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First record of Lindenia tetraphylla (Vander Linden, 1825) and rediscovery of Orthetrum nitidinerve (Selys, 1841) in Sicily (Insecta: Odonata)

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The first Sicilian record of Lindenia tetraphylla and a new regional record of Orthetrum nitidinerve, species not recorded since 1975 in mainland Sicily, are here reported. All individuals of L. tetraphylla and O. nitidinerve were observed in the same site in the province of Trapani.
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Fragmenta entomologica, 49 (2): (2017)
Short scientic note
Submitted: August 20th, 2017 - Accepted: October 2nd, 2017 - Published: December 29th, 2017
First record of Lindenia tetraphylla (Vander Linden, 1825) and rediscovery
of Orthetrum nitidinerve (Selys, 1841) in Sicily
(Insecta: Odonata)
Salvatore SURDO
Department of Agriculture, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo - Viale delle Scienze, 90128 Palermo, Italy
salvatore.surdo@unipa.it
Abstract
The rst Sicilian record of Lindenia tetraphylla and a new regional record of Orthetrum nitidinerve, species not recorded since 1975 in
mainland Sicily, are here reported. All individuals of L. tetraphylla and O. nitidinerve were observed in the same site in the province of
Trapani.
Key words: Lindenia tetraphylla, Orthetrum nitidinerve, Odonata, Sicily, Trapani, Habitats Directive, IUCN Red Lists.
Introduction
The Odonata fauna of Italy is well known, although some
areas remain not yet adequately investigated (Riservato et
al. 2014a; Boudot & Kalkman 2015). Sicily is one of these
areas, for which odonatological surveys have been started,
in view of a thorough Sicilian Odonata Atlas. Some out-
standingly interesting data are preliminarily reported.
Material and Methods
The habitat of the present records consists mainly of the
river Rio Delia, at the bridge of the road, close to the
mouth into the articial lake “Lago della Trinità” (Castel-
vetrano, Trapani), 37°70’48’’N 12°75’52’’E (the actu-
al distance from the lake shore greatly varies, depending
on the water level), for L. tetraphylla, and a small rivu-
let tributary of the former, 37°43’26”N 12°45’29”E, for
O. nitidinerve. The riparian vegetation consists mainly of
Phragmites australis with some Arundo donax, Typha sp.,
Salix sp.; surroundings are partly covered with Eucalyp-
tus sp. Lindenia was also observed along the lake shore,
37°42’37”N 12°45’25”E; here, at the moment of survey,
the water level was very low and the shore was almost
entirely bare, the few patches of helophytes being more
or less far from water edge. During surveys, usually only
photographic documentation was obtained; no specimens
were collected, unless strictly necessary for a sure identi-
cation. The species here reported are unmistakable, so that
it was not necessary to kill and preserve specimens. On the
other hand, unless permits are obtained, this would be il-
legal for L. tetraphylla, a protected species of Communi-
ty interest, included in the Annexes II and IV of Directive
92/43/EEC (known as Habitats Directive).
Lindenia tetraphylla (Vander Linden, 1825)
Material examined. Italy: Sicily, Castelvetrano (Trapa-
ni), Lago della Trinità (Trinità Lake), mouth of Rio Delia,
70 m a.s.l.: 11 Jul 2017, 1 ♂ photographed; 26 Jul 2017, 3
♂♂ photographed; 3 Jul 2017, a mating pair photographed
(Fig. 1); ibidem, eastern shore of the lake, about 1.5 km
from the former site: 15 Jul 2017, 5 territorial ♂♂ photo-
graphed (S. Surdo, A. Cusmano); 16 Jul 2017, several ter-
ritorial ♂♂ and a mating pair observed on the shore of the
lake (S. Surdo, M. Pavesi, C. Muscarella). No further indi-
viduals were noticed on 27 Jul 2017 (M. Pavesi).
Lindenia tetraphylla is predominantly a central and
south-west Asian species, reaching to Afghanistan and
western Pakistan eastwards, and to the western Mediter-
ranean (eastern Spain) westwards (Boudot & Kalkman,
2015). It was recently also found in Bulgaria (Gastarov
& Beshkov 2010). In North Africa L. tetraphylla was rst
recorded in Algeria in the nineteenth century, but later it
was considered to be extinct (Boudot et al. 2009). Nev-
ertheless, an exuvia was found downstream of the Djorf
Torba reservoir, evidence of the reproduction of the spe-
cies in western Algeria (Hamzaoui et al. 2015). In addi-
tion, a population was discovered in nearby Tunisia (Kunz
& Kunz 2001). In Italy, L. tetraphylla is known from a
very few localities in Tuscany, Tusco-Emilian Apennines
and the surrounding area of Lucca (Terzani 2002); Lazio,
eISSN: 2284-4880 (online version)
pISSN: 0429-288X (print version)
2
Surdo
one old record; Campania, Tyrrhenian side and two Apen-
nine sites; Molise (Fracasso C. & Corso A. pers. comm.)
and Sardinia (Conci & Nielsen 1956; Utzeri & D’Antonio
2005; Utzeri et al. 2006; Hardersen & Leo 2011). Some
old records, including the one from Lazio, may however
refer to no longer extant populations.
