Colias aurorina Herrich-Schuffer, 1850 Greek Clouded Butterfly or Dawn Clouded Yellow, Желтушка аврорина.
Distribution and biological peculiarities in Armenia: The species is distributed in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Northern Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan. Armenia is inhabited by subspecies C. a. daghestanica Verhulst, 1994. The host plant of the species are various tragacanth Astragalus species recently separated into genus Astracantha, in particular A. caucasica, and A. denudata have been recorded. The species inhabits tragacanth mountain steppes, sometimes penetrating into arid woodlands. Elevation range occupied by the species is from about 900 m at the South-eastern Armenia up to 2300 m a.s.l. Flight period of the species strongly depend on elevation: thus at the lower part of its range the first butterflies are recorded as early as mid May, while the last butterflies at the upper part of the species' distribution fly until late July.
Population dynamics: The species is rather uncommon within typical habitat. Current population trend is relatively stable, with some fluctuations. The species demonstrates slight vertical expansion of its distribution range occupying sub-alpine zone and also penetrating into degraded forests, where open areas become inhabited by various Astracantha species, as it was noted on Meghri and Zangezur Mountains. The larval host-plants are thorny and therefore are strongly protected against grazing, although sometimes they become burnt by local inhabitants; the latest, in case of taking mass character, might seriously affect the populations of the species. Another possible threat that can influence the species indirectly, still comes from overgrazing and is related to general decrease of nectar plants providing additional feed for imago. It also should be noted that the species is a subject of trade. At current the number of specimens, annually caught in Armenia is relatively low, but with increase of demand might affect some of the isolated populations.
Conservation measures: The species has not been evaluated for the Global and European Red Lists, as well as not included in the Appendix 2 of Bern Convention, and in the list of CITES species. It was however assessed for Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010) and received a conservation status of Vulnerable. Our recent evaluation is in accordance to the published one. Some populations of the species are already covered by Khosrov State Reserve, Zangezur Biosphere Complex, Gnishik Community Protected Area, and Lake Sevan National Park. One of the proposed conservation measures is related to raising of awareness of importance of tragacanth Astragallus species for the Greek Clouded Butterfly and for other elements of species diversity. Another proposed measure is continuation of monitoring of the species in frames of BMS Armenia, which can provide information not only on the population of the species, but also on the state of overgrazing and influence of climate change on forest and sub-alpine meadows. The species is included in the following PBAs: Gudemnis, Gyumorats, Lichk, Gnisheek, Ourtsadzor, and Geghadir. Since the species is a target for European tourists, the development of butterfly-watching can provide additional support to the communities that surround mentioned PBAs and increase sustainability of relations of the people, ecosystems, and species.