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Phengaris alcon ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)   

Names in Tolman & Lewington (1997): Maculinea alcon, Maculinea rebeli

Systematics: The taxon rebeli Hirschke, 1904, described from the Alps, has been considered a separate species from alcon due to supposed ecological differences in habitat choice and larval hosts. However, recent molecular analysis shows that the two taxa are conspecific. This is evident also in the lack of constant external differences and the presence of transitional ecotypes between the hygrophilous alcon and the xerophilous rebeli in E Europe, incl. Bulgaria (Kolev 2002b).

Range: C and partly S and N Europe, temperate Asia.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Very local mostly in mountains up to ca. 2100 ì a.s.l., but also found in lowland karst regions of NE Bulgaria at ca. 200 m.

Habitat: Stony places mostly in calcareous terrain: grassy meadows, forest glades, mountain slopes, etc.

Bionomics: One generation in June and July. Young larvae feed on Gentiana asclepiadea and G. cruciata (personal observations, Kolev 2002b) until they are adopted by ants of certain species of genus Myrmica, after which they develop in the ant nest (Tolman & Lewington 1997).

Conservation status: A local and generally rare species, though not directly threatened. IUCN category: Lower risk, near threatened. Declining in W and C Europe due to adverse changes in traditional land management, listed in The Red Data Book of European Butterflies as Vulnerable.



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