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Phengaris nausithous (Bergsträsser, 1779)   

Name in Tolman & Lewington (1997): Maculinea nausithous
 

Range: C Europe to W Siberia, with isolated populations in Spain, Bulgaria, Caucasus and NE Turkey.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Known only from the southern suburbs of Sofia in the lower slopes of Lyulin and Vitosha (Gorna Banya, Suhodol, Vladaya and Boyana).

Habitat: Grassy and bushy meadows with Sanguisorba officinalis, Bulgarian habitats are drier than what is considered typical of this species in its main range (Kolev 2002b).

Bionomics: One generation from late June till August. Young larvae feed on Sanguisorba officinalis until they are adopted by ants of certain species of genus Myrmica, after which they develop in the ant nest (Tolman & Lewington 1997). The most likely host ant species for Bulgarian populations (judging by range coincidence) appears to be Myrmica bessarabica and not any of the two hosts (Myrmica rubra or M. scabrinodis) identified so far in W and C Europe  (Kolev 2002b).

Conservation status: A very local and rare species with an extremely restricted range in Bulgaria. IUCN category: Endangered (Kolev 2002b). Declining in W and C Europe due to habitat destruction and adverse changes in traditional land management. Listed in Appendix II of the Bern Convention (CITES) and in The Red Data Book of European Butterflies as Vulnerable.

 

 
 
 
 

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