I lepidotteri cavernicoli in Italia


The knowledge on Lepidoptera in subterranean environments is scarce and fragmentary.Usually,the majority of references deals with the showy species,mostly Geometridae and Noctuidae,whereas other cavedwelling moths,including species adapted to eat bat-guano such as Tineidae moths,are disregarded. The purpose of this paper was to bring together the scattered literature on Lepidoptera recorded in Italian caves,both natural or arti ficial,obtained from entomological and speleological journals,and to provide an up-to-date list of species. Moreover,the paper reports new records of Lepidoptera collected in about 40 caves of Central Italy from 1993 to 2005. Altogether,65 species of cavernicolous Lepidoptera are known from Italy (40%of the European species).The most abundant family was Noctuidae (20 species),followed by Geometridae (11 species),Alucitidae (7 species)and Tineidae (5 species).Four species of Tineid moths,belonging to Monopis e Niditi- nea genera,have cave-dwelling populations with their larvae feeding bird-guano. Other cases of moths having permanent cave-dwelling populations are Nudaria mundana (Linnaeus,1761)(family Arctiidae),that feed on cryptogams in calcareous caves and Orectis proboscidata (Herrich-Schäffer,1851)(family Noctuidae), observed in Sicily living inside lava tubes,where larvae feed on dead apical roots. Subtroglophiles elements are well represented;their larvae are phytophagous and adults regularly frequent caves for aestivation or hibernation.15 species are reported,belonging mainly to the families crolepiidae,Alucitidae,Geometridae, such as Triphosa dubitata (Linnaeus,1758)and Triphosa sabaudiata (Duponchel, 1830)and Noctuidae,such as Scoliopteryx libatrix (Linnaeus,1758). The majority of remaining species are occasional visitors looking for a shelter, but some of them,for example Nymphalidae or genus Hypena (family Noctuidae), are frequently found in caves.Records of the pyralid moth Udea decrepitalis (Herrich-Schäffer,1848),new for Central and Southern Italy and the noctuid moth Eremohadena chenopodiphaga (Rambur,1832),a very localized species,are re- ported.For each species,information about literature reports and new records are given.Moreover,the paper provides notes concerning the ecological characteristics in caves and the food preferences of larvae.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i15910725v29supp139

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