Achievements in 2021

Although in 2021. we didn’t break record with new data, our database Alciphron nicely progressed and reached almost 430.000 records.
We achieved very good results in realization of monitoring projects in protected areas. Soon will be accessible full list of projects our NGO performed so far at the address:
Anyway, year 2021 we’ll probably remember most for its fruitfulness regarding scientific achievements and publishing of papers by our members. Although each paper is unique and it’s not easy to declare which one is more important, we’ll still try to list what was most important.

The previous year was marked by huge number of newly recorded species in our fauna, native or allochthonous One species that no doubt caused a lot of excitmenent was first record of butterfly – Balkan Pierrot, Tarucus balkanicus. Discovery of this butterfly was marked by many ups and downs, ofter in unbearable conditions. During field research in protected area Dolina Pčinje, in the very south of Serbia, early in spring our team was touring area looking for potentially interesting habitats. The first reconnaisance encountered rain, fog and low temperatures, and on way back the team came to a lot of snow and, of course, used opportunity to make the snowman visible in title picture. Anyway, we forgot everything bad when at locality Čivčije, just by the border with North Macedonia, we found population of Mediterranean plant Christ’s thorn Paliurus spina-christi. That finding brought smiles back on our faces i indicated possible presence of above mentioned butterfly. For Christ’s thorn is the plant that caterpillars of Balkan Pierrot exclusively feed on. But, although that plant is to be found elsewhere in Serbia, each pursuit of the butterfly was unsuccessful. It took several more outings and attempts, but HabiProt members Ivan Tot and Milan Đurić in an ifnernal day with temperature reaching 42°C, finally managed to find several specimens of the butterfly. Our joy was difficult to describe, and latter we published this finding in a magazine Acta Entomologica Serbica.

In June 2021 in a magazine Acta Entomologica Slovenica, was published paper on first allochthonous butterfly species in Serbia – Geranium bronze, Cacyreus marshalli. Although originally inhabited just African continent, the butterfly appeared in Europe some time ago. In Serbia it was discovered – through Facebook. Our contributor, Slađana Milojković in 2020 in Niš photographed that butterfly feeding on flowers of invasive plant Erigeron annuus. Our members recognized the species in Facebook group Butterflies of Serbia and wrote a paper that was published in 2021 issue of that magazine.

Citizen science brought about a paper on new, invasive species of praying mantis, originally from Asia – Hierodula tenuidentata. We named it Giant Asian praying mantis, and it can be easily differentiated by white spots on its wings. Our member Mihailo Vujić recognized it in photos on Facebook group Insekti Srbije and asked group members to pay attention. Since first record in 2019 number of recorded specimens grew rapidly, as did number of locations, so now we have much more data then at the time paper was published in the magazine Acta Entomologica Serbica.

Another publication that we are specially proud of is the book on moths of protected area Vlasina. This volume was published together with Tourist organization of Surdulica and descriptions and photographs depict quite a lot of moth species that were recorded during long-term research of that area. Our choice for the cover page was Blue underwing Catocala fraxini, by many opinions one of most beautiful moths that impresses both with its size and blue ribbons, unique among its congeners.

In 2021. was also published paper on six new hoverfly species for Serbian fauna. Hoverflies are a group of Diptera that are subject of many researches, both in Serbia and worldwide. Although Serbia is among best researched European countries regarding diversity of this insect family, each year new species are being registered and knowledge on known ones is being improved.

And we again proved well known thesis that many discoveries happened by chance. Our member Marko Šćiban in June of 2021, in vicinity of Vajuga village, photographed species of cricket new for Serbian fauna – Isophya rectipennis. The species was discovered while looking for another, cognate species that is being protected in certain European countries. Our member Slobodan Ivković recognized it, visited the locality and collected specimens, and performed morphological and bioacoustic analyses. The paper was published in the magazine Spixiana.
And last, but not least, our member Filip Vukajlović in 2021 deservedly achieved title doctor of science. All HabiProt members cordially congratulate Filip and wish him a lot of success in future work.