Currently, 188 butterfly species are established in Germany (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). Twelve species from two different groups of relict species were identified as relicts. Butterflies such as Lycaena helle represent species that are well adapted to cold-stenothermic conditions. Examples for species in Europe that are adapted to cold conditions, and thus defined as glacial relicts, can be found in the work of Varga (1977) and Weidemann (1995). Other species such as Chazara briseis are thermophilic relicts from warmer times.

Only one of these relict species in Germany is listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive (Table 6). This means that relict species in Lepidoptera (Rhopalocera) are underrepresented in Annex II, because SCIs have only been established for one species in the network of Natura 2000 sites. For the other 11 species, it is not obligatory to integrate their populations in the network. In Annex IV another two species are listed (Table 6). These are protected by law, but no special sites (SCIs) need to be set up. Most of the relict species settle in habitat types listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, and SCIs should also be selected for those habitat types. Thus, there is a good chance of saving the locations of Germany's butterfly species with the protection of the Annex I habitat types.

All thermophilic relict species live primarily in the following habitat types of Annex I of the Habitats Directive:

• 5110 stable thermoxerophilic formations with Buxus sempervirens on rock slopes (Berberidion p.p.)

• 5130 Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands

• *6110 rupicolous calcareous or basophilic grasslands of the Alysso-Sedion albi

• *6120 xeric sand calcareous grasslands

• 6210 semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia)

• *6240 sub-pannonic steppe grasslands

• 8210 calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation

• 8220 siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation

• 8230 siliceous rock with pioneer vegetation of the Sedo-Scleranthion or of the Sedo albi-Veronicion dillenii.

Table 6 Relict butterfly species in Germany listed in the Habitats Directive



Conservation Status (National Report Art. 17, Hab.


Dir.; Nationaler Bericht 2007) Biogeographic region





Scarce Heath,




Coenonympha hero

- bad

- bad

Violet Copper, Lycaena



Unfavourable -

Unfavourable -




Apollo, Parnassius Apollo



Unfavourable - bad


No thermophilic relict species is listed in Annex II, and only one (Parnassius apollo) is listed in Annex IV. But all four thermophilic relict species in Germany can be found in the habitat types described below and also in 2310 (dry sand heaths with Calluna and Genista), 2320 (dry sand heaths with Calluna and Empetrum nigrum), 2330 (inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands) and 4030 (European dry heaths).

Eight cold-stenothermic relict species occur in Germany. One of these is listed in Annex II and IV (Lycaena helle) and one only in Annex IV (Coenonympha hero).

The cold-stenothermic relict species live primarily in the following habitat types of Annex I of the Habitats Directive:

• 4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix

• 4060 alpine and boreal heaths

• *6230 species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)

• 6410 Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae)

• 6430 hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels; important for feeding habitats)

• *7110 active raised bogs

• 7120 degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration

• 7140 transition mires and quaking bogs

• 7150 depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion

• 7230 alkaline fens

The locations of most of the cold-stenothermic relict species are protected through this assortment of habitat types and with the German Natura 2000 network.

3.4.1 The Violet Copper (Lycaena helle) in Germany

The distribution area of the Violet Copper ranges from Scandinavia to Russia. It is also distributed over Central Europe and the Alps, and reaches East into Siberia (Region Amur) (Weidemann 1995). The species belongs to the Northern-boreal distribution type and is classified as a cold-stenothermic relict species in Germany.

The distribution map shows a high level of fragmentation in Germany (Fig. 1): In the German low mountain ranges, the species is present only in peninsulas in the Westerwald, Eifel, Rothaargebirge and in an isolated area in the Northern German lowlands near the river Oder in Eastern Germany. The best areas are in the prealpine lowlands of the Alps, where this species shows the highest abundances in Germany and the largest coherent area without interruptions. Nearly all localities in Germany are found in the Continental biogeographic region, with the exception of one population in the German Alpine biogeographic region (near Garmisch-Partenkirchen). The conservation status in the German Continental biogeographic region was assessed as unfavourable - inadequate in the German National Report (Art. 17 Habitats Directive)

Mapping Pre And Post Wwi
Fig. 1 Distribution of Lycaena helle (Source: German National Report according to Art. 17 Hab. Dir.) (a, b) Occurrences of Lycaena helle (1992-2003, black quadrat) and the Sites of Community Importance (Data as of Dec. 2006, red areas) in Bavaria

in 2007 and in the Alpine biogeographic region as bad (red). Figure 1 shows the current distribution area in Germany.

Imagos of Lycaena helle can be found during only a short period from May to June and only in cool climates and wetlands with Calthion (also Cirsietum rivularis and Chaerophyllo-Ranunculetum aconitifolii), where Polygonum bistorta occurs. Habitat types with these associations are not well represented in Annex I of the Habitats Directive.

The Violet Copper was submitted to Annexes II and IV during the enlargement of the European Union (EU) to the East in 2004 (Biewald and Nunner 2006). All member states with occurrences of such newly listed species in the Habitats Directive are responsible for their protection. However, the old member states were not urged to install SCIs for the species added to Annex II, but they do fall under the protection of already existing Natura 2000 sites. In Germany, no area has been especially nominated to date for Natura 2000 for Lycaena helle, so this species occurs only in a few SCIs where other protected species of Annex II also occur. Only four of the six federal states in Germany where Lycaena helle is found have so far completed their duty to update the Standard Data Forms indicating the presence of the species within their sites. Germany has to ensure protection of Lycaena helle as it is listed in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive, so a Natura 2000

network will need to be implemented for the protection of this species in the next few years. Figure 1a, b shows the problem that only few habitats of Lycaena helle are protected so far in Germany. The best areas should be integrated in the list of SCIs as soon as possible.

Figure 1a shows a small region of Bavaria to the East of Durach, where most areas with populations of the Violet Copper can be found in Natura 2000 sites. In other regions in Bavaria, for example in the West near Lake Ammersee, most remaining populations are located outside Natura 2000 sites (Fig. 1b). Because most settled areas in Western Germany are not represented by Annex I habitat types, there are not enough sites represented in the network of SCIs.

Only one relict butterfly species is listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive in Germany. Another two species are listed in Annex IV. Most populations of all identified 12 relict species of day-flying butterflies in Germany live in Annex I habitats, so protection for these species is possible in their habitats. The habitats of the Violet Copper as a new species in Annex II are not well represented in the Annex I habitat types. The conservation status of the species in the Continental biogeographic region is unfavourable - inadequate, and in the Alpine biogeographic region it is unfavourable - bad. The specific situation of this species will obviously need additional SCI proposals or enlargement of existing SCIs to fulfil the requirements of the Habitats Directive, and this might be the only means of securing a better conservation status in future. Species-specific protection, site protection and/or management plans are urgently needed.

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