Historical Range Modifications

The present distribution pattern of Lycaena helle reflects demands for cool climatic conditions. From this we can assume a historically wide distribution over the major lowlands of Central Europe. We hypothesise two possible scenarios for the species' historical range modifications: (1) a colonisation of Central Europe from extra-Mediterranean and Eastern European refugia or (2) a wide distribution even during the glacial period. In both scenarios, a restriction of a former distribution range takes place. The first scenario would be in accordance with the butterfly Proclossiana eunomia, which represents similar ecological requirements (Neve 1996). However, the second scenario cannot be ruled out as fossil records (e.g. from pollen, charcoal fragments and the elytra of beetles, Huntley and Birks 1983; Coope 1994; Willis and van Andel 2004) support the idea that climatic conditions and basic habitat requirements for Lycaena helle (such as the larval food plant) were present during this period, and a CEM suggests a larger area of potential suitable habitats for Lycaena helle during the glacial period (Habel et al. unpublished data).

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