A decline and loss in biodiversity have been reported for decades and the major responsible factors are considered to be habitat destruction and habitat loss via agriculture and chemical use, urban development and forestry (Longley and Sotherton 1997, Brook et al. 2003, Fahrig 2003, Faggi et al. 2008). In this context, preserving semi-natural grasslands, which are one of the most species-rich habitats in Europe, is a conservation target of high priority (Rakosy and Schmitt 2011).
Both biotic and abiotic components of semi-natural grasslands affect abundance and distribution of butterflies and moths. Studies show that presence and quality of host plants and nectar sources are essential for the insects (Ravenscroft 1994, Corbet 2000, Baz 2002). Burnet moths are of particular conservation concern as, though their distribution is wide, most Zygaena species have specific habitat requirements regarding nectar sources and host plants (Zarzycki and Dabrowski 1986, Sarin and Bergman 2010). Besides importance of the habitat patch, recent research also emphasises the role of landscape matrix for abundance and distribution of the species (Prevedello and Vieira 2010).
The aim of the current study was to evaluate how local habitat characteristics like nectar sources, host plants and other environmental parameters as well as landscape composition of different land uses at various scales affect the occurrence of adult burnet moths: Zygaena filipendulae (Linnaeus, 1758), Zygaena lonicerae (Scheven, 1777), Zygaena osterodensis(Reiss, 1921) and Zygaena viciae (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775). The results may be used for developing management plans to conserve the burnet moths and biodiversity of semi-natural grasslands.
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Last updated: 05/03/16