them having European or Asian-European distribution. There are a number of species of faunistic interest, among which Perizoma juracolaria, Chelis maculosa, Tiliacea citrago, Poecilocampa populi, Triphosa dubitata, Sideridis reticulata, Nebula senectaria, including 13 Italian endemics such as Coenotephria antonii. Populations of many species show significant genetic diversities compared to other European populations. The Orsomarso Mountains beech forests represent an important biodiversity reservoir, even at the genetic level, and show a good degree of naturalness.

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