Integrating national Red Lists for prioritising conservation actions for European butterflies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Red Lists are very valuable tools in nature conservation at global, continental and (sub-) national scales. In an attempt to prioritise conservation actions for European butterflies, we compiled a database with species lists and Red Lists of all European countries, including the Macaronesian archipelagos (Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands). In total, we compiled national species lists for 42 countries and national Red Lists for 34 of these. The most species-rich countries in Europe are Italy, Russia and France with more than 250 species each. Endemic species are mainly found on the Macaronesian archipelagos and on the Mediterranean islands. By attributing numerical values proportionate to the threat statuses in the different national Red List categories, we calculated a mean Red List value for every country (cRLV) and a weighted Red List value for every species (wsRLV) using the square root of the country’s area as a weighting factor. Countries with the highest cRLV were industrialised (NW) European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Denmark, whereas large Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy had the lowest cRLV. Species for which a Red List assessment was available in at least two European countries and with a relatively high wsRLV (≥ 50) are Colias myrmidone, Pseudochazara orestes, Tomares nogelii, Colias chrysotheme and Coenonympha oedippus. We compared these wsRLVs with the species statuses on the European Red List to identify possible mismatches. We discuss how this complementary method can help to prioritise butterfly conservation on the continental and/or the (sub-)national scale.


  • Dirk Maes
  • Rudi Verovnik
  • Martin Wiemers
  • Dimitri Brosens
  • Stoyan Beshkov
  • Simona Bonelli
  • Jaroslaw Buszko
  • Lisette Cantú-Salazar
  • Louis Francis Cassar
  • Sue Collins
  • Vlad Dincă
  • Milan Djuric
  • Goran Dušej
  • Hallvard Elven
  • Filip Franeta
  • Patricia Garcia-Pereira
  • Yurii Geryak
  • Philippe Goffart
  • Ádám Gór
  • Ulrich Hiermann
  • Helmut Höttinger
  • Peter Huemer
  • Predrag Jakšić
  • Eddie John
  • Henrik Kalivoda
  • Vassiliki Kati
  • Paul Kirkland
  • Benjamin Komac
  • Ádám Kőrösi
  • Anatolij Kulak
  • Mikko Kuussaari
  • Lionel L’Hoste
  • Suvad Lelo
  • Xavier Mestdagh
  • Nikola Micevski
  • Iva Mihoci
  • Sergiu Mihut
  • Yeray Monasterio-León
  • Dmitry V. Morgun
  • Miguel L. Munguira
  • Tomás Murray
  • Per Stadel Nielsen
  • Erling Ólafsson
  • Erki Õunap
  • Lazaros N. Pamperis
  • Alois Pavlíčko
  • Serhiy Popov
  • Miloš Popović
  • Juha Pöyry
  • Mike Prentice
  • Lien Reyserhove
  • Nils Ryrholm
  • Martina Šašić
  • Nikolay Savenkov
  • Josef Settele
  • Marcin Sielezniew
  • Sergey Sinev
  • Constanti Stefanescu
  • Giedrius Švitra
  • Toomas Tammaru
  • Anu Tiitsaar
  • Elli Tzirkalli
  • Olga Tzortzakaki
  • Chris A.M. van Swaay
  • Arne Lykke Viborg
  • Irma Wynhoff
  • Konstantina Zografou
  • Martin S. Warren
External organisations
  • Research Institute for Nature and Forest
  • Butterfly Conservation Europe (BCE)
  • University of Ljubljana
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
  • Belgian Biodiversity Platform
  • National Museum of Natural History, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • University of Turin
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University
  • Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
  • University of Malta
  • University of Oulu
  • HabiProt
  • Swiss Butterfly Conservation
  • University of Oslo
  • Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops Serbia
  • New University of Lisbon
  • Ukrainian Entomological Society
  • Service Public de Wallonie
  • University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • University of Niš
  • Cyprus Butterfly Study group
  • Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • University of Ioannina
  • Butterfly Conservation (UK)
  • Institut d’Estudis Andorrans (CENMA - IEA)
  • Eötvös Loránd University
  • Hungarian Lepidopterological Society
  • National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB)
  • Finnish Environment Institute
  • University of Sarajevo
  • Macedonian Entomological Society (ENTOMAK)
  • Croatian Natural History Museum
  • Focal Centre for Biodiversity Monitoring and Conservation
  • Asociación Española para la Protección de las Mariposas y su Medio (ZERYNTHIA)
  • Moscow Centre of Environmental Education, Regional Research and Tourism
  • Autonomous University of Madrid
  • National Biodiversity Data Centre
  • Lepidopterological Society, Denmark
  • Icelandic Institute of Natural History
  • University of Tartu
  • Czech Society for Butterfly and Moth Conservation (SOM)
  • Butterfly Monitoring Scheme in the West Ukraine
  • European Butterflies Group
  • University of Gävle
  • Latvian Museum of Natural History
  • German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
  • University of Bialystok
  • Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Granollers Museum of Natural Sciences
  • Lithuanian Entomological Society
  • University of Patras
  • Dutch Butterfly Conservation
  • Temple University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology
  • Ecology


  • Biogeography, Habitats directive, IUCN, Lepidoptera, Management, Policy, Threatened species
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-330
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Insect Conservation
Issue number2
Early online date2019 Jan 22
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch