Entomologica Romanica Vol. 24 / 2020


Ent omol ogic a romanica 24: 5-18, 2020 ISSN 2601-7105 online / ISSN 1224-2594 print / doi: 10.24193/entomolrom.24.1 Contributions to the knowledge of the Lepidoptera of Vlăsia Plain (Muntenia, Romania) Introduction The study of the lepidoptera fauna of the Vlăsia Plain (part of larger Muntenia) began in the late 19th century, mainly with the recording of the butterflies and macromoths collected in and around București, the country’s capital city (Caradja 1895, Fleck 1900). Gradually, interest shifted to also include micromoth populations in studies by Caradja (1901), Popescu (1938), and Popescu-Gorj (1964). These laid the groundwork for the current knowledge of the lepidoptera fauna of București and its surroundings. Unfortunately, this activity came to a halt in the mid- 1960s and was not resumed until the late 1990s, with the work of Székely (1998, 2002, and 2011). The present study, which primarily documents species collected from 1979 to 1982, attempts to fill this 30- year gap in the monitoring of lepidoptera populations of București and its surroundings. Material and methods The lepidoptera surveying activities reported in this paper extend over a period of 47 years, from 1966 to 2013. During this time, we investigated 19 sites in four counties situated on the Vlăsia Plain (Ilfov, Dâmbovița, Argeș, and Giurgiu). Table 1 lists these sites and their altitudes along with the number of specimens and species recorded at each of them. Collection sites included electrically illuminated structures, forests, and village gardens in Ilfov, illuminated structures and pastures in Dâmbovița, wooded areas and clearings in Argeș, and a marshy area in Giurgiu. We sampled for lepidoptera during the entire flight season, from March to November. Specimens were collected by sweeping vegetation with a standard insect net. Larval specimens were reared to adulthood either on the plants on which they were found or on alternative food sources, e.g. dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis), plantain (Plantgo major), or willow leaves (Salix spp.). Pupae found on rare occasions were retained until eclosion. Sampling events occurred throughout the year, temperature and precipitation permitting. We followed the species arrangement proposed in „The Lepidoptera of Europe- A Distributional Checklist” (Karsholt and Razowski 1996), with the amendments contained in „Revised higher classification of the Noctuoidea” (Lafontaine and Fibiger 2006) and in Fauna Europaea Web Service v.2.6 (Karsholt and Nieukerken 2013). The „Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Rumania” (Rákosy et al. 2003) was used as a benchmark for the species known to occur in our study area. Results We recorded 458 lepidoptera species out of a total of 1251 individuals collected during the entire time span of the study. Of these, 412 species (89.9%) and 1156 specimens (92.5%) were obtained in the four- Valeriu Albu & Sebastian Albu Summary: This study presents the results of an investigation carried out between 1966 and 2013, aiming to record the lepidoptera fauna of the Vlăsia Plain, a region centered on București, Romania, and part of the more extensive Valahia Plain. 1251 lepidoptera representing 458 species were collected from forests, steppes, marshy areas and hilly zones situated between București and the border of the Carpathian foothills. From these collections, 33 previously unrecorded species were added to the Valahia Plain checklist. Isolated populations of several species previously considered extinct from the area or with a doubtful occurrence, were re-discovered and re-confirmed in wooded habitats near București (Lopinga achine and Ancylis upupana), on the hills at Târgoviște (Zerynthia polyxena) and in forest clearings around the city of Pitești (Brintesia circe). Key words: Lepidoptera biodiversity, European butterflies and moths, Balkan invertebrate fauna, lepidoptera of Romania