THE ITALIAN BUTTERFLIES
With approximately 280 resident species, Italy is the country with the largest diversity of butterflies in Europe (in Europe 576 butterflies occur).
This richness is due to the successful coexistence of the highest mountains in Europe with vast plains, to the presence of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, as well as to the latitudinal extension of our peninsula. Italy is not only a reservoir of diversity for its own sake, but for the whole Europe. In the past, during the glacial ages, many species found refuge in Italy from the cold Central Europe.
Finally, islands represented a “refuge in the refuge” where ancient species of butterflies, and other organisms, have found salvation by climate change. Until now, the Italian biodiversity is maintained in a favorable conservation status thanks to extensive protected areas and traditional agriculture rarely extensive.