Evaluation of the population size of Alcon Blue Phengaris alcon (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) and its conservation status in western part of Ljubljansko barje

Authors

  • Mitja Močilar
  • Rudi Verovnik

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14720/abs.63.1.15902

Keywords:

Phengaris alcon, distribution, conservation, threats

Abstract

We surveyed all known historical sites and potential suitable habitats of Alcon Blue based on satellite images in the western part of Ljubljansko barje. The species was present only in the area between Vrhnika and Ligojna. In this area two habitat patches were occupied by Alcon Blue at the distance of 300 meters. The population size was determined with MRR (mark-release-recapture) method and egg counting method on the host plants the Marsh Gentians. Even though the habitat patches are relatively close to each other, we have not observed any migrations between them. However, we recorded some individuals outside both habitat patches. The MRR method gave us the estimate of daily population sizes for habitat patch A between 50 and 130 individuals, and approximately 50 for patch B. Total estimated size of population A and B was around 30 individuals according to egg counting method. We determined that the density of the eggs and adult specimens was smaller and daily population sizes were larger on the bigger habitat patch. The main reason for this observation is probably the shortage of host plants on the smaller habitat patch, because all surrounding meadows were mowed during the flowering of the Marsh Gentians. We also observed that the females prefer to oviposit nearer to the centres of the habitat patches. Besides mowing during the flight period, the two main factors that negatively affect the population Alcon Blue in the studied area, are habitat fragmentation and hydro-melioration measures that permanently lower the levels of groundwater which changes the species habitat.

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Published

01.07.2020

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Original Research Paper

How to Cite

Močilar, M., & Verovnik, R. (2020). Evaluation of the population size of Alcon Blue Phengaris alcon (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) and its conservation status in western part of Ljubljansko barje. Acta Biologica Slovenica, 63(1), 3-15. https://doi.org/10.14720/abs.63.1.15902

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