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Plebeius orphicus (Kolev, 2005)   

Name in Tolman & Lewington (1997): ---

Systematics: In describing this taxon, I tentatively assigned it as a subspecies of the recently described P. dantchenkoi Lukhtanov & Wiemers, 2003 on the basis of identical chromosome number (n = 41-42). The latter species however has so far only been recorded in SE Turkey: Van, more than 1500 km from the Bulgarian populations. In view of this, as well as some stable morphological differences between the two, I believe that it is preferable to treat the two taxa as non-conspecific despite their identical karyotype (Kolev 2005c).

Range: Endemic to Rhodopi Mts. with most of the range being in Bulgaria; recently found by T. Lafranchis in a single locality in Greece.

Distribution in Bulgaria: W Rhodopi Mts., between 300 and 1500 m a.s.l. (Kolev 2005c).

Habitat: Dry stony and/or rocky, often precipitous places in calcareous terrain.

Bionomics: One generation from late June to late July. Larval host-plant: Onobrychis (Fabaceae) (Lafranchis et al. 2007).

Conservation status: This endemic is very local, relatively rare and with extremely small Bulgarian as well as total range, and thus of high conservation interest. IUCN category: Vulnerable. Its inclusion in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria and protection by law is herewith recommended.


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