Orthetrum nitidinerve (Selys, 1841)
Material examined. Italy: Sicily, Castelvetrano (Trapani
province), Lago della Trinità (Trinità Lake), small tribu-
tary of Rio Delia, near the mouth: 26 Jun 2017, 1 ♂ photo-
graphed; 3 Jul 2017, 1 ♂ photographed (Fig. 2); no long-
er found during subsequent surveys. Several O. brunneum
(Fonscolombe, 1837) and O. coerulescens anceps (Sch-
neider, 1845) were also present in the same spot where O.
nitidinerve was observed.
Orthetrum nitidinerve is a western Mediterranean en-
demic, mainly conned to the Maghreb, where it is gener-
ally common. Compared to other widespread Palaearctic
congeners e.g. O. coerulescens or O. brunneum, O. niti-
dinerve has a quite restricted range. In southwestern Eu-
rope it occurs more or less rarely in Portugal, Spain, Sar-
dinia, Sicily (Boudot et al. 2009) and was also recorded
for Lampedusa island (Corso et al. 2012), no doubt upon
a vagrant individual. Old records for Campania (southern
Italian mainland) are in need of conrmation (Riservato
et al. 2014a; Surdo et al. in prep.). Finally, it has been re-
ported for the rst time in 2008 in the Maltese archipel-
ago (Sciberras et al. 2010) upon several individuals, yet
no longer found in subsequent years, therefore presumably
vagrant.
Discussion
The discovery of L. tetraphylla in Sicily extends the
known distribution map of this species. The ndings here
reported are in accordance with other reports of an expan-
sion of this species in Europe and North Africa, presuma-
bly as a consequence of the increasing number of available
man-made habitats (e.g. Brochard & van der Ploeg 2013;
Boudot 2014), and also resulting from increased eld in-
vestigations (e.g. Skvortsov & Kuvaev 2010).
Considered as a mainly central Asian element, L. tetra-
phylla has a distribution pattern similar to another Euroa-
siatic species, Selysiothemis nigra (Vander Linden, 1825),
also found in arid and semi-arid regions (Schneider 1981;
Schorr et al. 1998). Both species have scattered popula-
tions in the western Mediterranean and both seem to be
extending their range in North Africa (Boudot et al. 2009);
the latter in recent years is extending its range also in Ital-
ian mainland, up to the north (Riservato et al. 2014). It is
interesting to highlight that in the man-made Lago della
Trinità an abundant population of S. nigra occurs; this spe-
cies is scattered and generally rare in the rest of Trapani
province. As explained by Boudot et al. (2013), L. tetra-
phylla adults can migrate long distances from their repro-
ductive area. Some records of L. tetraphylla may there-
fore refer to vagrant imagoes. On the other hand, this at-
titude makes L. tetraphylla able to colonize also recently
Fig. 1Lindenia tetraphylla, mating. Lago della Trinità (Trinità Lake), Castelvetrano (Trapani province), Italy, July 3rd, 2017. Photo
by Salvatore Surdo.
3
Lindenia tetraphylla in Sicily
formed, man-made habitats, as soon as they become suit-
able for the species. The Lago della Trinità, together with
the mouth of its main tributary, with deep, quiet waters
and locally dense reed-belts, is no doubt potentially suit-
able as breeding habitat. Although no exuviae nor freshly
emerged individuals were hitherto found at the Lago della
Trinità, repeated observations of territorial males and mat-
ing pairs argue for the very likely existence of a viable
population.
Although L. tetraphylla is included in Annexes II and
IV of the Habitats Directive, and listed as NT (nearly
threatened) in the Italian Red List (Riservato et al. 2014b),
there are currently no studies in progress, aimed at moni-
toring the species, even in view of its rarity in Italy (Trizzi-
no et al. 2013).
Concerning O. nitidinerve, the new record is the west-
ernmost one in Sicily (Table 1), the hitherto known range
reaching westwards the province of Palermo (Bucciarelli
1971, 1977; Carfì et al. 1980; Capra 1934). The habitat
where O. nitidinerve was found looks not dissimilar to oth-
er Sicilian sites (e.g. rio Gornalunga, see Table 1) where
the species was found to breed (M. Pavesi pers. comm.). It
is therefore very likely that O. nitiniderve may breed there
as well. This species is listed in the Italian Red List (Ris-
ervato et al. 2014b) as DD (Data Decient), which makes
of special concern the present records.
