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The Natural Park of Capanne di Marcarolo is located in Southern Piedmont, spreading in the Ligurian–Piedmontese Apennine. It corresponds to the SCI and SPA IT 1180026 and is characterized by peculiar geological and climatic conditions. On account of its position it is considered a transition zone between the Alps and the Apennines, which is confirmed by a number of typically boreal elements of flora and fauna mixed with others at Mediterranean distribution.
The volume presents the results of a 10 years field survey (2002-2012) and of an impressive job of species identifying with the collaboration of some of the most renowned international specialists, especially with regard to microlepidoptera.
As a whole 1 464 species have been identified, of which 19 are new to Italy and at least 75 are new for the fauna of Piedmont and sometimes of mainland Italy. This is the first publication that takes into account the complete Lepidopteran fauna (micro- and macrolepidoptera) of an Italian natural park, not only to offer a contribution to the knowledge of its biodiversity, but also to provide accurate management procedures useful to maintain and possibly improve the conditions that allowed the presence of so many species of Lepidoptera, some of which are rare or little known and one of them, Coleophora marcarolensis, is a likely endemic element.
I Lepidotteri del Parco Naturale delle Capanne di Marcarolo begins with a chapter devoted to the history of the area including the park, since ancient times until recent years when the establishment of the Regional Park occurred, with its inclusion in the Natura 2000 network, and to the management tools of the protected area. Subsequently, chapters on the geology, climate, flora and vegetation edited by different specialists are provided. Each chapter is accompanied by adequate bibliography.
After this introduction, the Lepidopterological research, with goals, materials, methods and criteria for the classification and enumeration is presented. The list of species follows as a rule the Catalog of Karsholt & Razowski (1996) with subsequent amendments of some families and groups of species. For each species all the sites and the capture dates in the Park are listed, and their general distribution, as well as the Italian one at the best possible detail, are recorded; information on the biology and foodplants is also provided. Concerning a species, Homeosoma incognitellum, new to the Italian fauna, the female reproductive system is described, which was still unknown.
The Conclusions of the volume, besides analyzing the results obtained, are primarily targeted to provide management guidance for the protected area, on the basis of species, environments, foodplants. The management tool adopted by the Natural Park on the conservation of butterflies derived from I Lepidotteri del Parco Naturale delle Capanne di Marcarolo.
An extensive bibliography, an alphabetical list of the species and subspecies recorded and a list of the vascular plants known as foodplants of the Lepidoptera are also provided; the list is intended to highlight the botanical species known for the park and those that do not exist in this area .
The iconographic part consists of 32 color plates: the map of the park with the main collection sites; some tables on climatic, geological, floristic aspects; tables on the biology of Rhopalocera and of the microlepidopteran Coleophora marcarolensis; finally 20 tables with the most remarkable recorded species, some of which had never been shown in a volume before.
I Lepidotteri del Parco Naturale delle Capanne di Marcarolo is recommended to all researchers on Lepidoptera, both professional and amateur. It can be considered a valuable tool and an example of research aimed at good management practice, so it may be useful also to those involved in nature conservation and management of areas of natural interest.