Melanargia larissa (Geyer, 1828) Balkan Marbled White, Echiquier des Balkans, Бархатница лариса, Լարիսա բազմակն
Distribution and biological peculiarities in Armenia: The species is distributed from south-eastern Europe and Asia Minor to Transcaucasia and North-western Iran. The Armenian populations belong to subspecies M. l. astanda (Boisduval, 1848), which occupies semi-deserts, juniper woodlands, and dry mountain steppes from about 400 to 2200 m a.s.l. The larvae was recorded on Poa spp., however it is not yet clarified, is it the only Gramineae, which is used by Balkan Marbled White as a host plant or not. The species gives one generation per year, the earliest butterflies are recorded on wing in semi-deserts of South-eastern Armenia already in early May, while the last ones - in late July at the dry mountain steppes of central parts of the country.
Population dynamics: The species is rather common to uncommon within typical habitat, and its population trend demonstrates stability (p>0.05), while some expansion of its vertical distribution has been recorded - the species is being recorded in degraded deciduous woodlands, where it was not observed before. Obviously the species survives the grazing in dry zones, while its vertical movement can be explained by response to the climate change.
Conservation measures: The species is not included in the Global and National Red Lists, but is evaluated for the European Red Book as Least Concern. Also it is not included in CITES and Bern Conventions. It appears, that at Armenian level the Balkan Marbled White also deserves the status of Least Concern, and as it is occurring in number of Protected Areas and Emerald Sites it doesn't require any specific conservation measures. The species is presented in Prime Butterfly Areas Agarak, Meghri, Kaladash, Shvanidzor, Gyumorats, Gnisheek, and Ourtsadzor, and its monitoring can indicate influence of the climate change on the mountain ecosystems, and particularly the desertification process.