It would be interesting to ascertain whether the sup-
posed rarity of O. nitidinerve may be partly explained by
its behaviour, which makes sightings and collecting more
occasional than in other dragonies. The species actually
is to be seen mainly in the early morning and again more or
less late in the afternoon, while it disappears, or almost so,
in the warmer hours of the day. It is uncertain whether in-
deed returns to the water only late in the afternoon, as sup-
posed by Bucciarelli et al. (1983), or simply remains hid-
den and motionless within the dense vegetation, or maybe
the tree branches. The ight period is possibly shorter than
in other species; at the same site, during repeated surveys
in the second half of July, no individual was observed, and
the scarcity of individuals at the end of June-beginning of
July leads to suppose that the ight period may have al-
ready been at its end. Finally, especially when occurring in
low numbers, or by an unexperienced observer, O. nitidin-
erve may be hardly detected among a lot of the ubiquitous,
often exceedingly abundant O. brunneum.
Annex II of Habitats Directive, in which L. tetraphyl-
la is included, identies in particular the species whose
conservation requires the establishment of Special Conser-
vation Areas (ZSC). For this purpose the Directive estab-
lishes a European ecological network of ZSC, called Nat-
ura 2000 Network. It is to be noted that in the Lago del-
la Trinità there is another species that is included in both
Annexes of the Habitats Directive, the endemic Sicilian
pond turtle Emys trinacris (Fritz et al. 2005). The Lago
della Trinità, although articial, is a biotope of greatest
importance, being situated along one of the most impor-
tant birds migratory paths, and forming an important rest-
ing site for deveral species. Moreover, it has a high bio-
diversity; 23 species of dragonies, a number very likely
underestimated, are hitherto reported for this site, namely:
Sympecma fusca (Vander Linden, 1820), Lestes barbarus
(Fabricius, 1798), Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis (Vander
Fig. 2Orthetrum nitidinerve, male. Lago della Trinità (Trinità Lake), Castelvetrano (Trapani province), Italy, July 3rd, 2017. Photo by
Salvatore Surdo.
4
Surdo
Linden, 1825), Ischnura genei (Rambur, 1842), Coenagri-
on scitulum (Rambur, 1842), C. puella (Linnaeus, 1758),
Erythromma lindenii (Selys, 1840), E. viridulum (Char-
pentier, 1840), Ceriagrion tenellum (Villers, 1789), Anax
imperator Leach, 1815, A. parthenope (Selys, 1839), Par-
agomphus genei (Selys, 1841), Lindenia tetraphylla (Van-
der Linden, 1825), Orthetrum trinacria (Selys, 1841), O.
nitidinerve (Selys, 1841), O. coerulescens anceps (Schnei-
der, 1845), O. brunneum (Fonscolombe, 1837), O. can-
cellatum (Linnaeus, 1758), Crocothemis erythraea (Brul-
lé, 1832), Brachythemis impartita (Karsch, 1890), Sym-
petrum fonscolombii (Selys, 1840), Trithemis annulata
(Palisot de Beauvois, 1805), Selysiothemis nigra (Vander
Linden, 1825).
Despite its ecological importance, the Lago della Trin-
ità is threatened as a consequence of a largely inappropri-
ate territory management, resulting e.g. in water pollution
and eutrophication, because of inadequate or non-exist-
ing sewage treatment and of uncontrolled waste dumping
along the shores (the problem becoming even worse be-
cause of the frequent scarcity of water, partly consequence
of an unsatisfying water management), and in illegal hunt,
even of protected species. Effective conservation meas-
ures to protect the whole habitat and its outstanding biodi-
versity are therefore urgently needed.
Acknowledgements – I am grateful to Federico Landi and Alex
Festi for further conrmation of identication of species through
the analysis of the photographic material, Angelo Troia for plant
identication and Bruno Massa for his corrections and advices. I
also wish to thank Carlo Utzeri (Università “La Sapienza”, Ro-
ma) and an anonymus referee for the critical reading of the manu-
script and useful comments. Finally, a special thank to Maurizio
Pavesi (Museo di Storia Naturale, Milano) for the accurate revi-
sion of the manuscript and the communication of unpublished
observations.
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Table 1 – The most recent records of Orthetrum nitidinerve in Sicily. This species has been last reported in 1975 in Sicily mainland; one
observation in 2011 also for Lampedusa, Pelagie islands (see above).
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PA
CT
CT
CT
RG
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SR
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1
4 ♂♂; 1 ♀
13 ♂♂; 3 ♀♀
19 ♂♂; 4 ♀♀
3 ♂♂
many juv.
2 ♂♂
2 ♀♀
3 ♂♂; 1 ♀
1 ♂; 1 ♀
1 ♀
1 ♀
1 ♂
1 ♀
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Bucciarelli 1977
Bucciarelli 1977
Bucciarelli 1977
Bucciarelli 1977
Bucciarelli 1977
Bucciarelli 1977
Bucciarelli 1977
Carfì et al. 1980
Bucciarelli 1971
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Carfì et al. 1980
Capra 1934
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Paternò, ume Simeto near “Ponte La Barca”
Paternò, ume Simeto near “Ponte La Barca”
Fiume Dittaino near “Masseria abbandonata”
Fiume Acate near “Contrada Pavone”
Fiume Simeto mouth
Fiume Ippari
Fiume Ippari near Vittoria
Torrente Zappulla
Year Province Province ReferenceSite
5
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