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Now butterflies are also being counted in China, Australia and Israel
Date:8/14/2009

ing brought in to assist scientists with counting butterflies. In Australia a team of more than 50 people from universities, nature conservation authorities and environmental organisations has got together to collect data on a species of butterfly which faces extinction. The team members systematically searched for the Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana) in the Australian summer from September to April. This diurnal moth is critically endangered, as its habitat - the natural temperate grassland has shrunk to less than five per cent of its original size in recent decades. The larvae of the moth is thought to feed exclusively on Wallaby grass, an original grass species that has declined dramatically since the introduction of sheep farming by European settlers and urban expansion in Australia. This pilot project was presented at the German-Chinese workshop by Anett Richter from the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra and the UFZ. Ms Richter is coordinating the research in Australia and is currently writing her PhD on the impact of native grassland fragmentation on insect biodiversity in Australia.

Dr. Guy Pe'er of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) has been publicising the idea in his home country, Israel. As insects have not been protected before in Israel, the protection of 14 species of rare butterflies on 30 April 2009 has been a major coup. The Israeli Lepidopterologists' Society hopes that this step will broaden public awareness of the protection of butterflies and consequently boost participation in the planned butterfly monitoring scheme. The monitoring scheme is particularly important for studying the impacts of climate change both on butterflies and on fauna general. This is because Israel encompasses a sharp climatic gradient - with average rainfall ranging from over 1000 mm in the north to less than 30 mm in the south - and thus it serves as a major source of migratory butterflies and seasonal range-shifts in
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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