Southern Italy is of particular biogeographic interest due to the location at the center of the Mediterranean Basin and its great environmental heterogeneity. Despite the faunistic interest of this territory, many insect taxa are still little investigated. Among insects, Lepidoptera have a relatively well known fauna, significantly increased in recent years, but there are still some gaps of knowledge in several habitats. The aim of this work was to contribute to the knowledge of the Macrolepidoptera of Southern Italy, focusing our study in Calabria, and to offer some thoughts on the role played by the Mediterranean mountain forests for the biodiversity conservation. Samplings were carried out in three mountainous areas of Calabria (Pollino Massif, Sila Massif and Serre Mountains) in May-November 2015 and in April-November 2016, using UV-LED light traps. We found ten species of high faunistic interest. Three species, Nebula senectaria, Perizoma lugdunaria and Acasis appensata, were for the first time recorded from Southern Italy, while seven were for the first time recorded from Calabria: Coenotephria antonii, Thera obeliscata, Triphosa dubitata, Trichopteryx carpinata, Asteroscopus sphinx, Lithophane semibrunnea and Sideridis reticulata. Of great interest was the discovery of the first male certainly attributable to Coenotephria antonii, endemic of Southern Italy, here described for the first time. The results exposed confirm that the fauna of Southern Italy is of great conservation value, hosting endemisms and several relict populations of European and Asiatic species with differentiated genetic lineages highly vulnerable to the climate change expected for the coming decades.
Calabria, biodiversity, relict populations, mountain areas, forests, endemism