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Erebia rhodopensis Nicholl, 1900   


Systematics: Until very recently this well-differentiated species was treated as a subspecies of the similar Erebia aethiopella Hoffmannsegg, 1806 from the W Alps. It was described from a part of Rila that at the time was considered a part of Rhodopi; contrary to its species name does not occur in Rhodopi proper (Kolev 2002a).

Range: An endemic of the Balkan Peninsula whose range lies mostly within Bulgarian borders. Elsewhere occurs in some mountains of E Albania, SW Serbia, Macedonia and NW Greece.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Rila, N Pirin and C Stara Planina, from 1900 to over 2900 m a.s.l.

Habitat: Stony, grassy upper subalpine and alpine slopes and ridge crests.

Bionomics: One generation flying from July till September. Larval host-plants: grasses (Poaceae).

Conservation status: This remarkable endemic species is one of the most interesting and emblematic butterflies in the Bulgarian fauna. It has a very restricted range and, despite not being directly threatened at present, must be considered vulnerable and of high conservation interest owing ot its endemic nature. IUCN category: Vulnerable. One of the four Lepidoptera species protectd by law in Bulgaria. Its inclusion into the Red Data Book of Bulgaria is herewith recommended.




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