Climate change is causing shifts in the distribution of many species and populations inhabiting mountain tops are particularly vulnerable to these threats because they are constrained in altitudinal shifts. Apennines are a relatively narrow and low mountain chain located in Southern Europe, which hosts many isolated populations of mountain species. The butterfly Erebia pandrose was recorded for the last time in the Apennines in 1977, on the top of a single massif (Monti della Laga). We confirmed the presence of a small, isolated population of E. pandrose in the Apennines, at a distance of more than 400 km to any other known populations. Then, we examined the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 mitochondrial DNA marker of this species across the Palaearctic area and estimated the potential decline over the Alps and the Apennines due to future climatic changes. The Apennine population represents an endemic lineage characterised by eight mutations over the 658 bp analysed (1.2%). In the Alps and Apennines, this species has shifted uphill more than 3 m per year since the end of the 19th century and more than 22 m per year since 1995. Species distribution models suggested that these mountain populations will experience a generalised loss of climatic suitability, which, according to our projections, could lead to the extinction of the Apennine population in a few decades. Erebia pandrose has the potential to become a flagship species for advertising the risk of losing unique fractions of genetic diversity for mountain species.
|Titolo:||The isolated Erebia pandrose Apennine population is genetically unique and endangered by climate change|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2022|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|