Assessment of endangered grassland habitats in Bulgaria through population-genetic research of model insect groups
Project duration: 2019 - 2024
Keywords: Balkan Peninsula, grasslands, indicators, genetic diversity, ecological niche, orthopterans, lepidopterans

Natural habitats across the planet are under constantly increasing anthropogenic pressure. As a result, significant areas have been altered – their natural composition has been changed or they have been practically destroyed. The aim of the project is to assess the state of endangered and critically endangered grassy (steppe) habitats in Bulgaria and to assess their importance for the protection and maintenance of the natural entomofaunistic complexes that inhabit them, based on a study of model groups of insects.

During the project the distribution and genetic diversity in Bulgaria and neighboring countries of model groups of insects with various degrees of specialization to grassy (steppe) habitats were studied: Arcyptera microptera, Celes variabilis, Gampsocleis glabra, Montana medvedevi, Onconotus servillei, Stenobothrus eurasius (Orthoptera ), Oxicesta geographica (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). This data was compared with models of the ecological niches of the respective species. Potential indicators of threatened habitats in Europe of significant conservation importance (e. g. O. servillei) are highlighted. Four new butterfly species have been reported for Bulgaria (family Tortricidae) associated with grasslands.

Four young scientists and postdoctoral researchers actively participate in the project. Interdisciplinary research networks have been established between scientists from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. The results have so far been presented in 6 scientific publications.

  • Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research

Contact person: Dragan Chobanov,

List with publications

Borissov, S. B., Heller, K. G., Çıplak, B., & Chobanov, D. P. (2023). Origin, evolution and systematics of the genus Poecilimon (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae)—An outburst of diversification in the Aegean area. Systematic Entomology, 48(1), 198-220. 

Chobanov, D. P., Aneva, I. Y., Iorgu, I. Ş., Ivković, S., & Borissov, S. B. (2021). Distribution and habitat of Onconotus servillei (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) within its westernmost range (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia): models and perspectives. Macedonian Journal of Ecology and Environment, 23(1), 37-48.

Zlatkov, B., & Sivilov, O. (2020). An addition of two Tortricidae species to the Bulgarian fauna with notes on genital morphology (Lepidoptera). Historia naturalis bulgarica, 41(13), 103-108.

Zlatkov, B., & Sivilov, O. (2023). Two new steppe leafrollers (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) from Bulgaria with morphological notes. Historia naturalis bulgarica, 45(12), 309-316.