Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia

Natural History Museum of Venice Giancarlo Ligabue


ARVe – Rhopalocera Atlas of the Veneto Region

The ARVe project is a collective research scheme that aims to accurately determine the distribution of butterflies in the Veneto region (North-East Italy).

Why this project?
The ARVe project was born to fill a notable gap in the knowledge of the biodiversity in the Veneto region (North-East Italy). As a matter of fact, the communities of butterflies and skippers in Veneto are poorly known in terms of species composition, and the geographical distribution of the species is known only very roughly. Up to now, faunistic research on these insects has been quite neglected both at the national and the regional level, yet rhopalocerans are recognised as useful biological indicators for a correct management of the environment and are doubtless among the most popular subjects for environmental education.

What are we aiming at?
The ARVe project wants to produce a complete and up-to-date checklist of the species living in Veneto. Building a database of validated faunistic records will produce a detailed distributional atlas for each of the species, will evaluate the conservation status of the butterflies and skippers in Veneto. A list of regional endangered species will identify areas of value for the rhopalocerans communities at the regional scale.

How is ARVe working?
Following previous experience with regional or local investigations on other animals (amphibians, reptiles, birds), we choosed to set up a collective research project based on the voluntary cooperation of a network of people sharing the common goal of contributing to the knowledge and conservation of the natural environment. Anyone who shares these aims is invited to participate by collecting records and making them available to the common database.

The project, launched by the Natural History Museum of Venice, is coordinated by Lucio Bonato (Biology Department of the University of Padua), Mauro Bon and Marco Uliana (Natural History Museum of Venice Giancarlo Ligabue), Paolo Paolucci (Agronomy Department, Entomology Group of the University of Padua) and Michele Zanetti (Associazione Naturalistica Sandonatese). The project started in 2010 and will be closed at the end of 2012.

How to join?
Contributors are not required to have particular knowledge or expertise with butterfly identification, recording or field work. Detailed instructions for contributors are given in the file “ARVe – indicazioni per collaboratori”. Mid-term results (including preliminary cartographic outputs) are made available to the participants at the end of each year. In addition, contributors will be given the opportunity to contribute to the production of the Atlas (printed book), either helping with texts, data analysis, or photos. You can reach ARVe secretariat here. What about data submission and validation? Contributors are asked to compile data in a standard spreadsheet, which is then submitted via email to the project coordinators, together with supporting photos. Each single record will be critically evaluated against known ecology, distribution, phenology, and identification problems. Identification of all submitted photos will be checked by one or more of the project coordinators. Detailed recommendations for collecting and submitting records are given in documents available through the Italian section of the site. Preliminary results At the end of the second year of the project (2011), we were able to collect over 45 000 records, accounting for 190 species of Rhopalocera. We enjoyed the participation of over 180 people and institutions. 

Contacts: Marco Uliana
c/o Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia Giancarlo Ligabue
S. Croce 1730, 30135 Venezia