The Appolo Butterfly (Parnassius apollo) is considered a postglaciar relict, with only a handful of sites where it has been recorded in Romania until 1990. This extremely endangered day flying butterfly, inhabits only the barren limestone habitats at Cheile Bicazului-Hășmaș National Park.  Last sightings has been made in 1996 at Bicaz Gorge, but anecdotal reports and some clues regarding the existence of a remote population in Bicaz Chei has been found by our team  in summer of 2015. Although most specialist consider the taxon extinct in Romania (Rakosy, 2013), the International Union for Conservation of Nature consider a species extinct only after 30 years from the last documented sighting. The projects aim to relocate the species within he surroundings of the quarry as the main factor of the extinction of the species seems to be the reforestation of the former habitats and therefore the disappearance of the host plant for the larvae and the flowering plants which are the food supply for adults.  The methodology consist in the monitoring of the host plant (Sedum album) and food plant (Centaurea sp.) for the presence of caterpillars and imago by Pollard method .  In case of failure, the external border of the quarry offer the best location to repopulate  the host plant and  Apollo butterflies obtained from a native population.

Collateral results: Protected day flying butterfly species at Bicaz Chei Quarry

Two protected butterfly species has been recorded inside of the Bicaz Chei Quary. Both species are protected under the law 49/2011 annex 4A and 4B

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Day flying butterfly monitoring at Bicaz Chei Quarry

A low number of day flying butterflies were recorded at the Bicaz Chei Quarry due to the low number of plant species and overgrazing.

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Illegal grazing inside the Bicaz Chei Quarry : a serious threat to butterflies

One of the goals of the two day visit in Cheile Bicazului-Hășmaș National Park was the survey of the potentially suitable habitats of the Apollo butterfly in the area of the active quarry run by HeidelbergCement. The main target was the localization of the host plant species, on which the butterfly’s caterpillars feed (Crassulaceae) and also searching for population of plants species (mainly Asteraceae) used as nectar sources by the imagos.

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A breakthrough toward the understanding the ecology of the Apollo butterfly in Romania.

The field trip of 16th of June has been a major breakthrough toward the understanding the ecology of the Apollo butterfly in Romania, as the food plant of the caterpillars ha been erroneously identified in the relevant Romanian literature.

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Lepidopterological report of May 2016 at Bicaz Chei Quarry

Between 10 and 13th  of May 2016, a lepidopterological survey has been carried out in Bicaz Chei Quarry. A few butterfly specie has been recorded, one of them turning out to be the first one reported in 2016 from Romania

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Preliminary survey of Bicaz Chei Quarry

A preliminary botanical mapping has been carried out in the Bicaz Chei quarry in order to locate and estimate the population of  white stonecrop (Sedum album) and  houseleek (Sempervivum globiferum)

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