Is it correct to look for a supposedly missing species by focusing research at the type locality? A species can be declared extinct because for an unusual amount of time it has not been seen again; however, in the frame of the climate change it is likely that a supposedly missing species is a lucky survivor not seen because it was not searched for in the correct environment. We used the strictly endemic Leistus punctatissimus Breit, 1914 (Coleoptera, Carabidae) as the case study for testing the latter hypothesis vs. the type locality approach. On the basis of past unsuccessful searches in the Dolomites (a mountain range in the eastern Alps, Italy) driven by the type locality approach, a study area was selected where climate change may have exerted environmental constraints on endemic species. Five pitfall traps were used in each of seven sample sites, at an average altitude of 2600 m a.s.l., within a high altitude alpine plateau covered by scarce patchy vegetation. Leistus punctatissimus was rediscovered, far from its type locality, after one hundred years since its first collection. It was part of a group of species well adapted to the extreme ecological factors of the alpine environments above the vegetation line. Following a biogeographical approach (i.e., the biogeographerâs eye rather than the collectorâs eye) it was possible to find an endemic species of the alpine ecological landscape in places from where it probably had never disappeared. The supposed refugial area was a nunatak during the last glacial period, where Leistus punctatissimus found suitable habitat conditions, and from where it alternated between downward and uphill changes in its distribution range after the last glacial period, under the effect of climate change. From such a perspective, it can be concluded that the type locality may be the wrong place to look for a supposedly extinct species.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.